Tea Party Crowd Launching Another Phony “Challenge” To John Boehner

Several Tea Party backed Members of Congress claim to be challenging John Boehner in tomorrow's vote for Speaker. They are, of course, delusional.

Boehner

Tomorrow at Noon, the new 114th Congress will convene for its first official day of business. As a matter of law, of course, the new Congress came into existence at Noon on January 3rd, but since that was a Saturday and the law permits the House and Senate to delay the opening session when the statutory day for Congress to delay the start of business as deemed necessary. The Senate will be the big news of the day, of course, as new members are sworn in and the new Senate leadership vote officially places the Republicans in control of the Senate for the first time since the 2006 elections. In the House, though, there will once again be some news as the largest House Republican majority since 1928 convenes. In that chamber, the first order of business will be the election for Speaker and, if some House conservatives have their way, there will be at least some drama associated with the vote yet again:as a small group of conservatives mounts a purported challenge to Boehner that is likely to go nowhere:

Boehner had been cruising toward a drama-free re-election this Tuesday after successfully winning re-election among his Republican colleagues in November. But over the weekend, a handful of conservative members of the House announced they would not support Boehner, and Reps. Ted Yoho, R-Florida, and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, have said they might make a run to unseat Boehner.

The lame-duck session of Congress didn’t sit well with several members who objected to the $1.1 trillion spending bill (also known as the “CRomnibus”) that squeaked through Congress during December, averting a potential government shutdown.

“Republicans gave away the best tool available to rein in our liberal activist President: the power of the purse,” said Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, last Friday, the first member to announce he would not be voting to re-elect Boehner. Bridenstine called the measure a failure because it did not defund President Obama’s Affordable Care Act or try to block him from deferring deportation for millions of illegal immigrants.

Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, and Ted Yoho, R-Florida, followed with their own announcements that Boehner had lost their votes for speaker. Massie also pointed to the spending bill, which he said the GOP leadersip introduced at the last minute as a way to coerce members to vote for it. Yoho wrote on Facebook Saturday night that there needed to be a change in leadership, though he was otherwise less critical of Boehner. In a follow up statement, Yoho said that “if needed” he would be willing to run to give members another option for leadership.

“This is not a personal attack against Mr. Boehner, however, the people desire and deserve a choice. In November, they resoundingly rejected the status quo,” he said.

But it was Gohmert who said he would definitely challenge Boehner, first saying on “Fox and Friends” Sunday that “a lot of Republicans” had told him they would vote for a Boehner alternative. Later, he released a statement announcing his own candidacy.

This isn’t the first time that Boehner has faced a supposed threat from the right, of course. As the 112th Congress was winding down in December 2012, there was much discontent over how Boehner was handling the negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff” which led some members, as well as Tea Party groups outside Congress, to mount purported efforts to deny Boehner a victory, or at least deny him a victory on the first ballot, which would be rather unprecedented in the modern era. In the end, Boehner was re-elected easily, with only nine votes either being cast by Republicans for other candidates. In the end, that is exactly what will happen tomorrow. In all likelihood, Boehner will end up with more actual votes this time around than he got in 2013 in no small part because the new larger Republican majority is made up of Republicans who will not be eager to do anything to annoy leadership this early in their tenure. We’ll likely see some dissenting votes like we did the last time around, but the idea that there is a serious challenge to Boehner’s leadership is, as Virginia blogger Brian Schoeneman puts it, quite absurd:

[W]hat most people don’t realize or understand is that these elections are all pro-forma. The real decisions, with real races and multiple candidates (in some cases), took place months earlier.  These Conference elections were done in private, no outsiders, and the ballots were all secret.  John Boehner, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise were all reelected without opposition.

Each year, the House Republican Conference adopts rules for the Conference to abide by. These include the methods by which the leadership positions will be filled. Here’s a link to the proposed rules for the 114th Congress that were adopted on November 14, 2014.  The elections for the House Republican Leadership were held on November 13 in the Conference and there were no surprises. The Conference meeting included all of the new members, who were in town for orientation and these meetings.  The new members chose their Freshman Class representative, Congresswoman-elect Mimi Walters (R-CA), as well.

Here’s the press conference they held after the leadership elections.

Keep in mind what I already wrote: nobody ran against Boehner.

Fast forward to this weekend, where we’ve already seen a number of people announce that they’re either “running for Speaker” or they intend to vote for someone other than the Speaker.  First were Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jim Bridenstein (R-OK), who announced they wouldn’t vote for Boehner.  Then Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Louis Gohmert (R-TX) both announce over the weekend that they’re going to throw their names out there as alternatives to Boehner for Speaker.

