Making Boehner Cry

Tomorrow as the new Congress convenes the first order of business in the House is the election of a Speaker. Thanks to right-wing disgruntlement over John Boehner’s handling of the recent tax bill (and his allegedly vicious treatment of conservative backbenchers), there’s a good chance enough Republicans will decline to vote for him that a second ballot will prove necessary (he must get a majority of all House members from both parties who are present and voting). If so, it would be the first multi-ballot Speaker election since 1923.

The Breitbartians are trying to stir up speculation that Boehner could be “knocked out” of the speakership if he fails to win on the first ballot, but only if an alternative like Eric Cantor quickly emerges.

That seems unlikely to say the least. Even if Cantor hypothetically had the votes and was willing to stab Boehner in the back, why would he want to take over the House GOP conference right before a debt limit fight that is unlikely to shower the House leadership in glory? Better to let the Weepy Orange Man take all the hits for that, and then, if he still wants the gavel, take it as the Ohioan sneaks out of town for a permanent cigarette break.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.