February 21, 2014

“Quiet campaigning for House GOP leadership underway”

Boehner’s got his nest egg and his future on K-Street assured. Plus he’s got that swanky new Florida condo, so he can use the sun from time to time instead of relying on a tanning bed to keep his healthy orange complexion. So. Who’s going to lead “us” next?

House Republicans have begun jockeying for leadership positions in the next Congress, anticipating the possibility that Speaker John Boehner could step down after the November elections.

The Ohio Republican maintains that he has no plans to relinquish the gavel. Indeed, some Republicans close to Boehner now believe he is leaning toward running for a third term as speaker after previously predicting that 2014 would be his final year on the job. Boehner’s speakership has strengthened in the aftermath of October’s government shutdown, with his often-rebellious conference uniting behind him following three years of bucking his leadership at nearly every turn.

Is that what’s been happening?  Really?  Because I seem to recall that it was he and a handful of his pocketed yes men who, together with Democrats, passed the “clean” unlimited debt increase — then sent it over to McConnell, who, had it not been for that dastardly Ted Cruz, would have had the perfect show vote, allowing them all to pretend the voted against the Democrats and House leadership while getting exactly what they all wanted:  an increase to the debt ceiling without having to vote for one.

But maybe me and the Washington Times remember things differently.  Anyway —

[…] there remains considerable speculation that Boehner will retire, and members interested in moving up are quietly exploring their options and laying the foundation for a leadership bid. They include members of Boehner’s team who are eyeing promotions and rank-and-file Republicans looking to win their first elected position in conference leadership. Overt campaigning, considered unseemly and counterproductive at this early stage, could accelerate over the summer.

“There is definitely a lot of shadow campaigning going on,” said a Republican lobbyist with relationships on Capitol Hill. “They all want to be ready.”

The politics of running for a congressional leadership post differ from campaigns for public office. In a leadership election, members are the constituency, and winning is primarily about relationships, favors and fundraising. In other words, members with friends, who have helped boost colleagues’ legislation and campaign coffers, tend to have an edge. That a member might enjoy the support of party activists or influential outside groups usually matters much less.

— Just like the framers envisioned representative government working! —

That is one reason why Boehner’s team has been remarkably stable despite the challenges it has faced periodically in rounding up the 218 votes required to pass legislation. Members of the House Republican conference who are loyal to the Tea Party have been disenchanted with Boehner’s strategy occasionally, but none has accumulated the breadth of support required to oust him or one of his lieutenants.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is probably the only member capable of uniting Establishment and Tea Party Republicans and ousting Boehner or another senior leader. But Ryan isn’t interested, both because he is closely aligned with Boehner, as well as Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, and because he doesn’t want their jobs. Ryan is poised to become Ways and Means Committee chairman next year, fulfilling a career ambition.

“The only person who can tell Boehner it’s time to go is Cantor,” said a former House Republican leadership aide. “Ryan isn’t going to do it.”


Cantor would be considered a shoo-in to be elected speaker. The majority leader has relationships with key members of the House Republicans’ Tea Party and Establishment wings. Significantly, these factions are divided along generational lines. Party insiders are split on whether the rest of the senior leadership team follows Cantor up the ladder. Some predict that would be likely, with McCarthy becoming majority leader and Roskam becoming the whip — a position he covets.

But some believe that at least one senior leader is likely to have his or her ascension blocked. Republican sources say ambitious outsiders could seize on the opportunity after almost eight years of stasis at the top of the GOP ranks — Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy will have served in the top three leadership positions for eight years — and run for majority leader, whip or conference chairman. Contested races for all three positions could ensue.

A change also could be driven by Cantor to placate conservatives, and partially because there are currently no senior members of leadership who hail from solid red or southern states. Boehner and Cantor are from swing states; McCarthy, Roskam and McMorris Rogers hail from blue states. To rectify this, some Republicans believe that Cantor would support Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, for majority whip.

We don’t want to be “placated.” We want to be represented.  Eric Cantor is about as establishment as it gets.   And that’s how DC works.  Which is why the solution to our problems lies elsewhere — in the states, with the renaissance of the 9th and 10th amendments, along with a convention of the states to push back on the seized powers the federal government claims but has no constitutional right to.

Short of that, it doesn’t much matter what inside maneuvering takes place or who gets the next plum position inside the Capitol.  Because the outcome is always the same:  garbage in, garbage out.

If the GOP takes the Senate, we’ll have either more Boehner or the ascension of Cantor and McCarthy up the rungs.

Makes me all tingly.   I mean, if that murderer’s row of political giants doesn’t inspire confidence in our willingness to fight back against statism, what can?


Posted by Jeff G. @ 2:41pm

Comments (5)

  1. It makes me tingly, too, just like the incredibly painful tingly of a nerve that has been compressed too long suddenly starting to work again.

    Except, it never stops.

  2. If Orangeman decides to retire he doesn’t have to give up his Speaker seat until January 3, 2015. This gives him and his RINO clique ample time to caucus with the Democrats — and pass an amnesty bill (strike that) a comprehensive pathway to citizenship for ’emigrants without documents’ — as a going away present. For the children.

  3. Great, we’ll see Speaker Cantor ready to take up where Boehner left off.

    Whoo hoo!


  4. My personal guess is that Boehner’s Florida Condo is a hedge against losing the majority rather than a challenge to his leadership.