Rep. Meadows moves to challenge Boehner's speakership

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows has filed a motion to "vacate the chair" of Speaker John Boehner, thus directly challenging his position.  The procedure, last used a century ago, has little hope of passing.  It goes first to the Rules Committee, where Boehner allies will almost certainly squelch it.

But as a symbol of defiance by House conservatives, consider the message sent.

Politico:

“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation about making this place work,” Meadows said. “Hopefully we’ll have some discussions about that in the days and weeks to come. It’s more about having an inclusive process where you have debate on a regular basis, where you have open dialogue and an exchange of ideas. That’s what this is all about. This body is driven on debate and on the work on committees … and those bills or legislations should be debated based on the merit.”

Meadows’ move will undoubtedly force Republican lawmakers over the recess to answer questions about Boehner’s political problems, and possibly shift attention away from their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and other priorities.

Meadows’ move set off a frenzy of discussion within the GOP leadership. Late Tuesday evening, some of Boehner’s close allies and other figures atop the party said they thought Boehner (R-Ohio) should call up Meadows’ resolution himself, as a way to demonstrate his power and tamp down the rebellion from the right for good.

It’s unclear whether Boehner is willing to take that risky step or instead will opt to ignore the motion altogether. To be safe, Republican leadership allies were informally gathering intelligence from the rank and file late Tuesday.

Meadows, speaking to a clutch of reporters off the House floor Tuesday evening, insisted he had no beef personally with Boehner or his policies, saying his move was “procedural-driven.” Meadows lamented the “punitive culture” in the Capitol, just weeks after he overcame a leadership-backed challenge to his chairmanship of a subcommittee.

He said that “hopefully it does not have to come” to a vote to strip Boehner of the speakership.

“What I’m hopeful for is this provides the impetus to have a discussion, a family discussion, where we can start talking about how we can make sure that every voice, every vote matters and really about representing the American people,” Meadows said. “I want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.”

Boehner has brought this crisis on himself.  His arbitrary and capricious treatment of the most conservative members of the House has bred widespread discontent and anger.  His attempts at punishing some conservatives by taking away their seats on choice committees because of their opposition has done nothing except fuel resentment against him.

To put it simply, Boehner is no leader.  But in order to oust him, conservatives must agree on a viable alternative.  And to date, no one has emerged as a credible candidate to replace the Ohio Republican. 

So if Meadows is grandstanding, he's got everyone's attention.  But if he is looking to seriously challenge Boehner's leadership, he had better get busy lining up votes.  And he had better get used to being ignored by the leadership when it comes time to push through any bills he introduces.  For in the end, Boehner's control of the House schedule is his ace in the hole, and he has shown in the past a ruthless determination to use it when necessary.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows has filed a motion to "vacate the chair" of Speaker John Boehner, thus directly challenging his position.  The procedure, last used a century ago, has little hope of passing.  It goes first to the Rules Committee, where Boehner allies will almost certainly squelch it.

But as a symbol of defiance by House conservatives, consider the message sent.

Politico:

“It’s really more about trying to have a conversation about making this place work,” Meadows said. “Hopefully we’ll have some discussions about that in the days and weeks to come. It’s more about having an inclusive process where you have debate on a regular basis, where you have open dialogue and an exchange of ideas. That’s what this is all about. This body is driven on debate and on the work on committees … and those bills or legislations should be debated based on the merit.”

Meadows’ move will undoubtedly force Republican lawmakers over the recess to answer questions about Boehner’s political problems, and possibly shift attention away from their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and other priorities.

Meadows’ move set off a frenzy of discussion within the GOP leadership. Late Tuesday evening, some of Boehner’s close allies and other figures atop the party said they thought Boehner (R-Ohio) should call up Meadows’ resolution himself, as a way to demonstrate his power and tamp down the rebellion from the right for good.

It’s unclear whether Boehner is willing to take that risky step or instead will opt to ignore the motion altogether. To be safe, Republican leadership allies were informally gathering intelligence from the rank and file late Tuesday.

Meadows, speaking to a clutch of reporters off the House floor Tuesday evening, insisted he had no beef personally with Boehner or his policies, saying his move was “procedural-driven.” Meadows lamented the “punitive culture” in the Capitol, just weeks after he overcame a leadership-backed challenge to his chairmanship of a subcommittee.

He said that “hopefully it does not have to come” to a vote to strip Boehner of the speakership.

“What I’m hopeful for is this provides the impetus to have a discussion, a family discussion, where we can start talking about how we can make sure that every voice, every vote matters and really about representing the American people,” Meadows said. “I want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.”

Boehner has brought this crisis on himself.  His arbitrary and capricious treatment of the most conservative members of the House has bred widespread discontent and anger.  His attempts at punishing some conservatives by taking away their seats on choice committees because of their opposition has done nothing except fuel resentment against him.

To put it simply, Boehner is no leader.  But in order to oust him, conservatives must agree on a viable alternative.  And to date, no one has emerged as a credible candidate to replace the Ohio Republican. 

So if Meadows is grandstanding, he's got everyone's attention.  But if he is looking to seriously challenge Boehner's leadership, he had better get busy lining up votes.  And he had better get used to being ignored by the leadership when it comes time to push through any bills he introduces.  For in the end, Boehner's control of the House schedule is his ace in the hole, and he has shown in the past a ruthless determination to use it when necessary.