The National Journal's Tim Alberta reports there's now a serious push by the hard right lunatics in the House to oust John Boehner as Speaker and put the House in full crazy mode for the last two years of President Obama's term. Apparently backing Cantor as a replacement is no longer an option:
But there's a more audacious option on the table, according to conservatives involved in the deliberations. They say between 40 and 50 members have already committed verbally to electing a new speaker. If those numbers hold, organizers say, they could force Boehner to step aside as speaker in late November, when the incoming GOP conference meets for the first time, by showing him that he won't have the votes to be reelected in January.
The masterminds of this mutiny are trying to stay in the shadows for as long as possible to avoid putting a target on their backs. But one Republican said the "nucleus"of the rebellion can be found inside the House Liberty Caucus, of which he and his comrades are members. This is not surprising, considering that some of the key players in that group—Justin Amash of Michigan, Raul Labrador of Idaho, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky—were among the 12 Republicans who refused to back Boehner's reelection in January 2013.
Amash, chairman of the Liberty Caucus, warned at the time that there would be a "larger rebellion" down the road if Boehner's leadership team did not bring conservatives into the fold. Such an insurrection never materialized, however, as Boehner deftly navigated a series of challenges last year and wound up winning over some of the malcontents.
But conservatives, increasingly irritated with what they see as a cautious approach taken by their leadership, are now adamant that Boehner's tenure should expire with this Congress.
"There are no big ideas coming out of the conference. Our leadership expects to coast through this election by banking on everyone's hatred for Obamacare," said one Republican lawmaker who is organizing the rebellion. "There's nothing big being done. We're reshuffling chairs on the Titanic."
It's clear these nutjobs not only expect to have full control of Congress, but full control of the agenda as well. A lurch to the insane right from the hard right now would be a political gift to President Obama for sure, but a disaster for the country.
And yeah, if Boehner is replaced with someone even crazier than Eric Cantor, you can bet it'll be 1999 all over again, impeachment proceedings and all.
Ryan Cooper over at The Week says the Tea Party folks have no chance to unseat Boehner, because who would want his job?
We'll see, but I'm learning towards Cooper rather than Alberta on this.
This, of course, is Boehner's ace in the hole. Anyone credible and ambitious enough to become speaker also realizes that taking the job would be a horrible mistake. Why? Because House ultraconservatives are constantly making completely unreasonable demands, then blaming the leadership when they don't get the impossible.