John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Don’t Expect a Coup Against Boehner Any Time Soon

Posted on September 9, 2015
"John Boehner official portrait" by United States House of Representatives - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

"John Boehner official portrait" by United States House of Representatives - Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -

Ever since Mark Meadows decided to file a non-privileged motion to vacate the chair, a meaningless procedural maneuver meant to please a restive conservative grievance industry, the local media has been abuzz about efforts to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

Like most things that fly around Breitbart, all that noise is just that, noise.

There will be no coup against John Boehner.

Here are five reasons why:

  1. When you strike at a king, you must kill him: The Freedom Caucus doesn’t have the votes to oust Boehner. Enough Democrats will vote to keep the Speaker in place, fearing that whoever might replace him would be worse. And if that happens, why would Boehner even bother to allow any of the Freedom Caucus members to darken his door? The downside risk for a failed coup is so great that Members rarely actually try it on the House floor.  They usually try to bluff their way and see if the Speaker loses nerve.  That's what happened with the almost coup against Newt Gingrich.

  2. You have to replace him with somebody: I doubt very seriously that anybody at the Boehner leadership table would want to step up as a replacement candidate. And if not the Majority Leader, the Whip or the NRCC Chairman, who could get enough votes? Jeb Hensarling? I like Jeb, but I don’t think he would even get the majority of his Committee. Keep in mind, the vote to replace the Speaker is not in a Conference setting, but on the floor of the House. That means it is not simply the majority of the majority, but a majority on the floor. That’s a key distinction that is largely lost on the hard-right Freedom Caucus types.

  3. Chaos is not in the GOP’s interests: Some on the far right are spoiling for a fight, no matter what the consequences. But that does not serve the long-term interests of the conservative movement or of Republican Party. What would the media rather cover, the Planned Parenthood tapes or a coup against a sitting Speaker of the House? The left-leaning media and the far right media love a story about Republican turmoil. But for true Republicans, that’s a huge distraction from fights we should be focused on.

  4. Boehner has been an effective Speaker: Nobody has raised more money or helped more Members than the Xavier University graduate. And nobody has achieved more things, under difficult circumstances, than Mr. Boehner.   He is a good legislator and he takes care of his members. That’s why he has the votes of the vast majority of his colleagues. Toppling him would be just plain stupid.

  5. Most Presidential Candidates don’t want a coup: Outside of Ted Cruz, who seems to be running to head up his own party, the vast majority of the GOP Presidential candidates don’t want the House to melt down into a protracted civil war. They want to keep the focus on the failures of the Obama Administration and Hillary’s habitual abuse of the truth. How can the Republicans win a victory at the Presidential level if they can’t get their act together in the House of Representatives? Even Donald Trump, I assume, would look askance at a conservative coup against John Boehner.

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