Up till now, I just figured John Boehner was incompetent as GOP Speaker of the House, and he may still be. But Rachel Maddow makes a compelling argument here; namely, that Boehner was set up to fail on purpose by his own caucus. Watch the whole video for her argument.
In thinking about it, that would answer a lot of questions for me about why it was Tea Party freshmen who defected first after firmly declaring they would not, could not possibly vote for a 2-month payroll tax cut. If Cantor saw this battle as one he could set Boehner up to lose, he must really have designs on that Speaker seat before he loses in 2012.
I think there will be more to this story in the months to come.