Republican lawmakers unhappy with House Speaker John Boehner failed to oust him in Thursday's vote for the leaders of the 113th Congress, which re-elected Boehner by a tally of 220 to 192. The anti-Boehner crowd -- which had bragged to Breitbart News that it was big enough to nominate a challenger, yet did not -- called out a handful of alternatives. Former Rep. Allen West got two votes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor got three votes, Reps. Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, and Justin Amash each got one vote, as did former Comptroller General David Walker. After the vote tally looked close to the number that would require a second vote, a handful of the Republicans who had abstained then changed their vote to Boehner. Those abstainer-to-Boehner flippers were Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, and Scott Garrett.I've got to hand it to the weirdies--the two who went for Allen West were Louie Gohmert and Paul Broun, by the way--they, um, didn't even make a credible attempt to depose Boehner as Speaker.
I know. I never did think that the Republicans getting rid of Boehner was really, really a really real thing. Who wants to be the head grown-up in charge of a party of Tea Party Toddlers whose favorite word is "No"? But I thought that a "pretend challenge" might emerge to create a little suspense. Maybe more votes going for Eric Cantor. But when it even looked a smidgy bit like Boehner might not get the House Speaker position again, some abstainers flipped to make sure he got back in. And I don't really know who Scott Garrett is, but Bachmann and Blackburn are pretty tea-soaked. That shows some loyalty to the guy I was calling the "Speaker of Nothing". Or a satisfactory institutional programming of a default-setting. I dunno which.
I am truly fascinated by the selection of Allen West by Reps. Gohmert and Broun. I may be so bold as to suggest they have the right fellow, but the wrong position of influence. Could it be that they should actually recommend him for RNC Chair to replace Reince Priebus? You know, to respond to a changing demographic situation and to inspire even more rigorous adherence to conservative principles, without the kind of violation of the Hastert Rule that the speaker just recently made to ensure that a fiscal cliff "fix" was in?
Huh. I have no doubt but that the current chair, Priebus, will be reinstalled. Because all things considered, establishment uber alles, and such. But also, the Tea Party, such as it exists, isn't organized. It's neither grassroots nor any one particular funding group--Tea Party Nation and Freedomworks, and all them besides. It's fractious, diffuse, and untrustworthy, and a damn good reason why the 112th congress got absolutely nothing of note done. (Ezra Klein points to the 112th Congresses' many votes to repeal Obamacare. That Michele Bachmann made it a point to put a bill in to repeal Obamacare as her first act as part of the 113th Congress is a wonder of the imagination, and a foul harbinger of things to come.). They are gerbils on a wheel.
I have no choice but to look forward to beating up on the Congress for the next two years as the only decent thing for me, as a political blogger, to do. And I encourage any other sane person to do the same. This congress can not stand, it isn't paid to sit, and I'm sure they'll lay down on the job.