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Why John Boehner could lose his job

Chaos is brewing in Congress, and the conservative base is angry.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on July 29, 2015. (Photo by Susan Walsh/AP)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington DC on July 29, 2015.

Why chaos is brewing in Congress -- and why John Boehner could lose his job… Boehner’s problem with conservatives isn’t ideology; it’s tactics… The House GOP’s Plan B (or Plan D) on the Iran deal… Trump vs. Carson -- and Fiorina… Another day, another bad poll for Hillary… And CNN poll shows Trump still leading the national GOP race.

Why chaos is brewing in Congress -- and why John Boehner could lose his job

Yesterday’s House Republican chaos over what to do next on the Iran deal is a reminder how combustible the next month could be in Washington, especially as Congress must pass legislation to keep the government open after Sept. 30. And it’s a reminder just how precarious Speaker John Boehner’s position is right now with his conservative base. Indeed, you have the making for a perfect storm -- a conservative electorate angry that President Obama is poised for another win, despite Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress; a 2016 race where the incentive is for the candidates to move to the right; and the Age of Trump where his central argument is: “Why is everyone so weak?” If you add those things up and throw in a fight over Planned Parenthood and abortion, then you get trouble. Big trouble. Remember, both Boehner and Mitch McConnell received loud boos at yesterday’s “Stop the Iran Deal” rally.

Boehner’s problem isn’t ideology; it’s tactics

Here is the irony about Boehner’s predicament: He’s with GOP conservatives on the ideology. He’s against Planned Parenthood. He’s against the Iran deal. He criticizes Obama at every opportunity (see his comments yesterday on the Syrian migrants). But Boehner’s problem isn’t ideology; it’s tactics. House conservatives view Obama as someone who’s willing to do whatever it takes to win -- executive action, Dem Senate eliminating the filibuster for executive appointments -- and they don’t know why their leaders aren’t doing everything they can do to beat him. And now you have the situation where House GOP leaders can no longer blame Harry Reid and Senate Democrats for their inability to stop Obama since Republicans have the majority in that chamber.

The House GOP’s Plan B (or Plan D) on the Iran deal

Here is the dispatch by NBC’s Luke Russert on the House GOP chaos over the Iran deal: Instead of simply voting on a resolution of disapproval which was the original plan, yesterday the House Republican leadership came under fire from conservatives, who said that the clock for when Congress received the Iran deal from the administration did not start. They said this would make the deal invalid and that they should fight… Conservatives believe that the administration has not been forthcoming enough regarding "side deals" made between Iran and the IAEA regarding inspections. They believe that because the Administration has NOT disclosed these deals, the formal submission process of the deal never began and thus the clock which points to Sept. 17 when the deal takes place -- never did not start… The House will now hold a series of three votes instead of a simple resolution of disapproval as intended:

  • Vote 1 -- A non-binding expression of the House saying that the administration wasn't forthcoming regarding the side deals. Probably Thursday.
  • Vote 2 -- A vote on an actual bill that says the U.S. should NOT give Iran sanctions relief.
  • Vote 3 -- A bill that calls members to vote on whether they APPROVE of the Iran deal (not DISAPPROVE as originally thought).

Trump vs. Carson -- and Fiorina

It’s not just Donald Trump versus the establishment anymore. In the last 24 hours, he’s engaged in back-and-forths with the two non-traditional GOP candidates who have been building support throughout August with GOP primary voters -- Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. And both are getting nasty. After he appeared to insult Fiorina’s looks in a Rolling Stone interview published late Wednesday (“Look at that face!”), Trump is now denying that his comments had anything to do with Fiorina’s physical appearance. (“I’m talking about persona!” he insisted to Fox News this morning.) Fiorina, for her part, observed that the comment was due to her own boost in primary polls. Also yesterday, Carson said that the biggest difference between him and Trump is his faith. “I've realized where my success has come from and I don't in anyway deny my faith in God,” he told reporters in Anaheim, California. Trump shot back in an interview this morning with a variety of insults, calling Carson an “okay doctor” and taking aim at the former neurosurgeon’s low-key demeanor.

