Final step: Pulling it off. Here’s where things went truly, hilariously awry. Any good coup depends on stealth. But on Thursday, an enterprising Politico photographer snapped Rep. Tim Huelskamp sitting in open session reading from his iPad — not making this up — the entire roster of the plot against Boehner. Just so there was no mistaking that he was up to no good, the document was entitled “YOU WOULD BE FIRED IF THIS GOES OUT.” Not making that up either.

Worse still, half the roster on Huelskamp’s iPad lost their nerve and bailed out. In the end, only nine Republicans broke ranks. Three cast votes for Cantor (who was visibly disgusted), two for recently ousted Rep. Allen West, and one for a former U.S. comptroller general. Several of the plotters even voted for each other. Boehner was reelected Speaker.

Republican Rep. Trent Franks probably put it best when he described the coup as “a ridiculous miscalculation on the part of a sincere, but completely inept” group of colleagues.