This is a joke.  These guys aren’t actually running against Boehner, and they know they aren’t doing that.  If they wanted to do that, they should have done it in November, when they could have put their names in contention, forced secret ballot elections in the Republican Conference, and actually had a chance of showing their colleagues that they were tired of Speaker Boehner and wanted new leadership.  Did any of them do that?

No.

(…)

They’re pandering at best. In reality, they’re simply cowards who couldn’t put together an alternate candidacy to the Speaker when the real election was held, and they have nothing to lose. Gohmert is the most senior of these guys, but he’s destined to follow in the foot steps of another Texas Republican who never rose above chairing a subcommittee in the House. The other guys are freshmen and sophomores with no seniority, who don’t expect to last in the House long enough to get any.

Additionally, as Ed Morrissey notes, if there were a serious challenge to Boehner it would not come from a wingnut like Louie Gohmert:

If this insurrection had a prayer of success, one would see people lining up to challenge Boehner. Instead, obvious choices like Trey Gowdy and Paul Ryan are repudiating the effort. Even if the rebels found a substantive challenger, the fundamentals of the Republican position won’t change anyway. Obama still has to sign their legislation, including budgets, and the Speaker still has to work with Mitch McConnell in the Senate, who will be even more likely to call all the shots if Boehner gets toppled in a caucus fight. That’s probably one good reason that the rebels can’t find a substantive leader around which to rally — all of those who’d qualify wouldn’t do anything much different than Boehner himself in the next 22 months, and none of them would trust the rebels to deliver the votes, especially after 2013-s abortive effort.

That last point is made somewhat ironic by the fact that, when you actually look at the way that Boehner has run the House over the past four years it’s really quite obvious that he has done as much as he can to bend over backwards to appease the Tea Party crowd while at the same time actually trying to accomplish something. In each confrontation with the President and the Democratic Senate, Boehner took the hardest line position possible in negotiations to the point where the nation was brought to the brink of fiscal crisis numerous times over a very short period of time. In the most extreme case, he ended up following a course of action that led to a government shutdown that nobody in leadership thought was a good idea. It’s true that, in the end, a deal was struck that didn’t give the Tea Party everything it wanted, but that was something that anyone who understands how politics works would recognize as inevitable. Most importantly, though, on none of those occasions could the dissenters point to anything that they would have done differently that would have led to a different result. This time, the cause of discontent is supposedly the budget deal that was made during the 113th Congress’s lame duck session, but, again, that deal was about the best the GOP was going to get and was necessary to clear the Fiscal Year 2015 budget from the agenda so that the new Congress would have the time to craft a budget for Fiscal Year 2016, a process that will have to begin no later than February if it is to be concluded in time for the end of the Fiscal Year in September. Given all of this, it seems rather apparent that the complaints about Boehner and the rest of the House Leadership are basically nonsense, and that this challenge will go about as well as the one two years ago did.

FILED UNDER: Congress, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    I don’t know the House rules well enough, but if the R vote is split, is it mathematically possible that Mrs. Pelosi could end up speaker?

  2. No, the rule for Speaker is that the winner must have the votes of a majority of the membership, meaning 218 votes. If it somehow happened that nobody had a majority after a first ballot, the House would move on to a second ballot. The only way Pelosi could win is if 30 Republicans voted for her for some reason. That won’t happen, and there also won’t be a second ballot. Boehner will be elected on the first ballot rather easily.

  3. Mu says:

    I thought it’s a yes/no vote process, so there can’t be a triple choice Boehner/king/Pelosi

  4. C. Clavin says:

    Gohmert is the prototypical nut-case that defines today’s Republican party.
    I think he is the logical choice for Speaker.

    “So when [caribou] want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline. … So my real concern now [is] if oil stops running through the pipeline … do we need a study to see how adversely the caribou would be affected if that warm oil ever quit flowing?”

    We’ve got some people who think Shariah law oughta be the law of the land, forget the Constitution. But the guns are there, the Second Amendment is there, to make sure all of the rest of the amendments are followed.

    “This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America.”

    Ms. Clinton, like the Obama administration more broadly, believes that appeasing Islamists… promotes peace and stability.

    No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    “People that stand up and say, you know, I agree with the majority of Americans, I agree with Moses and Jesus that marriage is [between] a man and woman, now all of a sudden we’re considered haters, hate-mongers, evil, which really is exactly what we’ve seen throughout our history as going back to the days of the Nazi takeover in Europe.”

    It began to really eat away with me that in the ’60s the federal government, desiring to help poor moms who were dealing with deadbeat dads, decided, ‘We’ll help: we’ll give a check for every child you can have out of wedlock.’

