Political Pistachio

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Boehner Almost Lost the House

From Kevin Price:

The attached was not written by me, but by a few members of my team, but this is a big story and I was involved in the interviews directly myself.  I have met with a number of members of Congress who have verified this story and was personally involved in the interviews mentioned.  

I hope you can enjoy it. 

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The Daily Caller reports that "A conservative group that wants to depose Speaker of the House John Boehner from his post as the leader of the Republican Party in the House is targeting more junior members of the House who have “little to lose” in the way of committee chairmanships, and asking them not to vote for him in January. The group, American Majority Action, has said Boehner is not conservative enough, and that the removal of several conservative members from their respective committees earlier this week was the final straw. Boehner has said it was an issue of loyalty, but conservatives have labeled the removal a purge, saying that those members were removed because they were too conservative." The group goes on to say that "Boehner can be removed from his post if 16 Republicans do not vote for him to be House speaker in January, leaving him one vote shy of the number necessary to be re-elected as speaker."

What is not being reported is that this is not the first time Boehner almost lost his leadership position. According to several Republicans who were interviewed by US Daily Review over the last few months, a group of GOP members had more than enough votes to remove the Ohio Congressman from being the Speaker. Each of these members commented on the basis of anonymity because of fear of it affecting their leadership positions. One of those members said, "I counted the votes myself and after the 2010 Tea Party victory, it made no sense for a man who opposed many of that group's principles serving as the leader of the GOP. In fact, it was an insult to the Tea Party. We would not have had a Republican majority without the Tea Party, so the GOP should be led by someone who reflected those values. Boehner was gone if the person we offered the position to would have taken it." That person was Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN), who had both the "record and rhetoric" of a strong Tea Party supporter, according to the source. Pence, according to another Congressman interviewed for this, "grappled" with the idea, but ultimately decided against pursuing it. The reason? Pence had grown tired of the constant conflicts common in the House and wanted to change the direction the country was going through another position. At first, he was looking at a run for the White House, but with a rather crowded field there appeared to be very little room for Pence. Later, with the decision of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to become president of Purdue University, Pence decided to run for the state's top position, which he won in November.

According to this senior House Republican, Pence had more than enough votes to take the Speakers position. Pence, who was chairman of the House Republican Conference, was one of the few members who had the credibility and leadership experience to take on the challenge.

US Daily Review interviewed other Republican members, some who have dealt with Boehner for over a decade. One described him as an "emotional mess who is even worse behind closed doors than in front of the cameras." There are, he said, "no crocodile tears with this man, he cries often for reasons other members simply don't understand." Another member called him "highly emotional, volatile, and as a result, hard to work with."

When asked about why House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wasn't considered for the top post after 2010 he said, "it wasn't worth it. Cantor was not conservative enough to make it worth the risk. The only serious conservative in leadership was Pence at the time." When you look at the House Republican leadership, it looks even more moderate now, so the dream of many conservative activists to replace Boehner looks unlikely considering the less than "viable" replacements. However, frustration has not been this high among GOP House members since the 1980s when Newt Gingrich and other "Young Turks" tormented their leadership by acting largely independent of it. This eventually led to the rise of Speaker Gingrich in the 1990s and a very successful conservative revolution. This is a "wait and see" situation. With or without Boehner it is unlikely that the GOP caucus will be anything but disgruntled in the foreseeable future.

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Kevin Price
Host
Price of Business on KTEK 1110, PriceofBusiness.com
Home of Bloomberg Radio on morning drive time.
Publisher and Editor in Chief, USDailyReview.com
Frequently found on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com
Syndicated columnist whose articles appear on a variety of media outlets.
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