Another day, another bad poll for Hillary

Quinnipiac today is out with a new poll showing Bernie Sanders now leading Hillary in Iowa, 41%-40%. A couple of caveats here: One, our NBC/Marist poll that came out Sunday showed Clinton up by 11 points, and other polling in the state has shown her up either by single digits or by 20 or more points. Two, the Q-poll was conducted partially during the long Labor Day weekend. But what is TRUE is the overall trajectory for Clinton numbers. Whether she’s ahead or behind, her poll numbers have been going down – and that’s why you’ve seen the Clinton campaign take the recent actions it has (more ads, Ellen, apologizing for the emails). Of course, today is a bad day for Hillary to have a bad poll, given that Biden is making a swing through New York and is appearing on Colbert tonight.

CNN poll: Trump still leads the national GOP race

There’s another poll worth noting: Trump is leading in CNN’s national poll at 32% --  followed by Carson at 19%, Jeb Bush at 9%, Ted Cruz at 7%, and Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker at 5%.

Walker looks to jumpstart campaign

Per NBC’s Shaquille Brewster, “Amid a backdrop of polls showing declining support, the GOP presidential candidate will head to Ronald Reagan's alma mater in Illinois on Thursday to discuss how he plans to ‘wreak some havoc on Washington,’ promising his first day in office would be ‘one of the busiest the White House has seen in years.’” More: “‘We cannot expect those from Washington to fix Washington,’ Walker will say at Eureka College, according to excerpts released by his campaign. ‘Some people think you can fix Washington by putting new so-called experts in the same old places.’”

OFF THE RACES: More polls!

Here's the latest Iowa poll from Quinnipiac University, showing Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie in the caucus state.

And here's the latest national poll from CNN/ORC, showing Trump at 32 percent support.

BIDEN: He's in Clinton Country today, notes POLITICO.

BUSH: The New York Times reviews his tax plan: "Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida challenged some long-held tenets of conservative tax policy on Wednesday by proposing to curtail valuable deductions that benefit businesses and the wealthy and eliminate a loophole that has benefited hedge fund and private equity managers for years. That an establishment Republican candidate has embraced such changes not only highlights how income inequality has altered the tenor of the presidential debate for the party, but also indicates the ideological pull Donald J. Trump’s candidacy is having on the Republican field after he made similar proposals."

And/but: The plan would add trillions to the deficit, notes the Washington Post.

CLINTON: The Washington Post looks at how her Iran speech Wednesday laid out a tougher worldview than Obama's.

JINDAL: He's promising to take on Donald Trump as an "unserious carnival act."

O'MALLEY: From's Alex Seitz-Wald: "In a major victory for underdog Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, two top officials with the Democratic National Committee publicly broke with the party Wednesday night, calling for changes to the debate process that the candidates have advocated."

TRUMP: He says he was talking about Carly Fiorina's "persona" -- not her looks -- when he commented on "that face" in a new Rolling Stone magazine profile.

Here's the full Rolling Stone story.

WALKER: NBC's Shaq Brewster writes that Scott Walker is hoping to jumpstart his campaign with an appearance at Eureka College, the alma mater of Ronald Reagan.


So here's what's going on with the Iran vote in Congress: "House GOP leaders were forced to delay and quickly rejigger their approach for voting on the deal after some Republicans rejected the initial plan. The House is now expected to vote this week on a series of three measures aimed at expressing their opposition to the nuclear deal and leaving the door open to a lawsuit against the White House on the issue."

And from the AP: "Conservative House Republicans have embarked on an eleventh-hour political maneuver to derail the Iranian nuclear deal, saying they can't vote on it until the president coughs up copies of side deals Tehran negotiated with atomic inspectors."

Also, there's no plan yet to avert a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding. 

Additional reporting by Carrie Dann.