Is the House Ready to Say Goodbye to Boehner?

Mark Wilson/Getty images

Mark Wilson/Getty images

Speaker of the House John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is an old name in the political game at this point. He has been the face of the Republican party for a long time now, but he’s no longer the only name in the hat for that particular job. What’s more, those looking for a replacement are becoming openly critical and vocal about shifting their vote. What’s particularly interesting though, is how similar critics’ rhetoric and Boehner’s recent rhetoric surrounding the lawsuit against President Barack Obama are when lined up side by side.

Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama,” wrote Boehner in a November op-ed for CNN. “But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold.”

This month, Representative Steve King published a piece with Breitbart that began with the Congressional oath, and quickly segued into an attack on Boehner. “10390413_892792610751077_4148055507681371983_n

In particular, he appears to view Boehner’s removal as a symbol of a new Congress and a change to how things get done. “Our vote for a new Speaker is not a personal vote against Representative Boehner — it is a vote against the status quo. Our vote is a signal to the American people that we, too, have had enough of Washington politics,” promised Yoho. This may seem a signal that gridlock and head-butting between parties might be minimized with new leadership, but considering both Yoho, King, and other members considering a vote against Boehner are Tea Partyists, that seems less than likely. A reduction in polarization is hardly the reputation the Tea Party has earned thus far, tending to be the furthest right members of the Republican party — as Ted Cruz so often reminds us.

But if Boehner doesn’t have the support of all conservatives in the House, what alternatives are being considered? Yoho himself is one, recently announcing that he’d be running. Another possibility is Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.). “We have heard from a lot of Republicans that said, ‘I would vote for somebody besides speaker Boehner.’ But nobody will put their name out there. That changed yesterday with Ted Yoho,” said Gohmert to Fox News. He also suggested that how Republicans in Congress proceed in the coming year, and what they accomplish, could have an effect on how 2016 turns out. In an interview with Think Progress, Gohmert said if he were voted into the position he’d do everything in his power to end the “illegal unconstitutional amnesty” enacted by President Obama. Immigration aside, he also addressed tax reform, and demanded defending a number of programs including cutting back on social support programs. He also emphasized the need to limit government spying and reform energy policy, calling for subsidy cuts and a greater dependence on the free market system.

Boehner doesn’t appear to be greatly concerned, according to Fox, which reports that a spokesman for Boehner said “he expects to be elected by the whole House this week,” and referenced the House Republican Conference’s highlight of Boehner in November. For his part, Boehner has continued to release statements, videos, and anecdotes targeting President Obama’s signature health care law.

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