Now that some House conservatives have a concrete plan in place for a coup d’etat against House Speaker John Boehner, buzz is building in Washington about whether these Representatives will follow through—and who would take Boehner’s place.
Breitbart News first reported late Friday about a detailed action plan House Republican staffers compiled to take out Boehner and that several members have considered adopting it.
National Review’s Rob Costa notes that he thinks the “biggest takeaway” from the action plan is that “folks are wary of public vote” against Boehner, because “few willing (yet) to even publicly SLAM Boehner, talk of challenge. People fear starting coup, only to fail /see power diminished.”
“To me, the real story about the Breitbart memo is that conservatives are on edge about what to do,” Costa said. “A real, organized floor effort is hard.”
Radio’s Laura Ingraham, guest-hosting "The O’Reilly Factor" on Friday, said that a well-placed Capitol Hill source told her Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s recent vice presidential running mate, may move up to become the Speaker.
While it’s a possibility that Ryan may do that, this reporter's sources and others' are not pointing in that direction. Ryan backed Boehner’s failed fiscal cliff “Plan B” and was an integral part of Boehner’s purge of conservative members from House committees, including two who were purged from his own.
Conservatives tell Breitbart News that while Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling has denied through a spokeswoman that he’d make a run at Boehner, they still like him as a potential speaker. Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price is another name that comes up in conservative circles, as does Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan – the outgoing chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
Other names that have been bandied about in the House hallways as potential alternatives to Boehner include House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa – who enjoys respect from grassroots and hardcore conservatives, as well as the establishment, as he was a Romney campaign surrogate – and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Cantor has kept his head down through most of Boehner’s post-election struggles. While Boehner and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy took lots of heat for the conservative committee purge, Cantor received relatively little media attention. Boehner and McCarthy have also taken the brunt of the heat for the failed “Plan B” vote while Cantor has walked away unscathed.
Conservatives view Cantor as a fallback plan. They think he’s potentially better than Boehner but only because he’ll know it was a conservative muscle that pushed him in and Boehner out.
Behind closed doors, as Breitbart News has noted, those contemplating this move at Boehner are trying to keep a leaderless movement for now. They think that if a first strike at the Speaker successfully batters him, a strong candidate will then emerge and unite the party.
There’s talk of how Newt Gingrich was unseated from the Speakership in the 1990s and how nobody thought Denny Hastert would emerge as the Speaker. Nobody outside of Washington even really knew who Hastert was until he became the Speaker in 1999.