More of the Orange Man

House Republicans are having them some leadership elections today, with Kevin McCarthy considered sure to overcome Raul Labrador for the defenestrated Eric Cantor’s Majority Leader position, while three members (Steve Scalise, Peter Roskam and Marlin Stutzman) compete for McCarthy’s Whip position. Scalise, currently chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, is considered the front-runner in that race.

But the consequence of Cantor’s demise that hasn’t made much news is that it will likely keep John Boehner in place for another two years. Carl Hulse of the New York Times has that story:

Significant uncertainty had remained about whether the man who has led the House since 2011 would run again for speaker, given his frustrations with his own members and some of their very public frustration with him. Allies said Mr. Boehner himself might not have known what he would ultimately do.

But Mr. Cantor’s abrupt departure from the leadership quickly put to rest any talk of Mr. Boehner’s retirement.

Members of Mr. Boehner’s circle said they immediately made clear to the speaker that he could no longer even consider stepping down, since doing so would leave the fractious House Republican conference without its top two leaders and with an extremely short list of colleagues able to fill that void.

The day after Mr. Cantor’s loss, Mr. Boehner told his colleagues that he intended to run again for speaker, and the declaration was met by many with relief. The shake-up has strengthened his hand in many respects, giving him stronger control of the agenda.

“Now he really is the indispensable man,” Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said.

Yeah, but one who often “leads” by anticipating exactly how much rope his caucus will give him. I’m sure the president will be thrilled to learn that absent some electoral tsunami in November, the Orange Man, smelling slightly of nicotine and brimstone, will be sitting behind him for yet another State of the Union address next January.

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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.