Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Boehner Survives Largest Intra-Party Revolt in 150 Years

Frankly, I can stand John Boehner who among other things I view as a liar and a to hypocrite who claims to be a devote Catholic yet pushes a GOP agenda which is the antithesis of the Gospel message and the Catholic Church's social ministry agenda.   Thus, the only reason why I can try to stomach his return to the position of Speaker of the House is that the far right alternatives would have been even worse.   Today, the attempt by such far right extremists failed when they were unable to force the speakership vote to a second ballot.  The Washington Post looks at todya's events.  Here are excerpts:
Republicans took full control of Congress on Tuesday, but — even on a day of happy ceremony — GOP leaders were reminded of the limits of their power, first by a veto threat from the president and then by a historic rebellion by conservatives in the House.

The day’s real drama was, instead, in the House. There, Republican control was not in doubt: After last fall’s electoral victories, the GOP has 246 of the chamber’s 435 seats, its largest majority since the 1940s.  What was in doubt was which Republican would lead. 

When a clerk called the roll, 24 Republicans voted for a candidate other than incumbent Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). The plotters couldn’t agree on their own candidate: they voted for each other, for sitting senators, even for former secretary of state Colin L. Powell.

In the end, their rebellion was not enough to unseat Boehner: The speaker won on the first round with 216 votes, 11 more than he needed. But it was far larger than a similar coup attempt against Boehner in 2013. In fact, it was the largest rebellion by a party against its incumbent speaker since the Civil War.

Still, even before the day’s ceremonies were over, there was a sign of a coming fight with President Obama. One of the new Congress’s top legislative priorities is a bill to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But Tuesday, a spokesman said Obama would veto such a bill, believing that it circumvents an established process for approving large pipeline projects.

The effort to depose Boehner was led by a group of hard-right conservatives and libertarians, who did not believe the speaker was doing enough to fight Obama over spending and executive power.

Their intent was not to beat Boehner outright. It was to humiliate him, by splintering the party so that no Republican won on the first vote. 
While the revolt failed, it should send Boehner and the GOP establishment a message that it may be very difficult to govern going forward with the far right extremist elements of the GOP sulking and looking to push for extreme positions as the sessions rolls out.  

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