It was just a few months ago at the end of the government shutdown in October, that Speaker Boehner got a standing ovation from the entire Republican Caucus, now it seems the “era of good feelings is over.”
According to the National Journal, there is a revolt afoot, as a few dozen Several House hope to force speaker John Boehner to step aside immediately after November’s midterm elections in favor of Eric Cantor. Cantor however would have to bring aboard a conservative #2 to make the deal happen.
But there’s a more audacious option on the table, according to conservatives involved in the deliberations. They say between 40 and 50 members have already committed verbally to electing a new speaker. If those numbers hold, organizers say, they could force Boehner to step aside as speaker in late November, when the incoming GOP conference meets for the first time, by showing him that he won’t have the votes to be reelected in January.
That of course depends on the make up of the new congress and the new GOP caucus.
The key in their minds is to force the change without committing political suicide should they lose.
But conservatives, increasingly irritated with what they see as a cautious approach taken by their leadership, are now adamant that Boehner’s tenure should expire with this Congress.
“There are no big ideas coming out of the conference. Our leadership expects to coast through this election by banking on everyone’s hatred for Obamacare,” said one Republican lawmaker who is organizing the rebellion. “There’s nothing big being done. We’re reshuffling chairs on the Titanic.”
Cantor is no conservative favorite these days either.
Cantor, next in line for speaker and once considered a shoo-in to succeed Boehner, has found himself in conservatives’ crosshairs in recent weeks.
With Boehner out of town in late March, Cantor was charged with pushing a “doc fix” bill across the finish line. When it became apparent the measure might not clear the House floor, Cantor authorized a voice vote, allowing the bill to pass without registered resistance. This maneuver infuriated conservatives, who felt that leadership—Cantor in particular—had cheated them. Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Caroline yelled “Bullshit!” outside the House chamber.
Some conservatives are still seething.
“I’m getting used to being deceived by the Obama administration, but when my own leadership does it, it’s just not acceptable,” Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said last week, after Cantor met with a group of angry Republican Study Committee members.
In fact a GOP House member who is a Cantor buddy, predicted, “If there’s another vote like [that], Eric won’t be speaker. Ever.”
This backlash has emboldened some of leadership’s conservative critics. Now, they say, they might try to force Boehner out and also demand that Cantor bring on a conservative deputy before agreeing to vote for him as speaker.
“Eric would make that deal in a heartbeat,” said a Republican lawmaker who supports Cantor but opposes Boehner.
All this puts a target on the back of either Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy or Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, because one of them would have to go to make room for a conservative.
Some members are convinced that Boehner will spare everyone the drama and decide to leave on his own. Sources close to the speaker have begun leaving the exit door ever so slightly open, and rumors of his retirement are now running rampant throughout the conference.
….”I’d say about 80 percent of us expect him to step down after the elections,” added one House Republican who has known Boehner for many years.
Right now this is all talk, Boehner is still speaker, still powerful and there is no sign of a serious conservative challenger willing to run for a top leadership job, let alone for Boehner’s. And there is no top conservative congressman willing to lead the charge.
A Conservative revolt was predicted after the 2012 election but it failed, I would suspect that if the GOP retains the house, John Boehner will be reelected speaker. If there is a Republican takeover of the Senate a Speaker Boehner becomes even more likely.