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Three quarters of the people I work with would agree with every one of those statements by Gohmert, as well as Jim Bridenstine’s characterization of Obama as a “liberal activist”. And this is a major city in Ohio, not East Hogwaller LA. Testament to the success of the Mighty Right Wing Wurlitzer. I don’t know how we maintain small d democracy.

  6. CSK says:

    Gohmert and Yoho like the kind of publicity Ted Cruz garnered from his own absolutely pointless showboating, and want some of it for themselves.

  7. Scott F. says:

    Doug –

    This latest tantrum isn’t serious, but that doesn’t mean it’s phony and it doesn’t mean it’s pointless.

    These Tea Party types are right that they were elected on their promises to burn it all down in order to save it. At some point, their rhetoric is going to catch up with them. They’ve been keeping their rabid-dog-constituents at bay with lots of red meat, but they know eventually they’ll need to actually do something and they’re genuinely afraid. (Well, Gohmert’s probably not afraid, but that guy’s certifiable. However, true believer nuts is still not phony.)

    Bridenstine called the measure a failure because it did not defund President Obama’s Affordable Care Act or try to block him from deferring deportation for millions of illegal immigrants

    And the point of it all comes from the showboat stuff being all they have. There is no Republican plan to replace the ACA. There is no Republican plan for an economy minus millions of immigrant workers. There is nothing Republican ideas can do for the lower and middle classes to which their TP constituents belong. So it’s Show Time, All the Time and let’s hope nobody notices.

  8. Guarneri says:

    I must admit that the Dems have been smarter about one thing. They had the batshit crazy Pelosi and Reed in the leadership positions from the start, avoiding all this nonsense.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Guarneri:
    @C. Clavin: provided a list of crazy from Gohmert. You have what from Pelosi and Reid?

    And please don’t bring up the hoary, ‘won’t know what’s in it ’til it passes’ thing, which was completely reasonable in context.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    I must admit that the Dems have been smarter about one thing. They had the batshit crazy Pelosi and Reed in the leadership positions from the start, avoiding all this nonsense.

    Exactly how is Pelosi crazy? And, who is Reed?

  11. al-Ameda says:

    Speaking as a liberal Democrat I sincerely hope that Gohmert is the next Speaker.

    The upcoming reconstituted Republican House is going to be apoplectic as usual, so why not go all in on crazy? The entertainment value of a Gohmert Speakership is potentially off-the-charts.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:

    the batshit crazy Pelosi and Reed

    ???
    How so?

  13. anjin-san says:

    @Guarneri:

    My experience with Pelosi goes back to long before she got to DC. IMO, she is a mediocre politician who only got to Congress in the first place by way of the patronage of the Burton family – but crazy? Please give some examples.

  14. CSK says:

    @al-Ameda:

    But it’s not going to happen. Gohmert knows this; he’s just posturing for attention and throwing some red meat to his fan club.

    Boehner will be re-elected, and the Tea Party can have fun screeching about a giant conspiracy on the part of the elitist RINO establishment progressives (like Boehner, Gowdy, Ryan, and their fellow Commie dupes) to sell the country down the road to socialism.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @C. Clavin:

    No country has ever fallen while it was truly honoring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    I think the Nazis might disagree.

  16. Matt says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “truly” it’s the standard no true scotsman fallacy..

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Guarneri:
    @gVOR08:

    C. Clavin provided a list of crazy from Gohmert. You have what from Pelosi and Reid?

    I see down-votes. I see no response.

    Bueller? Bueller?

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I also think the Roman Empire might have something to say on the matter. Constantine’s conversion and forced conversion throughout the Roman Empire didn’t keep the barbarians from knocking at the door a little later. So much for Manifest Destiny and being Beloved of God….

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:
    Guarneri’s just a troll. He’s got nothing, never does.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    Shouldn’t Scalise be the natural candidate for the Tea Party types?

  21. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    They hate his guts. He’s a RINO, you know, even though he has a 98 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.

    Don’t ask me to explain this. Everything the Tea Party says and does appears to be, by definition, fraught with irrationality. They think Mitt Romney’s a socialist, and that Mitch McConnell is the ideological soulmate of Barack Obama.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK: Republicans created Audrey; now they get to feed her …

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    Ah. I did not know that.

    You realize the reason Scalise is in real trouble is not that his little pal David Duke is a racist, it’s that he’s an anti-Semite. If they want to keep taking that sweet, sweet Sheldon Adelson casino money they’re going to have to watch out how they handle this.

