The Secret War Against House Speaker Boehner: Led by Amash


National Review's Robert Costa has some from-the-House-floor gossip about the ultimately feckless, and apparenlty not diligently planned or executed, mini-revolt against re-electing John Boehner as Speaker of the House yesterday. I blogged yesterday about how Justin Amash and some other Ron Paul-endorsed, liberty-minded Congressmen did not vote for Boehner.

Highlights from Costa:

Members say the rebellion was mostly a project of the libertarians (Justin Amash of Michigan and Walter Jones of North Carolina) and a clique within the Jordan-affiliated RSC, especially members of the class of 2010 (Mulvaney and Labrador) and their allies. It was never something that involved widespread outreach. "I only heard about it from a reporter," says Phil Gingrey of Georgia, a longtime figure in conservative circles. "That was a real mistake," acknowledges a House Republican staffer involved with the coup attempt. "My boss didn't say much to anybody beforehand. They were thinking that maybe they could help Eric Cantor or someone else find a way to win." 

….The height of the tension came when the number of defections was at nine, and the number of abstentions or no-shows was at eight, meaning the magic number of 17 anti-Boehner votes [which would have lead to a second-round] was a possibility…

The plot against Boehner was promptly dashed when the conservatives who had missed the first roll emerged from the cloakroom. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a former presidential candidate, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, two members often seen on cable TV, slowly strolled down the aisle and waited for the vote to be called again — and they both voted for Boehner. That possibility of 17 suddenly disappeared…

Costa says that the rebels never consulted with Eric Cantor of Virginia, a likely possibility for winning if Boehner, embarrassed by the no-confidence, stepped down. And, surprise!, establishment folk like the whip and Paul Ryan, Costa reports, were annoyed there was any show  of defiance to Boehner at all.

Jones and Amash agreed that they didn't really care about winning the gavel, but they wanted to bloody Boehner's nose, and stick up for the libertarian wing of the House Republican caucus. Their votes weren't even coordinated — Amash voted for Labrador, and Jones voted for David Walker, a former comptroller general.

Washington Post collates all the anti-Boehner rebels' votes.

I have an interview with three of the rebels, Amash, Ted Yoho (Fla.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) in the forthcoming March issue of Reason.

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  1. I hope Amash comes back from this Secret War with a black, symbiotic costume that gives him the power to bully/threaten congress into doing the right thing.

    1. I hope it gets dragged out into a prolonged stalemate, so we can draft some of these worthless kids into the bloodbath.

    2. But then he’ll go too far and start beating up everyone who he sees as insufficiently fiscally disciplined.

      And eventually he’ll start eating them.

      1. Until he climbs to the top of the dome and a bell makes the symbiot detach, falling on to Nancy Pelosi and beginning a new reign of terror…

    3. It’ll just eventually leave him for Mitch McConnell.

    4. If Amash gets too close to a church bell, does the costume switch to Nancy Pelosi?

  2. What’s up with this government and its love for secret wars?

  3. When I see the words “Secret War” I picture either a White House-ordered drone attack on John Boehner, or Boehner being transported to Battleworld to fight the Human Torch.

    Either of which would, of course, be fine.

  4. What’s the deal with Boehner? What does *anyone* see in the guy? Owned by lobbyists, votes for every war, never tried to seriously cut spending, etc. Or does he just have the proverbial compromising photos of everyone in the Republican establishment?

    1. Owned by lobbyists, votes for every war, never tried to seriously cut spending, etc.

      Sounds like a fine representation of the modern GOP to me.

      1. Sounds like a fine representation of TEAM BE RULED in general.

    2. He’s probably very good at the backroom dealing that constitutes the real work of the House.

    3. It’s his turn.

  5. What do the Amish have against Boehner? Did he kick one of their horses or something?

    1. The Amish are conservative, and don’t like seeing Boehners in public.

      1. Bravo, BP. Bra-vo!

  6. All these people make me fucking sick, even the “libertarian” ones.

    1. This is the correct attitude.

      1. I’d hate to see how you would feel if you were ever forced to live in the DC area. I’d give it a week before you spontaneously combusted.

  7. The not so secret war has failed. He’s the speaker for two more years. Vote wasn’t even close.

    1. IIRC, Boehner is Speaker only for as long as he can keep a majority in check. If Congress is anything like the Hawaii legislature, a Senate President or House Speaker can be replaced at any time.

  8. It wasn’t much of a secret or much of a war.

    1. I had to laugh at calling it a “secret war.” Has the air of a couple high school students trying to incite a walkout of an a**hole teacher or something. The two leave during class and hope everyone will magically follow, but no one does.

  9. So, Amash is leading the charge to be the next generation of the Stupid party. Good to know.

    1. No, that’s definitely Ryan.

  10. The tide may be starting to turn, however slowly!

  11. Just another example of why the “libertarian” members of the GOP can’t form coalitions, and have no real power. This did not help their cause at all.

    1. Good point. If only they would follow the party line lockstep and vote for everything they were told to. Then they and their agenda would start to get some real respect.

      1. They don’t have to vote for everything lock step, but anyone who thought that we were going to go over the fiscal cliff and end up with no tax increases on anyone is not residing in reality.

        The opposition to “Plan B” from some Republicans, who apparently thought they could get zero tax increases instead, led directly to the Senate setting the terms of the deal and forcing a House vote where it passed with more Democratic than Republican votes.

        1. Voting for Plan B wouldn’t have helped anything since it was a non-starter in the Senate and wouldn’t have ever come up for a vote.

          If you think the GOP was going to be able to use passing Plan B as some sort of “we passed a bill” leverage maneuver then you are not residing in reality.

          1. The idea that it was a non-starter is a lie. The D’s were saying that because they knew that their arm was about to get twisted.

