I am a big fan of Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Both men are stalwart conservatives and have been consistently so during their time in Congress, they have also unfailingly made the tough choices even when the deck was stacked against them. On Tuesday, my confidence in both men was shaken as they chose to vote for John Boehner as Speaker of the House; to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Now, Rep. Labrador and Rep. DeSantis have both spoken about why they made the choice they did…
Today, I made a difficult decision in voting for John Boehner for Speaker of the House. Many constituents from Idaho contacted me to let me know that I should not support him. I want them to know that I did not make this decision lightly. I share the view of the majority of my constituents who are deeply frustrated by the way the House has run the last four years.
I understand that many of my most loyal supporters are angry with my vote. I ask them to remember that for the last four years I have stood tall for the conservative cause. In December, I opposed the end of year spending bill by opposing both the rule and final passage. Last year I ran for Majority Leader of the House when no one else was willing to stand up against the establishment in Washington. And every time over the past four years that the Speaker ignored the views of the Republican majority and the voice of the American people, I opposed him.
In 2013, I led the effort to oust Speaker Boehner from his leadership post. At that time, we had sufficient votes to be successful, but at the last minute several members changed their votes to support Boehner.
This year was different – even after 25 Republicans opposed the Speaker, we still needed 12 more votes. The votes were simply not there to defeat the Speaker. I think it is unwise to marginalize yourself when there is no chance of victory, which was the case today.
Before I cast my vote for Mr. Boehner, I spoke with him multiple times. He assured me that he wants to change the way the House is run. He cited my successful efforts last August in bringing conservatives together to pass two bills that would have secured the border and prevented Obama’s illegal executive actions. He asked for my help moving the House in a more conservative direction and promised that this would be a model for how he’ll conduct himself as Speaker in the 114th Congress.
My vote for Mr. Boehner is not an endorsement of his past leadership. Just as I have done during my first two terms in office, I will continue to fight for the American people and hold our leadership accountable.
A lot of folks dislike John Boehner. People see the country chafing under the thumb of an aggressively left-wing president, yet view Boehner as someone more concerned with his tan and placating K St. interests than in advancing a conservative agenda and stopping Barack Obama.
I get it.
After all, from the CRomnibus to various bailouts and spending bills, I have consistently opposed Boehner’s policies on the floor of the House — often times placing myself in a lonely minority within my own party. This hasn’t exactly earned me a warm place in the hearts of the GOP leadership.
Nevertheless, I declined to participate in a coup plot against Boehner that failed today by 11 votes. The plot was ill-conceived, ill-executed and designed to fail. In my judgment, there was no chance that Boehner would be “fired” but the foreseeable failure of the coup will in fact serve to further marginalize conservatives within the House GOP at a time when we most need conservative energy in the House and Senate to check the Obama administration.
When the GOP Conference held elections for leadership nominations in November, not a single Republican stood up to challenge Boehner as the GOP nominee for Speaker. He was nominated by acclamation. I owe nothing to John Boehner as an individual, but I do owe a due regard to the collective judgment of my Republican colleagues for the nominee they selected. Had we nominated someone like Trey Gowdy during our November conference elections, I would expect my more liberal colleagues to show a similar regard for him on the House floor.
If the goal is to have a more principled, conservative speaker, I also question the wisdom of engaging in a haphazard floor fight. Boehner had an 11 vote cushion, but even if that cushion magically disappeared, the chance that a second ballot would lead to the emergence of a more conservative speaker was simply nonexistent. The strategy depended on the arrival of an elusive white knight on the second ballot because there was no viable alternative at the outset.
Now, Louie Gohmert and Ted Yoho are both fine men, but they have as much a chance to be elected speaker of the House as I do replacing Derek Jeter as the shortstop for the New York Yankees. Gohmert only received 3 votes while Yoho received 2.
I like Daniel Webster but he announced his candidacy an hour before the vote and never contacted me at all. I had no idea what he planned to do; all I could do is look at his record, which includes a lifetime FreedomWorks score of 63%, which is lower than Boehner. My lifetime score is 93%.
The conservative alternatives who would have a chance to garner majority support against Boehner are Paul Ryan, Jim Jordan, Trey Gowdy and Jeb Hensarling — all not only declined to run but publicly endorsed Boehner. Even assuming Boehner might have stopped fighting on a second or subsequent ballot, the likely beneficiaries of the coup would not have been these conservatives who had no interest in running but rather ambitious members who are less conservative than Boehner – members that few Americans have ever heard of but who possess a following among the GOP Conference and could potentially be in power far longer than the aging Boehner.
Some have suggested that members are “scared” to oppose Boehner because we are worried about losing our plum committee assignments. Well, I do not have plum committee assignments in the first place — I do not sit and have no desire to be on any “A” committees that are coveted by some members for their prestige and fundraising possibilities. Furthermore, I was never contacted by, nor discussed the vote with, any member of leadership. I was promised nothing and was not threatened with anything.
At the end of the day, the coup attempt fell woefully short because conservatives failed to mobilize an alternative for our November GOP Conference leadership election. Engaging in the political equivalent of Pickett’s Charge will not erase this failure.
What do you think? Do you buy their reasons or are you still upset that they voted for Boehner? It’s hard for me to stay upset at these two men, simply because I’ve seen them buck the establishment many times before… but I have to admit to still being chapped that Boehner is still the Speaker of the House.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com