  24. Paludicola says:

    Oh, yes, please make Louie Gohmert Speaker of the House of Representatives. Please put perhaps the most astoundingly stupid, ignorant and serially embarrassing member of Congress in a position of national scrutiny. It would be the bestest gift to satirists ever, especially as the petulant, thin-skinned crybaby poltroon begins to pathetically shriek, thrash and wail as he is duly mocked and torn apart. Oh, God yes would that be good.

  25. Tony W says:

    @Paludicola:

    Oh, yes, please make Louie Gohmert Speaker of the House of Representatives

    While I wholeheartedly embrace your snark, I would never advocate such an irresponsible person 3rd in line for the presidency.

  26. dmhlt says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The “Little Shop of Horrors” (at least I think that’s what you’re referencing) may be a bit obtuse.

    (And actually the plant was Audrey II. His girlfriend was Audrey.)

  27. CSK says:

    I kind of like this LSOH analogy. Who gets to play Seymour Krelboyne, who gets to play Gravis Mushnick, and, most of all, who gets to play the Jack Nicholson role?

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Tony W:

    I would never advocate such an irresponsible person 3rd in line for the presidency

    Not to worry. Boehner would be first in line with impeachment charges.

  29. Tony W says:

    @gVOR08: I’m not so sure he’d ever get around to filing the paperwork.

  30. John425 says:

    This thread is as good as any to announce the 2014 Blog awards:
    The annual Josef Goebbels Award for literature and Creative writing goes to: Michael Reynolds!
    The award reads in part: “…for anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, slandering and outright lying about conservative and traditional American values. Additionally, Mr. Reynolds is commended for his “progressive” (read totalitarian) viewpoint.

    The ASPCACLU Small Animal Award goes to: C.Clavin for his outstanding performance as Gerbil of the Year. The committee especially notes Clavin’s devotion to knee-jerk totalitarianism and tireless America-bashing.

    Al-ameda and Anjin-san are tied for the award for, well, No Contribution Whatsoever.

  31. Neil Hudelson says:

    Final vote: 25 no’s. They came close to making it to a second ballot and blasting egg all over Boehner’s face.

    Ah, well, I’ll save the popcorn for another time.

  32. CSK says:

    Gohmert got three votes. One of those was his. I think he had more before Sarah Palin endorsed him this morning.

  33. Mikey says:

    @John425: It seems you aren’t aware Reynolds is Jewish.

    Which makes your accusations of anti-Semitism silly, and your invocation of Goebbels reprehensible.

  34. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @John425: The world you’re living in must be so much more entertaining than mine 😀

  35. CSK says:

    Well, the Tea Party appears to be slitting its collective throat, metaphorically speaking, at the news that Commie Traitor Boehner wasn’t swept out of office and replaced by a True Patriotic God-Loving Constitution-Revering American.

    I know I often remark about these people having but a tenuous grasp on reality, but come on, did they actually think that Gohmert or Yoho (two votes) was going to be elected? Do they actually think that Boehner conspires with Reid and Obama to sell them down the river?

    It seems they did. And do.

  36. Liberal With Attitude says:

    @Mikey: Yes, but does Reynolds TRULY honor the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Reagan?

  37. Ken says:

    @John425: Likening a Jew to Goebbels is pretty damned offensive.

    Doing it while simultaneously nailing yourself to the cross of victimhood is truly a marvel of hydrocephalic knuckledragging

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @John425:

    Yes, you’re right. Mentioning that Jews donate to political campaigns is exactly like Goebbel’s Holocaust propaganda.

    Let me clarify for you: we Jews know we’re Jews. It’s not a surprise. In the same way that “Catholic” or “Evangelical” or “Cuban” for that matter, are not slurs, saying “Jew” is not in itself anti-semitism.

    The political world uses short-hand references to “the Catholic vote,” or, “Mormon money,” or “African-American GOTV,” or “Evangelical support.” Those are not anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, racist or anti-Evangelical references.

    This is from The Jewish Daily Forward:

    A small group of Jewish private equity investors, hedge fund managers and real estate developers are playing an outsized role in Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s fundraising efforts.

    Top Jewish donors account for more than 10% of the $36 million raised by Romney’s super PAC.

    That’s self-identified Jews writing for an “openly” Jewish paper about Jews donating money.

    “Jewish” is not a slur in most contexts. In some contexts it is. This is why sooooo many people on the right end up surprised when accused of racism despite their careful avoidance of the N-word. It’s not the word in and of itself, it’s the context and the intent. That’s why David Duke saying “Ni–er” is racist but Chris Rock (or Mark Twain) saying it is not.

    It’s actually not hard to understand unless you’re deliberately trying not to understand.

  39. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: What is the phrase sometimes used? Ah, yes…self-loathing Jew.

