7:17 a.m. E.T.
My Take from “Morning Joe”:
JOE SCARBOROUGH: This week, after the most horrific act, I think, in recent American history other than 9/11 — I can’t think of anything that has scarred the soul of Americans more than what happened at Sandy Hook — you have had complete, utter silence from Republican leaders on some of these key issues. And, so, there are Americans out there who are thinking, “Wait a second. Is this the party of lower taxes or is this the party of assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips? Is this the party of balanced budgets or is this the party of contraception wars?” Going back to the primary process, this party has painted itself into an extreme corner by going down all these various rabbit [holes] that have nothing to do with our core of who we are as a party of small government and, again, I just want to put these numbers up just one more time, the CNN numbers, that come out on the eve of this disastrous “Plan B” vote. I can’t think of anytime the Republican Party, my Republican Party, has been in such disarray since 1974, after Richard Nixon resigned. What does it all mean?
MARK HALPERIN: Well, look, first, on the Boehner “Plan B,” I think the conventional wisdom in both parties, both before and after they had to pull down the vote, was Boehner had a horribly designed plan but he executed it worse. And he’s left himself, now, in an incredibly weak position and I think he’s got to head, now, towards, when they come back after Christmas, what I’ve always thought they’d have to do, which is Boehner’s going to have to allow a vote on a compromise with the President that skews the Democrats way, that gets many more Democratic votes in the House than Republican votes and somehow jointly whip that to a majority that really will divide the party even more. The White House sees the weakness the Republican Party, right now, just the way you do, Joe. But still the reality is Boehner has the gavel and if you’re going to move through a budget deal that averts the fiscal cliff, if you’re going to move through a package of recommendations on how to deal with the aftermath of the horrible shooting in Connecticut, you’re still going to need the House Judiciary Committee to sign off on it. That’s the reality.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Mark, how long does he have the gavel if he’s the, as the Washington Post suggests today, he might be the weakest Speaker in modern American history and then he decides to roll his own conference and do a bill that more Democrats are going to support than Republicans? That’s not a great plan to bring down to 8-C5 when your caucus together, trying to pick the next Speaker for the Republican Party.
MARK HALPERIN: It’s not. I don’t think he’s looking forward to doing a signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, standing with the President. But remember, big business wants a deal. A lot of people, a lot of taxpayers, when they see what’s going to happen in January, are going to want a deal. Speaker Boehner’s going to have to do something that almost no Republican leader has done in the last couple years, which is to say, “My party is going to have to understand that this is a more centrist country than their views. We need a deal.” And he’s going to have to do it. I don’t see any other alternative, particularly after what happened last night.
Watch the video above.