House Republican leaders don’t trust their members. They’re worried that if the Supreme Court throws out part or all of the Affordable Care Act, rank and file members will run to the mics and cameras, gloat, and create a messaging nightmare for the party.
That’s the implication of a memo Speaker John Boehner sent to members, and subsequently to the press, warning them to be on their best behavior.
“Now one knows what the Court will decide, and none of us would presume to know,” Boehner wrote. “But if the Court strikes down all or part of the president’s health care law, there will be no spiking of the ball.”
Emphasis in the original. The memo also includes basic GOP talking points about next steps in reforming the health care system, if the Court rules against the administration.
Will the public call to graciousness work? It could help some. But his conference has been itching to defang or dismantle the health care law for years. And they say the darndest things.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.