The Last Resort: Replace John Boehner

Crominbus was the last straw. Conservatives are now absolutely livid at the RINO Establishment. Rarely, if ever, has such an unmistakable voter mandate been so brazenly nullified before the newly elected could even take office. Calls escalate to "end" the Republican Party because conservatives cannot change it. By contrast, Rush Limbaugh, while lamenting that "the losers in the last election [got] pretty much everything they want[ed]," nevertheless rejects the third party call: "taking over the Republican Party is better."

Sarah Palin protests that what House Speaker John Boehner and 162 Republican "yahoos" did "stinks to high heaven," for which Rep. Gohmert expects Boehner to be rewarded with Democrat votes for speaker. Palin declares open season on RINOs, including replacing Boehner. Conservatives find it especially galling -- and intolerable -- to have a Speaker who (a) shows utter contempt for the representatives whose election resulted in his ascension to power; and (b) does everything he can to subvert the wishes, interests and values of these representatives and their constituents.

It could take years replace or seize control of the Republican Party, by which time everything this country has stood for could be destroyed. However, there is a clearly viable short term strategy. Oust Boehner from the speakership -- now!

If the 2014 and 2010 elections are to have any meaning at all, if all the work and promises made to elect Republican majorities in both houses of Congress are not to be completely nullified, replacing Boehner must be considered the top priority. (Although Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell deserves recognition for his zealous defense of freedom of speech, he too should be replaced because he is a RINO stooge, as Andrew McCarthy makes plain. However, due to different House and Senate procedures, what follows is confined to Boehner.)

RINO Methods

The RINO modus operandi is crystal clear. First, RINOs savagely and falsely smear conservatives who offer a choice in Republican primaries, even courting Democrat votes with classic shameless Democrat-style race-baiting.  

Second, after working and spending vast sums to defeat conservatives in primaries, the Establishment demands that conservatives support RINOs in general elections because Democrats are allegedly worse and conservatives have no place else to go. After the lame-duck effrontery the country just suffered, defiant RINO nullification of an election won by candidates who campaigned on the appeal and strength of conservative promises, the "lesser evil" siren song has lost a lot of its appeal.

Third, and most important, while demanding conservative "lesser evil" support for RINO nominees, the Establishment often does not reciprocate. Nor are RINOs content to remain mute about their distaste for conservative nominees. Instead, RINOs feel free to trash conservative Republican nominees. Then Establishment "experts" pontificate that conservative candidates can't win general elections because they are incompetent, too extreme and just plain nuts. Obviously, when a conservative primary winner has to fight not only a Democrat opponent but also malicious attacks by those supposed to be on his or her own side, it is grossly unfair to declare him or her unelectable.

The Lesson: Turnabout Is Fair Play     

There is a lesson here. For RINOs, the "lesser evil" ploy is a one-way street. Many RINOs favor defeat of conservative Republicans by leftist Democrats, if that's the choice. Turning the tables is long overdue.

Unarguably, it is best for conservatives to defeat RINOs in primaries. Yet primaries are for the long term. The clear and present danger is at hand – January 6.  By 1988, Connecticut's conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. had had enough of RINO Senator Lowell Weiker. So Buckley endorsed and helped elect Democrat Joseph Leiberman. Currently, no junior Democrats can do as much damage to conservatism as Boehner.

High Stakes Poker    

If they have the stomach to engage Boehner and his RINO toadies in a game of chicken, there are now enough conservative House Republicans to produce a wholesale leadership change. They have enormous leverage. Remember, 67 Republican representatives voted against Cromnibus. Although there were only 16 Republicans who voted against the Rule that enabled a House vote on Cromnibus, many of those who voted for the Rule were tricked or lied to by their leaders.

If RINOs prefer defeat of conservative Republicans by leftist Democrats, conservatives should take a page out of the Establishment playbook. Make it clear to the Boehner gang that he should go gracefully or, if necessary and only as a last resort, at least 30 conservative Republicans will vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker. If serious, they could convince Boehner to leave without a fight.  

Maximum Advantage; Minimal Risk

Advantages of Genuine Threat to Vote for Pelosi. First, this would get rid of Boehner, who has done incalculable harm. Second, a credible threat (not mere posturing) can compel a majority of Republicans to force Boehner out in favor of one of their own who will honor their pledges to voters. It would be a test of intestinal fortitude, a question of who blinks first. The final choice -- and onus -- of whether to have Pelosi would be placed squarely on her clone and his lackeys.

Why threaten to vote for Pelosi as a last resort? Why not just threaten to abstain or vote for anybody else just to deny Boehner a 218 vote majority?

