Boehner Strips Foes of Plum Posts

You come at the king, you best not miss.

John-Boehner-Speaker-of-House-of-Representatives

A move by insurgent Republicans to oust John Boehner from the Speakership fell laughably short. Now, it’s his move.

Politico (“Boehner takes revenge: Foes find themselves losing plum committee posts“):

John Boehner is getting revenge.

After he secured his third term as speaker Tuesday afternoon, losing 25 votes on the House floor to some relative-unknown members of the Republican Conference, Boehner moved swiftly to boot two of the insurgents from the influential Rules Committee. That could be just the start of payback for the speaker’s betrayers, who might see subcommittee chairmanships and other perks fall away in the coming months.

Boehner’s allies have thirsted for this kind of action from the speaker, saying he’s let people walk all over him for too long and is too nice to people who are eager to stab him in the back. The removal of Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent from Rules was meant as a clear demonstration that what Boehner and other party leaders accepted during the last Congress is no longer acceptable, not with the House’s biggest GOP majority in decades.

The reason for dethroning the two Florida Republicans was simple: Webster ran against Boehner for speaker, distributing fliers outlining his candidacy and talking about how he would better adhere to the House rules than the Ohio Republican. Nugent supported his fellow Floridian in the quixotic endeavor, which garnered the support of 12 lawmakers. Webster didn’t even give Boehner a heads-up that he was running, although leadership was aware early Tuesday morning that it could happen.

[…]

Members are already making noises about reversing any punitive action by Boehner and the leadership, although the speaker’s allies warn that further retaliation could be on the way.
The House Republican leadership is carefully reviewing the list of members who voted against the speaker and those who opposed a procedural motion in December on the so-called “crominibus,” the $1.1 trillion spending package to keep the government open through to September. Top Republican sources suggested that the process could take months to unfold.

[…]

Boehner and his team are firmly convinced that, despite 25 defections, they have a firmer grip on power than ever before. They say their “working majority” – members whom Boehner can work with – is around 220 members.

“We don’t need these fringe guys as much as we did anymore,” said a GOP leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We can let them walk on certain bills, and it just won’t matter. That gives us breathing room.”

 

While there’s plenty of room to criticize Boehner’s leadership of the caucus, the notion that he was going to be ousted after Republicans won their biggest Congressional victory since 1994 was absurd. Webster and company ignored the sage advice of Omar Little: “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

In addition to punishing stupidity, it makes perfect sense for Boehner to reward loyalists with key committee assignments, both to bolster his own power and to make it easier to pass the leadership’s agenda. And, the unnamed “leadership aide” is right: Boehner doesn’t need the fringe guys anymore. My hope is that he follows this move to its logical conclusion and treats the fringe guys as fringe guys when governing. Ignoring the people who think the last Congress was insufficiently conservative will go a long way towards strengthening the GOP’s public image.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    The House Republican leadership is carefully reviewing the list of members who voted against the speaker and those who opposed a procedural motion in December on the so-called “crominibus,” the $1.1 trillion spending package to keep the government open through to September.

    BOEHNER HAS AN ENEMIES LIST.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ignoring the people who think the last Congress was insufficiently conservative will go a long way towards strengthening the GOP’s public image.

    How does ignoring the average Republican voter, FOX News, and Rush Limbaugh strengthen the GOP?

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: They’ll continue to court the votes of the GOP base, no doubt successfully. But having members of congress who actually believe that nonsense was getting in the way of serving their lobbyists, whose support really matters.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh and have a happy Kirby Delauter Day everyone!

  5. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Indeed. In a world where sensibility ruled, the “fringe guys” would be justifiably marginalized, but that’s not the world in which a great many Republicans live.

    For example (and apologies in advance for any lost IQ points): http://www.wnd.com/2015/01/dump-boehner-movement-just-getting-started/#XmfHhb2BLSm6L0xG.99

  6. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    How does ignoring the average Republican voter, FOX News, and Rush Limbaugh strengthen the GOP?

    He didn’t say it would strengthen the GOP. He said it would strengthen the GOP’s public image. And, indeed, I expect it probably would lead to a more favorable view of Republicans among people who aren’t going to vote for Republicans any time soon. It might also lead to a more favorable view among people who fund Republican candidates, which is more immediately useful to the GOP.

    You are, of course, correct that it won’t improve Republicans’ image among most of the people they rely on to elect them to public office…

  7. CSK says:

    Does anyone have any idea of exactly how big the base–if you define the base as the kooks who think President Sarah Palin will be inaugurated in January 2017–is? They’re certainly noisy, and they have a lot of time to spend on the Internet writing posts about how We the People are going to rise up against the Commie RINO elitist socialist progressives like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, sweep them from office, and replace them with “principled conservatives.” But how large is this group? They claim to have millions of supporters in each state, even those that don’t have a million in population, like Alaska.

  8. ekaresky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Because @OzarkHillbilly: BECAUSE HILLBILLY THE MAJORITY OF AVERAGE REPUBLICANS ARE NOT RIGHT WING NUT EXTREMISTS WILLING TO CLOSE DOWN THE GOVERNMENT.

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @ekaresky:

    But, for reasons passing understanding, they keep voting for right wing nut extremists willing to close down the government. Just saying …

  10. al-Ameda says:

    What Boehner does hardly matters – he is a mikado, all the trappings of power but none of the ability to make a difference. The GOP ‘extreme” right has delivered the House and Senate, and Boehner is now pretending to punish them. It’s good PR for those who believe there is a moderate wing of the party, but, really?

    The fact is, the GOP’s so-called fringe far right paid absolutely no price for shutting down government twice in the past 5 years, and for being dismissive of the idea that a federal default would have any negative consequences at all. Except for the White House, they kind of run things now. The GOP has morphed to the point where James Inhofe is not so far from RINO territory, and Marco Rubio, on the basis of his own immigration proposal, is practically a RINO too.