            Pass Plan B, and suddenly, the R’s can go home and say that it’s not them who are holding up middle class tax cuts and threatening to go over the fiscal cliff. All of a sudden it’s the Democrats who are being obstructionist.

            It would have worked. And the only reason it didn’t pass isn;lt because R’s were afraid the D’s wouldn’t go along with it. It was because some R’s honestly thought they could get “no tax increases” by refusing to negotiate.

            We’ll guess what. We got tax increases anyway. Just as the law said.

        2. “Plan B”, if passed, would have at best had no effect on what the Senate passed, and at worst emboldened the Senate Democrats to lower the taxation threshold to below $400K.

          “No tax increases” is a stronger negotiating position than “some tax increases”.

          1. “No tax increases” is a stronger negotiating position than “some tax increases”.

            Not if the tax increases are already law.

          2. This is one thing I don’t understand. Boehner said Plan B protected tax rates for 97% of Americans. Does anyone know what figure it works out to?

            I think that’s about $250,000.

      2. My point wasn’t that they tried to thump on Boehner. My complaint is that they did it in what is apparently, a poorly planned manner. Getting the necessary votes together to force a second round vote would have been a nice poke in the eye. Failing to make the effort to coordinate enough people to do that much was a sign of incompetence.

        To paraphrase Dilbert, what’s worse than having to suck up to a monkey?

        Failing at it.

  12. He needs to get hisself into the Senate. That’s the spot where one or two fellows can really gum up the works.

  13. I don’t know who voted against Plan B, but if Amash was amoung them he’s not the solution, he’s the problem.

    The idiots who votes against “Plan B” paved the way for a fiscal cliff deal that was crafted by a Democratic plurality, rather than by a Republican majority.

    1. But why vote for any fiscal cliff deal?

      We would have been better off going over it.

      1. Or, if you’re going to cave in, cave in entirely so as not to be “obstructionist”. Then have everyone in an R uniform say over and over something to the effect of “this is all Obama’s plan, this is all Obama’s economy, the other team owns it entirely, and when it inevitably craters, it’s all on them.”

        1. Wishful thinking. The LSM owns the narrative. Heads donkeys win, tails, gop loses. And yet, these fools keep trying to play nice with the fifth column. Accept the media is anothe rarm of the DNC, and treat them like the enemy.

          There was nothing these guys could do to not end up with a bad deal and the blame after the last election.

      2. We would have been better going over it than getting THIS.

        But they could have had the fiscal cliff with fewed tax hikes. Which would have been even better than the fiscal cliff.

        The whole reason we ended up with THIS bullshit cop-out of a deal is that a few hardliner Republican idiots thought that putting their fingers in their ears and saying they weren’t going to vote for any tax increases would stop the tax increases from happening.

    2. Who gives a shit whether it was crafted by Team Blue or Team Red? It’s all crap

  14. You know what the limited government contingent should do? Threaten to go independent.

    1. Perhaps they can get a large enough block to hand control of the house to a Democratic plurality.

      1. It’s a significant weapon, as there are enough of them to ruin the majority. The nuclear option.

        1. But ProLib, Demmicrats! DEMMMMMMMMICRATS!

          1. Fear will keep them in line.

            “Obey, or we go independent.”

            “Um, Mr. Speaker, I need some coffee. Quickly now, or I go independent.”

        2. Asymmetric warfare is a better term. 🙂

  15. Actually, I think it didn’t hurt.

    These guys just signaled that they aren’t to be easily co-opted.

    It limits Boehner’s options in negotiations, because he’s got to worry that any deal he makes will be criticized by sitting congressmen in a way that gets out to the public.

    If these guys can survive the inevitable establishment primarying, they will probably establish a new wing of the Republican Establishment that hasn’t significantly existed since that scumbag Eisenhower gutted the Taft Republicans and buried their disemboweled corpses in a mass-grave (this was a few years before he gave that pious speech that the shit the Taft wing had been warning about, the Military-Industrial-Congressional Comples, the Government/Science Complex et al were actual dangers to the republic).

    1. In my neck of the woods, establishment primarying hasn’t been working out too well. David Dewhurst was the establishment choice for the Senate, but Ted Cruz was sworn in yesterday. The insurgents are way more motivated to go to the primaries and vote against people.

      1. And Massie, who was one of the votes against Boehner, wasnt the establishment primary choice either.

        Neither was Rand Paul.

        1. Yeah, it’s pretty difficult for the establishment to primary you AFTER you’ve been elected to office.

          Can anyone name a single instance of that occurring?

          Joe Lieberman’s loss and then win is the only thing that comes to mind.

          1. Ummm, they hold elections every two years.

          2. You can basically count on the establishment to be the establishment and rarely tries to get rid of guys who have the correct letter beside their name, no matter how much they dislike them.

            The R’s tried to primary Ron Paul a few times. Then gave up and figured, I guess, “at least it isnt a D vote”.

    2. The establishment Republicans who voted for the Senate plan have to worry about getting primaried themselves.

  16. What ever happened to “Tea Party Darling” Bachmann?

    1. Which Tea Party? The one formed organically after Rick Santelli’s rallying cry on CNBC back in 2009 or the astro-turf nonsense co-opted by establishment types in DC to get TV time?
      Fairly certain she was only a member of the latter.

      1. The “one formed organically after Rick Santelli’s rallying cry” never actually existed. Anyone who thinks it did is just indicating they got duped into being a useful idiot for the “astro-turf nonsense co-opted by establishment types”.

    2. I didn’t really understand that part of the story. Why was she late (other than just being female)? Did she even know what was going on before she got there?

      1. If Bachmann was a lot like Towelie, it would explain a great deal.

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