A concerted effort to unseat Speaker John A. Boehner was under way the day of his re-election to the position, but participants called it off 30 minutes before the House floor vote, CQ Roll Call has learned.
A group of disaffected conservatives had agreed to vote against the Ohio lawmaker if they could get at least 25 members to join the effort. But one member, whose identity could not be verified, rescinded his or her participation the morning of the vote, leaving the group one person short of its self-imposed 25-member threshold. Only 17 votes against Boehner were required to force a second ballot, but the group wanted to have insurance.
Even with 24 members, the group would easily have been able to force a second ballot round, but the effort was aborted in frenetic discussions on the House floor.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” you’re thinking. “Palace intrigue. How fascinating… So what?”
Well, last week Nate Silver looked at the vote and concluded that “recent history doesn’t bode well” for Boehner. Speakers with weak support tend not to be Speakers with longevity. And keep in mind that Silver’s analysis came before we knew the full extent of the opposition to Boehner. the Orange One’s position is actually much, much weaker than Silver had realized.
John Boehner wants very much to be Speaker of the House. It’s probably as far as he’ll ever go in politics and he knows it. This is why Boehner is so eager to please and so easily led around by the nose by the Tea Party crazies in his caucus. The result of this, as I’ve pointed out before, is that House Republicans are actually leaderless, since the Speaker takes his marching orders from the people supposedly following him. This is what’s led to so many logjams in Washington — the inmates are running the asylum.
Now that Boehner knows just how tenuous his position as Speaker actually is, expect things to get even worse.