Democrats vow to protect Boehner


Has this ever happened before in the history of the House of Representatives? A profoundly ineffective Speaker, a Speaker so weak that he has to depend on Democrat votes to pass legislation, is given assurances by the opposition party that they will protect him against his own caucus? Via The Hill:

A number of right-wing Republicans, long wary of Boehner’s commitment to GOP efforts attacking President Obama’s policy priorities, have openly considered a coup in an attempt to transfer the gavel into more conservative hands.

But Democrats from across an ideological spectrum say they’d rather see Boehner remain atop the House than replace him with a more conservative Speaker who would almost certainly be less willing to reach across the aisle in search of compromise. Replacing him with a Tea Party Speaker, they say, would only bring the legislative process — already limping along — to a screeching halt.

“I’d probably vote for Boehner [because] who the hell is going to replace him? [Ted] Yoho?” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said Wednesday, referencing the Florida Tea Party Republican who’s fought Boehner on a host of bipartisan compromise bills.

“In terms of the institution, I would rather have [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] as the Speaker than some of these characters who came here thinking that they’re going to change the world,” Pascrell added.

Liberal Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) agreed that, for Democrats, replacing Boehner could lead to a worse situation.

“Then we would get Scalise or somebody? Geez, come on,” said Grijalva, who referenced House Majority Whip [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ] (R-La.). “We can be suicidal but not stupid.”

I have three thoughts on this story.

First, it is a sad state of affairs when [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ] is considered a conservative threat. Seriously. Does anyone think that if the votes could be found to unseat Boehner that [mc_name name=’Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001176′ ] would be left standing? Hardly. He and [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] would be washed out with the same tide.

Second, any coup attempt against Boehner is going to take place in the GOP caucus not on the floor of the House. Both Gingrich and Livingstone were unseated in caucus action. So the Democrats can vow to support Boehner all they wish but ultimately they are not going to have a vote.  So to the extent this article reflects reality, it is bull****. But there has to be some reason for it, which leads to point three.

Third, there has to be some serious ferment going on in the GOP caucus right now if this story appears. Whether it is planted by Democrats to cause mischief or by Boehner loyalists to forestall a coup attempt by basically saying he will fight the coup on the House floor, I have no way of knowing. But the GOP caucus seems like it is finally realizing that it is being poorly led. And realizing you have a problem is the first step in solving it.