Report: Group of 20 Republican congressman to block Boehner’s election as Speaker tomorrow? Update: GOP meeting tonight on leadership?

posted at 3:51 pm on January 2, 2013 by Allahpundit

There’s just one hitch. It’s a terrible, thankless job and no one else wants it.

American Majority Action spokesman Ron Meyer told Breitbart News late Tuesday that enough House Republicans have banded together in an effort to unseat House Speaker John Boehner from his position–they just need a leader to take up the mantle.

“At least 20 House Republican members have gotten together, discussed this and want to unseat Speaker Boehner–and are willing to do what it takes to do it,” Meyer said. “That’s more than enough to get the job done, but the one problem these guys face is they need a leader to coalesce behind.”

There’s no Speaker until someone has a majority of votes from the entire House, so if 17 Republicans flatly refuse to vote for Boehner then he’ll be effectively blocked — unless a few Democrats decide to cross the aisle to get to 218. Could that happen? Dave Weigel says nope but I’m not sure. There’s no conceivable way that a Democrat gets elected tomorrow, so if you’re a tea-party-hating liberal backbencher, why not use your vote to spite conservatives instead? The Dems could sit back and let the drama play out for a few rounds: On the first ballot Boehner gets a heavy plurality of the GOP caucus but is blocked from a majority, on the second ballot a conservative challenger (Cantor or Jordan) pulls even but Boehner loyalists refuse to back down, on the third ballot a compromise candidate (Ryan?) enters the fray and the vote splits three ways. Then Democrats could swoop in and humiliate their enemies by voting en masse for Boehner. Not only would it deepen the fracture in the Republican caucus that Obama’s worked so hard to cause — imagine a GOP majority having to serve under a Speaker whom they knew was elected by the other side — but Democrats could spin it as a show of bipartisanship for the media. Depending upon how badly Boehner wants to keep the job, they might even be able to extract some concessions from him. Imagine this guy having to negotiate with Obama on the debt ceiling and the sequester knowing that he’s in that position chiefly because of Democratic support. Just one problem with this goofy yet fun hypothetical: Would Boehner or any other Republican agree to be Speaker without the backing of a majority of his own caucus? The job would be even more terrible and thankless than it is now. You’d need a truly self-aggrandizing, quasi-independent RINO to accept an arrangement like that. Hmmmmmm.

Ah well. A member of Boehner’s team tells NRO they’re in touch with caucus members and not worried about the vote. Read Joel Pollak’s piece at Breitbart last week to see why. When push comes to shove, there’s no reason to think anyone else would do a better job of uniting moderates and tea partiers or getting Obama to agree to serious deficit reduction except maybe Paul Ryan, and he’s the last person who wants Boehner’s job now.

Update: Don’t wander away from your computer tonight:

Incoming GOP Rep. Steve Stockman said today that he’ll vote against Boehner tomorrow. That’s one. Are 16 more out there?

Update: Or not:

Update: A friend with a Democratic source on the Hill says his source has heard the rumor about Boehner too and hints that Democrats might vote for him as Speaker tomorrow if his election appears to be in jeopardy. The thinking is that if the GOP dumps Boehner, it might remove some of their fingerprints from the fiscal cliff deal that just passed and Democrats don’t want that. Plus, they’d rather deal with the devil they know than the devil they don’t. There are no potential successors who’d be more agreeable than Boehner is. But this is all premised on him going forward with his nomination as Speaker even if he can’t secure a majority of the GOP caucus. Unlikely.


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