According to this report from a media confidant of the speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Oh.), Mr. Boehner may be thinking the time is right to hand off the gavel to someone else in 2017.
Now that does seem like a long time if the report is even to be believed.
Many on the right would see this as a welcome development. Count me in as one of those who have been beyond disappointed with Mr. Boehner's "leadership". It's not so much what he has done as the tone that he will not be at the very least somewhat confrontational with the Dear Leader, President Obama. Like it or not, Team Obama has been able to constantly put the speaker in a box rather than the speaker ever going on offense. And he does have the numbers to do so. I mean, the largest number of Republicans in the house since 1949 and he acts, more often than not, like they are in the minority.
In the article, there are points of success that Mr. Boehner has been able to achieve. Here are some of them:
A permanent way that doctors who participate in Medicare are reimbursed, which saves over $200,000,000,000 and does not raise taxes.
Mr. Boehner sherpherded a free-trade agreement.
The creation of the select committee on the Benghazi saga that has operated with a free-hand.
None of the above is exactly, for lack of a better word, glamorous or even sexy. While making doctor reimbursement a good thing, what about voting to repeal Obamacare?
The free-trade agreement passed with Democrat support and a split in the Republican caucus.
The select committee on Benghazi has forced the Hillary Clinton team to be on defense, and there have been dribs and drabs of a possible "smoking gun", but nothing so far.
Essentially the current revolt against Mr. Boehner is being led by Rep Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and it is a parliamentary maneuver to "vacate the chair" and to force a vote for the speakership similar to the January drama earlier this year. And it is possible that there are the votes to do it. It would in fact and indeed force Mr. Boehner to beg Democrats to vote for him to possibly save his skin as speaker. If there is nothing that would fuel the fire that Mr. Boehner is a RINO*, that surely would be it.
For argument sake, let us imagine that the challenge ends up being successful. Who do these conservatives have in mind to replace Mr. Boehner? That is the problem that the conservatives had in January and thus votes were split among several potential successors including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.) and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). If those wishing to oust Mr. Boehner can agree on one and only one candidate, that would make the threat a lot more credible. What happened in January was how not to oust a speaker. A solid game plan is nessesary to commit and to act upon.
One name floated is that of of the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Many look to Mr. McCarthy as way too much like Mr. Boehner and a deal cutter above all else. What I am about to write is absolutely speculative, but there are rumors Mr. McCarthy, a married man, is having an affair with a fellow congressman, Rep. Renee Elmers (R-N.C.). It is unconfirmed, of course. But if in some way Mr. McCarthy is elevated to speaker, conservatives may use the specter of having an affair exposed to keep him in line.
After that, I do not really know who can replace Mr. Boehner outside of the leadership. Some would like to see Mr. Gohmert, but I don't see him as speaker material. Maybe Mr. Meadows himself. Possibly Mr. Webster. I need someone to tell me who can do a better job than Mr. Boehner.
Mr. Boehner is right that some things are not going to get done because of the current occupant of the White House. But that does not mean votes to force the Democrats and the Dear Leader, President Obama's hand, should not be taken. Again, to me it is style more than substance that bothers me about Mr. Boehner.
Here is what I believe will happen.
Mr. Boehner will hang on long enough to see if a Republican is elected president. If so, he will go for one more term as speaker to finally get so much of the agenda through on his watch. That means he will run for reelection. If a Democrat wins the White House, even with a still overwhelming GOP majority, look for Mr. Boehner to resign from congress and let others carry out the fight.
As much as it pains me to write it, I do not think Mr. Boehner will be ousted as speaker and he will leave office on his terms.
*RINO-Republican In Name Only