By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, USDR.
Many Republicans have complained about the establishment wing of the GOP in the US House of Representatives. In spite of the constant complaining by many in the GOP “rank and file”, no one has stood up to challenge Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) for Speaker. I know that, on my radio show, the Price of Business, many Republicans have told me during segment breaks that they would support a coup against Boehner (and one, who asked to remain nameless, said he had actually attempted to orchestrate such). Finally, these angry Republicans are getting what they hoped for this past week in which Representatives from two states — Texas and Florida — have risen to the challenge. Those challengers are Representatives Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Ted Yoho (R-FL). Yoho, who was recently elected to a second term to the House is considered the less viable of the two upstart challengers. However, based on what many Republicans have said, Mickey Mouse would have a chance if he was in the GOP caucus. But with the more experienced Gohmert, it appears Republicans that are willing to challenge Boehner will follow him.
Gohmert, in a statement, is calling his effort as one “to buck the status quo”. He went on to say that “after the November elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, voters made clear they wanted change. There have been numerous examples of problematic Republican leadership, but we were hopeful our leaders got the voters’ message. However, after our Speaker forced through the CRomnibus by passing it with Democratic votes and without time to read it, it seemed clear that we needed new leadership. There had been much discussion. But, until yesterday, no one had stepped up.” In fact, since 2007, when Republicans lost the House, the drum has been beating for a new GOP leader. When the GOP took over in 2010, the sound got much louder, but there has been no action.
Gohmert addressed a concern, perpetuated by many establishment Republicans, that a vote for anyone other than Boehner was a vote for Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. Gohmert, said, “There is false information being floated that any Republican candidates in addition to the current Speaker will split the vote and give the Speaker’s gavel to Congresswoman Pelosi. This is nothing but a scare tactic to keep the current regime in power. As long as Republicans vote for an adult American citizen for Speaker, no Democrat can win. Only if 59 Republicans voted ‘Present’ would there be a chance for a Democrat to win.” He went on to say that “to win the Speaker’s race, an adult American citizen has to get a clear majority of all Members of Congress on the House floor voting for an eligible person. Voting ‘Present’ simply reduces the number of votes required to win a majority. If no one wins a majority on the first ballot, then we go to a second vote, then a third, until someone gets a majority.”
Gohmert argues that his efforts are those of a warrior and one of principles and not personalities. He said that, at “this point, the Speaker’s election is not about a particular candidate. It is about whether we keep the status quo or make the change the country demands. I am putting forward my name for consideration as Speaker and hope that with a new Speaker, be that me or someone else, we can fight for the ideals and principles that the voters wanted when they elected us in November.”
Historically, people elected to Speaker are individuals who have served in senior leadership. In fact, it is often an inherited position for the party leader (in this case, Bohner). At the very least, it would be the House Republican Conference Chairman or one of the Whips. So by every standard, Gohmert is an unconventional choice. However, he is a candidate with some credibility. In fact, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, describes the Texas Representative as a “heavy hitter”. He has been in Congress since 2005 and he holds the important position of Vice Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Prior to being elected to serve in Congress, Louie was elected to three terms as District Judge in Smith County, Texas. He was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to complete a term as Chief Justice of the 12th Court of Appeals.
The conservative voters who played a huge role in Republicans getting the House in 2010 and increasing their numbers in the most recent elections are showing a significant majority want anyone but Boehner as Speaker of the House in a new poll. If the GOP fails to elect a new Speaker of the House, they can expect an incredible backlash from these unhappy voters, many of whom voted for Republicans because they felt they only had two choices. If Boehner wins reelection, the real losers could be those ostensibly conservative House Republicans who have complained about the statu quo. They said they wanted a viable challenger and they appear to have one. If they cannot get a challenger elected, these angry conservatives should be careful for what they wish for in the future; because if Boehner wins, it could have a devastating impact on each of their careers.