The House managed to reelect John Boehner, but not without a bit of drama as Eric Cantor got votes for speaker.
The right crazies voted for many others, but in the end there were too many House Republicans willing to vote for Boehner to overcome a coup attempt that never really got off the ground. It is a tribute to their dysfunction that House Republicans were able to take a mundane vote that is usually a foregone conclusion and turn it into a moment of political intrigue.
The drama reached its high point when Majority Leader Eric Cantor got votes to be the next speaker. Colin Powell, Allen West, Eric Cantor, Raul Labrador all received votes for speaker. Eric Cantor and John Boehner were barely able to keep their feud under the surface, but all of that changed on New Year’s Day when Cantor led the opposition to the fiscal cliff deal, and went against Boehner publicly by voting no on the bill.
John Boehner gets a lot of the blame for being unable to control his House caucus, but one of the main reasons he has no control is because his own majority leader is working against him. With this vote today, Republicans showed that their dysfunction is a byproduct of their own infighting. The problem between the House and Senate isn’t just a matter of differing ideology. The issue is that House Republicans are divided on their own ideology.
Any matter of policy that is left in the hands of House Republicans will soon morph into a drama more fitting for teenage girls than one third of the legislative process.
In the end, many House Republicans did not want to risk crossing the powerful speaker, and narrowly reelected him 220-192-15. When push came to shove, the right wing media and the tea party were all bark and no bite. They couldn’t muster the support or votes to deny Boehner reelection, which means that the battle between the party ideologues (Cantor) and the establishment (Boehner) will continue to rage on within the House Republican caucus.
(Three House Freshmen voted for Cantor, so the drama continues…)