SAN ANTONIO, January 5, 2015 — John Boehner must not remain as Speaker of the House if there is to be any true opposition to Obama’s promised fundamental transformation of our society
Conservative television and radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin are all correct: During these next two years in which Obama will not be constrained by the prospect of re-election, he will repeatedly challenge the limits of executive power. Keeping our constitutional structure and the rule of law intact will require strong, principled opposition to his statist agenda from the Speaker of the House, something that Boehner has proven unable or unwilling to provide.
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The deliberately misleading reporting from the mainstream media suggests that Boehner has been all but coronated as speaker of the incoming House of Representatives. In reality, there is one conceivable way to guarantee that he steps down and allows a conservative member to be elected. At least 30 conservative members of the Republican caucus must do what would otherwise be unthinkable: vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, or threaten to do so and be willing to follow through with that threat.
Boehner has failed the American people to the degree that drastic measures are required to remove him from power. He has deceived the American people repeatedly and has made sure that most of the Obama agenda has been implemented unimpeded.
Spending, which originates in the House of Representatives, has not slowed under Boehner; the debt has increased by $3.8 trillion over the three years that he has been speaker. Additionally, he has: raised the debt ceiling numerous times; refused to fight Obama’s imperial amnesty; raised the federal income tax for the first time in decades; and, passed numerous bills without the support of a majority of the Republican caucus — after repeatedly promising never to bring a bill to the floor for a vote that did not garner support from at least half of Republican members.
He has nothing at all to show for his four years of predictable, feckless capitulations to Obama’s demands.
Boehner is so politically powerful, holding the full weight of the Republican establishment behind him, that convincing a majority of Republican House members to vote against him will be a Herculean task. He runs the caucus with an iron fist, promising repercussions to any member whose voting patterns do not match his closely enough to satisfy him and the rest of House leadership.
In 2012, five conservative House members were stripped of their seats on powerful committees following their refusal to vote for Boehner for Speaker. Boehner effectively sent the message to the rest of the caucus that other members who defied him would likewise be punished. Therefore, alternate methods that don’t rely on traditional democratic principles need to be considered to remove him from power.
House rules require that in order to be elected as speaker, any living individual must receive a majority of the votes cast. interestingly, the Speaker of the House technically does not have to be a member of the House, and can be any living citizen. Rules do allow for members to vote “present,” but a vote of present would only help Boehner, as he only needs to receive half of all votes cast for an individual.
The current House of Representatives, following the 2014 midterms, is made up of 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats, making for a total of 435 members; Republicans enjoy a 30 seat majority. Democrats, out of solidarity if nothing else, will unanimously support Nancy Pelosi for speaker. Therefore, no matter what the rest of the Republican caucus does, conservatives would only have to gather 30 members willing to threaten to vote for Pelosi.
If conservatives could garner even 100 votes for a conservative candidate for speaker, it is all but guaranteed that the Democrats would vote for Boehner to make sure that he, rather than an individual who is actually willing to oppose the modern Democratic Party’s statist agenda, retains the speakership. That leaves only one option for conservatives: threaten to support Pelosi.
The threat to elect Pelosi as speaker leaves Boehner with two options: to step down and allow a conservative to be elected, or to tarnish his legacy with the historical black-eye of being the only Speaker of the House in American history to be voted out in favor of the leader of the minority party.
Boehner is so vain that it is all but guaranteed that he would not risk his legacy being tarnished, and would step aside. If, however, Boehner did call conservatives’ bluff, Pelosi, as a member of the minority, would be a better speaker for the next two years than Boehner has shown than he is willing to be.
Pelosi’s power would be extremely limited as a member of the minority party, and as a result, her 2-year tenure would result in nothing getting accomplished. That is exactly what conservatives should want prior to the inauguration of the new president in early 2017.
Pelosi would not have power to assign Committee positions, which are determined by the Steering Committee (which is controlled by members of the majority party.) There are many more restrictions that Republicans could impose upon her, as well. Pelosi would effectively be a figurehead, lacking much of the power traditionally held by the speaker.
There are two legitimate concerns with a member of the minority party being Speaker: first, the lack of a bully pulpit to respond to Obama; and second, the lack of ability to control what bills come to the floor for a vote. Neither of these issues will be that important when contrasted with Boehner’s tenure as speaker.
Boehner currently uses his bully pulpit much more as an outlet to attack conservatives than to respond to Obama’s constant criticism. Additionally, Republicans would not miss out on anything due to a lack of control about which bills could come to the floor for a vote. Obama won’t sign any bill that Republicans like in the next two years anyway, and Boehner has said that if he continues as speaker, he will do everything in his power to never shut down the government again — effectively signaling his surrender to whatever Obama demands.
The only recourse for an overreaching executive branch for a Speaker of the House is the power of the purse; if that power to limit spending is utilized, it would almost certainly result in the government being shut. Obama has no reason to change his highly successful negotiating tactic of refusing to negotiate until Boehner can force enough Republicans to cave to Obama’s demands.
Therefore, Pelosi as speaker, as a member of the minority party, wouldn’t be any worse than Boehner and wouldn’t hurt the Republican Party in the long term.
Boehner has proven himself to be completely unable and unwilling to take the actions necessary to stop or slow Obama and the Democratic party’s collectivist march towards statism.
Fortunately, there are many conservative members of the House who would stand for American and traditional Republican values in order to put a halt to the Democrats’ deliberate and unending attacks on traditional American values and culture, like Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has thrown his hat into the ring as an alternative candidate for Speaker.
Conservatives must do anything in their power to oust Boehner, including the otherwise unthinkable act of threatening to elect Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.