There are allegedly 25 of 29 ready to do it. Of course, last time they had the votes to block the Speaker and they all caved at the end. It would be more surprising if they hung together than if they caved. Caving is what conservatives in the House of Representatives often do.
What conservatives need to understand is that they do not have the power to get their guy elected Speaker. Conservatives now only have the veto power, which is powerful in and of itself.
The number of House Republicans who’ve committed publicly to voting against him is, er, 10, with four more undeclared but likely given that they’ve voted against him in the past. Gohmert told Laura Ingraham this morning that they’re still rounding up votes, but later told Glenn Beck that there’s “real intimidation” happening to would-be defectors. In fact, a few anti-Boehner stalwarts from last term have flipped to yes this time — Mick Mulvaney, Raul Labrador, and even Tim Huelskamp. The eternal problem here, as Ed noted earlier, is that none of the plausible successors to Boehner want the job. Jeb Hensarling isn’t interested. Trey Gowdy refuses to be drafted despite a push from talk-radio stars like Sean Hannity. Paul Ryan is more concerned with running the Ways and Means Committee and pondering 2016 than herding cats among the House GOP majority.
Erickson makes a good point, though, in noting that the lack of an heir apparent doesn’t mean there’s no power here. There is — a veto power. In which case, with Republican leaders in the Senate already looking to fold on executive amnesty, why don’t conservatives in the House hold out for a commitment on that from Boehner instead of insisting on a new Speaker? If they can’t replace the man, they can at least use what little leverage they have to secure a promise that the House will vote to defund Homeland Security next month unless Obama agrees to suspend his immigration order. That would be a nice consolation prize from another quixotic effort to oust Boehner and it’d be more difficult politically for him to retaliate against them. If he kicks the dissenters off of their House committees as punishment, then he’s punishing them for taking a stand for separation of powers and proper constitutional procedure, not for opposing him personally. Might as well get something out of this biennial kabuki. I’d be curious to see how Boehner reacts to that demand.