Until any candidate receives the requisite majority of votes actually cast for someone (voting “present” does not count as a vote), the roll call is repeated until a Speaker is elected. Such an anti-Boehner strategy would not be about handing the Speaker’s gavel over to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. It would be about blocking Boehner from keeping the gavel – and doing so long enough, through enough ballots, that he is embarrassed, or becomes seen as too diminished or damaged.
But the problem for the oust-Boehner “forces,” says Meyer and House members, is that despite what has been chronic conservative disappointment over some of his activities, there has not emerged in the last two weeks any unified effort among even as few as 17 disgruntled House Republicans to carry out a Boehner-blocking maneuver.
Meyer suggests his group’s calculations of Republicans members willing to actually act against Boehner at about 12, and even that low number is likely to drop without any chance of success. He and others suggest a few reasons why – including fear of reprisals for any coup d'etat that fails, and Boehner’s deft awarding of committee posts to soften some of his opposition in recent weeks.
But more than anything, Meyers and others say there has been the lack of anyone expressing a willingness -- either through a nod, wink, or more open encouragement -- to actually have their names put forth as an alternative to Boehner.
Of course, there have been several names thrown out that the Boehner detractors would like as Speaker instead of Boehner, with one of the most recent and intriguing being Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., the darling of some conservatives who was defeated for reelection on November. That would be allowed because the Constitution does not say that a Speaker has to be a member of the House.
But West himself on Tuesday laughed off such talk, saying he has no intention of letting his name being placed in contention.
Other names floated include GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Tom Price of Georgia, and Cantor. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., fresh off of his losing vice presidential bid, has also being mentioned.
In fact, most House conservatives interviewed this week said that they have not been contacted by any colleagues, at all, trying to organize an oust-Boehner strategy.
In addition, all of those interviewed said they knew nothing personally of a strategy by some to push changing the Speaker’s vote to a secret ballot, so Boehner dissidents can avoid retribution. A memo laying out such a strategy, purportedly written by unidentified House staffers, has been reported by breitbart.com. But several lawmakers noted that, even if really being proposed, such a plan would still require an almost self-defeating initial public vote by members to change the process to secret ballot.