Thursday, January 08, 2015

How Not To Unseat A Speaker Of The House

Let's face it.
I am not a fan of Rep. John Boehner (R-Oh) as speaker of the house. I think that he way too often seems willing to accommodate the Democrats and the current occupant of the White House, the Dear Leader, President Obama.
But I do have to admire the fact that he is a survivor and this past Tuesday survived an insurrection and was elected speaker for a third term.
While Mr. Boehner had a victory on Tuesday, it was illuminating on why conservatives at times can't be taken seriously.
The die was essentially cast shortly after the November midterm elections when the Republican house leadership were reelected with not one bit of opposition.
One of those that was expected to join the insurrection, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), ended up voting for Mr. Boehner holding his nose. In this press release, Mr. Mulvaney gives a reasonable explanation as to why he ended up voting for Mr. Boehner. And he points out that before the die was cast in November, someone should have ran against Mr. Boehner and Republicans could have had a secret ballot vote.
And what Mr. Mulvaney did not articulate on is that those opposed to Mr. Boehner could have rallied around one candidate. One solid conservative against the establishmentarian. And Tuesday's vote may have turned out very differently.
But, alas, we conservatives did not do any of that and it was a production of the conservative Keystone Kops.
First, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a likable fellow and solid conservative, announced that he would throw his hat in the ring.
Where was he in November? Did he oppose Mr. Boehner for the speaker ship then?
Then an unknown just elected to a second term house member, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) decided, hey, I'll throw my hat in the ring.
I will ask Mr. Yoho the same couple of questions that I have for Mr. Gohmert.
Then, out of nowhere came Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and he ended up getting the most votes.
Same two questions for Mr. Webster.
But how did Mr. Webster come out of nowhere? The absolute least conservative of the three that announced got the most votes at 13.
The fact is that all it would have taken was for 29 votes to force a second ballot and then all hell could have broken loose.
It's not me making that point but California Rep. Tom McClintock who knows how leadership elections sometimes turn into unbelievable fiascoes.
Mr. McClintock was a member of the state assembly after the 1994 midterm elections in which the GOP actually became the majority party in the state assembly.
Not to go into the history of how a very close Republican majority, only one vote, led to several months of jockeying that did end up with a Republican speaker of the the Assembly. But these three names, Doris Allen, Brian Setencich and Curt Pringle were all players in the drama. Oh, we can't forget the puppet master of this problem, Willie Brown.
Would it have been better to end up with something like a co-speaker ship?! We don't know and thank goodness we don't have to find out.
And if anyone calls Mr. McClintock a RINO* or a weakling or in with leadership, they are out of their collective skulls.
Again, had conservatives thought this through, they should have gotten together before this came up in November. They knew that a vote would take place right after the election for continuity reasons in dealing with the lame-duck session of congress. Had they done that, I absolutely believe that they had a chance to find a solid conservative that could be acceptable to establishmentarians and Tea Party types alike and all in between.
Now some think a lot of this angst was fueled by conservative talk radio types. I do not think that they fueled it because many were making the same case in November that there was no backbone to challenge Mr. Boehner and the leadership at any level. All were reelected by acclimation. There were enough that thought to challenge Mr. Boehner publicly. And while it provided high drama, the sad fact is that it was a foregone conclusion.
The key is to have challenged right away. Even not having the votes then did put Mr. Boehner on notice that if he does not show some backbone, he would be challenged. And by the time this past Tuesday came, a strong candidate may have emerged and Mr. Boehner might have actually lost.
Conservatives need to know how to play the long game. By that it is to build up strength and to wisely pick and choose the hill to die on. Otherwise, as I noted, those that we like and respect start to look like the Keystone Kops and we forget why we oppose Mr. Boehner, et al, altogether.
There will be more battles ahead and the real test of Mr. Boehner as speaker will be how he keeps his caucus in line.
And conservatives can and will have another fight and many fights along the way. And hopefully, better leadership to be victorious.

*-Republican In Name Only.

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