This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 5, 2015:
The poll taken the last few days of December by EMC Research, quizzing more than 600 Republican voters, added impetus to the growing movement to oust House Speaker John Boehner and replace him with someone newer and more conservative.
Serving as a member of the House, representing Ohio’s Eighth Congressional District since 1991, Boehner may have run out of time. He was previously the House majority leader from 2006 to 2007; and then the House minority leader from then until 2011. He assumed majority leadership once again in January 2011, with just 12 Republicans voting against him or voting “present.” Since then Boehner, in the eyes of those polled by EMC, has left conservatives and their principles twisting in the wind. Sixty percent of them want someone new while just one in six want both Boehner and Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to retain their jobs. Sixty-four percent said that Boehner has been “ineffective in opposing Obama’s agenda.”
Nature abhors a vacuum, especially in politics, and seeing his opportunity, Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) announced on Fox News over the weekend that he would be glad to take the position:
I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.
On Saturday, Representative Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) stated his willingness to take Boehner’s place, as well, noting on his Facebook page:
The American people have allowed us to choose who is best suited to lead the House by electing a deep bench of diverse and qualified members. Our republic is built on choice and, if needed, I would stand up to give our members that option.
Yoho explained why he won’t support Boehner:
I ran for Congress in 2012 because I had had enough. Enough of career politicians, enough of political gamesmanship, and enough of the lack of leadership in Washington.
As we enter 2015, we are faced with overwhelming challenges. However, the dawn of 2015 also promises unlimited potential and the opportunity to begin rebuilding America.
In order to do this, strong leadership is required.
Another considering putting his name up for the position is Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), who told the Daily Signal that Boehner has used up all his credibility as a conservative:
The CR/omnibus legislation sufficiently undermines the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution that it warrants my pending vote against the speaker. John Boehner went too far when he teamed with Obama to advance this legislation. He relinquished the power of the purse, and with it he lost my vote.
Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) also said he was looking forward to a new speaker:
My constituents expect better and America deserves better. I will vote for a new speaker who will consistently articulate a conservative vision for America and facilitate an inclusive and orderly legislative process that allows Congress to truly reflect the will of the people.
On Tuesday the first order of business for the 114th Congress is for each legislative branch to elect its leader. No business can be conducted until the House and the Senate have elected their majority leaders. Under the rules, anyone may nominate anyone. In reality, however, those caught leaving the “establishment” reservation will likely be subject to various sanctions by that establishment. Translation: Those failing to get in line will be punished by having their bills ignored, their committee positions forfeited, and generally their voices muted. So those announcing to replace Boehner are running significant risks. Two years ago Boehner was elected overwhelmingly, with just 12 Republicans either voting “no” or “present.”
But the math since November has changed, and makes Boehner’s position tenuous, at the least. Of those 12 who defected in 2012, eight remain in office. Forty-two new Republicans will be sworn in on Tuesday. With a Republican majority in the House, 246-188, just 29 Republicans need to defect to keep Boehner from retaining his speakership, as Democrats who vote for Republican speakers could suffer repercussions from other party members and rarely do it. If he receives fewer than 218 votes, another vote must be immediately scheduled. Votes will continue until a speaker is elected.
Sixty-two Republicans voted against the CRomnibus bill, and most of them are back. Simple math holds that, along with Massie, Bridenstine, Yoho, and Gohmert, as well as the wave of freshmen, there may just be more than 29 Republicans willing to defect in order to replace Boehner.
There’s another type of math also likely to influence Tuesday’s vote: the voting records of the challengers. According to the Legislative Scorecard sponsored by the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, Gohmert has a lifetime score of 92, while Yoho’s is 72. According to the Freedom Index, published by The New American, Boehner scores a middling 53 while Gohmert and Yoho each score in the mid-70s.
Assuming that voting records count for something among those voting on Tuesday, Boehner just may go back to his seat on the floor of the House, being demoted just to representing the Eighth District in Ohio and nothing more. If he is replaced, it will prove once again the old adage about trying to stay in the middle of the road: That’s where one finds nothing but yellow stripes and dead skunks.