Although the Constitution specifies that the House shall choose, i.e., elect, its Speaker, the number of votes required is not decreed. Contrary to erroneous reports, an absolute majority of House members is not mandated. Under recent practice (1), always subject to change, a majority of those voting for named individuals is required. But in the past, a plurality -- the most votes although not a majority -- (see House Practice, page 645) has been accepted.     

Representative Grimm having resigned, the next House will have 246 Republicans and 188 Democrats. If as many as 57 Republicans merely abstain, Boehner could be elected with 189 Republicans. If some Republicans vote for someone other than Boehner, a higher number would be needed for him to have a majority of those voting for individuals. But he could still become Speaker without a majority of all representatives. To avoid this, Republicans could keep their campaign promises by giving a true conservative (e.g., Trey Gowdy) enough votes to provide a majority of those voting for individuals.

If unable to stomach Pelosi or Boehner, some Republicans may vote for alternatives, which could deny either candidate a majority of those naming candidates. But if Boehner still refuses to withdraw, Republicans might be tempted to elect him with only a plurality. In that event, if it appears that the only choice is Pelosi vs. Boehner and they lack the votes to replace Obama's golf-buddy and ally with a true conservative, at least 30 true conservatives should vote for Pelosi, giving her 218 if all Democrats vote for her. Again, that would only be as a last resort if all else fails.

Minimal Risk. Republicans voting for Pelosi is nowhere as dangerous as keeping Boehner, who, from day one, has prevented use of constitutional powers Congress does have in order to block a lawless president from abusing powers he does not have -- and who now has nullified the clear results of an election. Boehner used his power to prevent defunding of Obamacare in January 2011. He now has enabled amnesty. In reality, a vote for Boehner is a vote to lock in forever what Pelosi and Obama have done and stand for. Moreover, Republican support for Pelosi in order to oust Boehner cannot compare to RINOs helping elect rabid leftist Democrats by attacking conservative Republicans.

More importantly, a threat to vote for Pelosi would be nearly risk-free because, like a RINO, she would become a Speaker "in name only" for three reasons. First, a Speaker still has to have the votes to pass anything. Without the support of a majority, a minority party Speaker is much less likely to have the muscle to round up votes. With substantial party majorities, Speaker Pelosi had a bare majority for Obamacare and Speaker Boehner had a bare majority for the Rule enabling the vote for Cromnibus. Both Speakers obtained their bare majorities by combinations of intimidation, bribery, trickery and outright deceit -- unlikely to be available to a minority speaker. Second, rulings may be appealed. House Practice (page 63) provides that the "right to appeal from a decision … which may be invoked by any Member, protects the House against arbitrary control by the speaker." Third, a minority Speaker would have no control over House committees because their members are separately elected (pages H29-H30) and would be under Republican domination.

The upshot is that a minority party Speaker would lack real power to intimidate, having far less capacity to do damage than one with the backing and powers authorized by the majority party.

Finally, most important and rendering the Pelosi threat almost risk-free, she can easily be removed (House Practice, page 644) once conservatives show they are serious: "The Office of Speaker may be declared vacant by resolution, which may be offered as a matter of privilege. Manual Sec. 315; 6 Cannon Sec. 35." While unlikely if they openly declare their resolve, were it necessary to actually vote for Pelosi to demonstrate conservative Republican seriousness, she would and could easily be removed simply because there will be more Republicans in the next House. By contrast, Boehner, if elected, would be stuck in cement. The tragic irony of Republicans who fear risk in voting for Pelosi is that, while she would lack real power to do damage and be removable, Boehner's future betrayals of conservatism would be guaranteed because unstoppable.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the best option is replacing Boehner with a speaker who reflects the values and interests of voters who elected a Republican majority. (It speaks volumes that pressure might be required for this to happen.) But what if, even with expanded numbers, there are not enough Republicans willing to replace the speaker who just betrayed the trust of constituents whose votes enabled him to become speaker? In that case, there are surely enough Republican representatives to replace him by voting for the Democrat alternative as a last resort. When Boehner gives Democrats everything they want anyway, it makes no difference if there is a Democrat speaker. Pelosi inflicted Obamacare; Boehner repeatedly saved it. Also, there will be a Republican majority to rein in a Democrat speaker.

Most importantly, if 30 or more Republicans make clear that they will replace Boehner with Pelosi if compelled, this might install spines in the spineless, forcing them to vote for a conservative Republican speaker.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures." All that the United States has stood for cannot survive with Boehner continuing at the House helm. And it cannot survive unless RINOs are taught a clear lesson that conservatives can use RINO rules of unfair play.

Lester Jackson, Ph.D., a former college Political Science teacher, views mainstream media suppression of the truth as essential to harmful judicial activism. His recent articles are collected here.