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @John425:
    What’s that other phrase? Oh, yeah: moron.

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @dmhlt:

    Thank you for that pedantic observation. It added immeasurably to the conversation. 😀

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    If either of them were remotely serious about running (they aren’t), they’d have pushed their candidacies privately back at the November conference. Neither of them did so.

    This was about scoring some PR with their devotees.

  43. gVOR08 says:

    @John425: You are totally clueless, aren’t you?

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    More like totally shameless …

  45. Neil Hudelson says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Oh I agree that was the reason behind this. And I think they are probably surprised it went to 25 votes. Still, I would’ve loved it if their little stunt (temporarily) worked and forced a 2nd ballot just for the schadenfreude.

  46. al-Ameda says:

    @John425:

    Al-ameda and Anjin-san are tied for the award for, well, No Contribution Whatsoever.

    The annual Josef Goebbels Award for literature and Creative writing goes to: Michael Reynolds!
    The award reads in part: “…for anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, slandering and outright lying about conservative and traditional American values. Additionally, Mr. Reynolds is commended for his “progressive” (read totalitarian) viewpoint.

    Congratulations, you’ve out done yourself, even by every day low embittered conservative standards.

    Vapid reference to me and to Anjin-san? (((check)))
    Traditional values mentioned while comparing Reynolds to Goebbels? (((check)))

    Honest to god, conservatives portray themselves constantly as the most victimized people in America. It is pathetic.

  47. CB says:

    @John425:

    Totalitarianism. You keep using that word…

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @John425: Who in the hell cares what you think? And who in the hell signs on to your patting yourself on your back in your silly analysis of your fellow posters?

    In short: why should you be listened to?

  49. http://www.hiddenpolitics.com/election2016/fireboehnernow.htm

    Republican John Boehner (Majority Speaker of the Congressional House.)

    It isn’t over, Folks. We can and will oust John Boehner regardless of the establishment GOP and established incumbents. We can; We must, We will!

    How? I am now instituting a nationwide boycott on all conservative, Republican or (and I’m sorry to say) charitable organizations seeking funding / fundraisers / money from the American public. I am calling for an absolute (no if, and, or what), no “We don’t have anything to do with political issues” or any other claim which will be made by solicitors asking for your wallet.

    Anyone who calls you asking for money most certainly can influence those who insist on keeping John Boehner in power. HE MUST GO, AND HE MUST GO NOW!

    I must make this perfectly clear: “Every charitable organization regardless of its charity can help us to force John Boehner to resign.” They will tell you they can’t help. That is not true. All they have to do is to notify their management that their failure to meet donation quota’s is because of a national boycott to force John Boehner out of office. The word will get out.

    No more being nice. Shutdown / boycott 100% of all charitable organizations calling you asking for money. Please, this is only temporary until John Boehner is FORCED out of office. Those organizations and their cause will survive.

    Boycott them for now, until John Boehner announces his resignation from Congress. Boycott 100% of all charity / conservative / or whatever organization calls asking for donations. Boycott 100% (all of them.)

    Make it perfectly clear to those organizations that Americans are absolutely fed up with John Boehner and that we will not rest until he resigns. Not just from Majority Speaker of the Congressional House. John Boehner must also resign from Congress. We are done being nice.

    Make it perfectly clear to any organization that they are to tell their management that conservative Americans will not donate another dime to their cause until John Boehner has resigned from Congress, that they are to pass this message along to Congress.

    I call for this national Boycott to begin “immediately”. I will personally see to it that you are notified when John Boehner announces his immediate (without delay) resignation from Congress. Until then, the National Boycott of “all” charitable organizations must remain. Tell those organizations they owe this boycott to John Boehner’s refusal to resign.

    If they aren’t happy with this boycott, tell them to contact me at wayne@hiddenpolitics.com

    Like the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, please send this message to everyone you know throughout the Continental United States as fast as you can. Tell everyone we are absolutely fed up with John Boehner kissing up to President Obama’s behind.

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @CSK:

    Well, the Tea Party appears to be slitting its collective throat, metaphorically speaking, at the news that Commie Traitor Boehner wasn’t swept out of office and replaced by a True Patriotic God-Loving Constitution-Revering American.

    For example, our deranged buddy Wayne above …

  51. al-Ameda says:

    @Wayne Wilhelm:

    Like the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, please send this message to everyone you know throughout the Continental United States as fast as you can. Tell everyone we are absolutely fed up with John Boehner kissing up to President Obama’s behind.

    Any examples of Boehner “kissing up to President Obama’s behind.”?
    Apart from the fact that Boehner is the worst and least effective Speaker in the past 40 years, I’m not sure why you want him out?