Boehner’s “Cushion” and The Cause

Virtually no one thinks John Boehner will fail to be re-elected as Speaker of the House today. But it’s in the nature of such things that expectations are formed and events are weighed against them, so the weepy Ohioan will likely set a record of party defections–as many as 20, according to the New York Times‘ Ashley Parker. Boehner has a “cushion” of 28 Republican votes before he is forced into the second ballot that would indeed indicate a slippery gavel.

But expectations work in both directions, so expect a lot of triumphalist crowing from people around Boehner if hapless challengers like Louis Gohmert and Ted Yoho fail to attract much more support than last year’s dozen-Member “revolt.”

Tuesday’s vote for speaker represents a reach for relevance by some rank-and-file conservative lawmakers, including those making good on campaign promises about standing up to Mr. Boehner and the culture of Washington. For Mr. Boehner, meanwhile, squashing a conservative uprising and winning handily on the first ballot would send a strong signal to House Republicans, as well as conservative outside groups, that he will not be cowed by recalcitrant members of his conference.

Oh yeah, the Orange Man is indeed The Man, isn’t he? So long as the only real argument among Republicans is how much conservatism political markets can bear, there will be regular “revolts” against people like Boehner who sometimes seem to sell The Cause at a discount. And while the Establishment may win many battles, The Cause will always win the war.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.