The Revolt Against Boehner

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 6 2015 @ 9:44am

Bernstein calls bullshit:

A real uprising against the speaker would have happened back in November, when House Republicans met and instead endorsed him for another term. Had conservatives been unhappy with Republican leadership, they could have rounded up the votes and made it clear that Boehner was finished. They could even have proposed a plausible replacement. But they didn’t have the votes or an alternative then, and they won’t have them now.

Yes, Louie Gohmert of Texas has proposed himself as a new speaker, but the last thing any of the radicals want right now is Boehner’s job – which entails, more than anything else, cutting deals with Barack Obama on must-pass items such as the debt limit and next year’s appropriations. House Republicans aren’t really unhappy with how Boehner has handled those negotiations; that’s why they supported another term for him. This “revolt” is nothing more than a tantrum against the inescapable fact of compromise.

Another reason Boehner is likely to keep his job:

The defections Tuesday appear as though they could be more significant than at any point since 1923, but Boehner has one major advantage amid the revolt: the biggest GOP majority since the 1929-30 Congress. The GOP’s 246-188 advantage means Boehner can lose 29 votes before we can even talk about him being in real trouble.

Beutler believes that Boehner was more vulnerable two years ago:

Republicans had just lost an election badly. The Republican House majority had been diminished to the point where a small, determined group of rebels could conspire to force a second ballot, and a third ballot, and as many ballots as it might take to shake up the leadership ranks. Assuming Boehner would neither seek nor find aid from Democrats, the logic of a voluntary exodus would have become difficult to resist. That’s more or less what Newt Gingrich realized early on after presiding over the poor GOP showing in the 1998 midterms.

Today, a sneak attack is neither plausible, nor theoretically sound. Under Boehner’s leadership, Republicans expanded their majority in the midterm. He has a much bigger cushion this year than he did in 2013. Pulling off a surprise upset wouldn’t be in the cards, even if House conservatives were the adroit operators everyone knows they aren’t.

How Ben Jacobs thinks about the vote:

[T]his episode serves as a clear test of how Boehner can manage what will be the biggest Republican caucus in the House since the Hoover Administration. If he manages to pull through while limiting the number of dissidents it’s a sign that the speaker might be able to finally enforce party discipline in his caucus. But a close run contest would indicate the opposite and point to yet another Congress where Boehner would have to tiptoe around conservatives in his party to accomplish anything of substance.