The Michele Bachmann-For-Speaker Caper

Robert Laurie at CainTV got taken for a ride today…

Aww jeez, retraction time….

Well, don’t I feel like a rube.  It appears that this morning’s “Bachmann running for Speaker” story originated at some parody site before spreading across various political rumor sites. That’s where I picked it up, not knowing the origin. I did say it was only a rumor, but you have my apologies for running it. It’s completely bogus.

Laurie’s original piece had this…

For now, take this with a grain of salt, but the internet is abuzz with reports that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has wasted no time since her Presidential bid collapsed.

If the rumors are true, she and her allies plan to oust John Boehner as Speaker of the House, and she’s spent the last several months quietly building GOP support.  According to anonymous Bachmann aides, she’s already locked down the backing of 70 House Republicans, half the votes she’ll need to take the job.

“America has been rocked by this economic crisis,” Bachmann recently told The Daily Currant website. “And I find it outrageous that in the middle of the deepest recession since the 1930’s the president and the Republican leadership are negotiating a plan to raise taxes on American families. Speaker Boehner insists on helping Obama perpetrate this fiscal atrocity, and it’s time he be held responsible by his caucus. We were elected to oppose Obama, not roll over for him.”

Thing is, that Michele Bachmann would challenge Boehner is not all that crazy a concept. Bachmann ran for President, for crying out loud; she’s accustomed to a low-percentage game.

What’s crazy is the idea that Bachmann might actually win.

But here’s a little thought experiment for you – what if Bachmann or somebody like her, somebody with some experience as a troublemaker and a gadfly, were to challenge Boehner and get, say, 25 or 30 votes behind them?

The GOP will control 233 seats in the next Congress. That means if Boehner loses 16 GOP votes he’s no longer the speaker.

It doesn’t make Nancy Pelosi the speaker, mind you. Pelosi can’t get to 218 votes. The next speaker will have to be a Republican.

But it doesn’t have to be Boehner. That’s the thing. Bring him down under 218 votes with a Bachmann-type insurgency and what you have is a stalemate.

And if somebody like Bachmann, who has nothing much to lose – she’s never going to be in the leadership and at this point she has to know it – could go behind the scenes and do a deal with a conservative who actually has a shot at being Speaker, somebody like Jim Jordan or Jeb Hensarling, let’s say, then she could be the catalyst to get said conservative in and Boehner out.

Bachmann stands in the way of Boehner, with enough votes to block him from keeping his chair, but says she’d be willing to support somebody else who doesn’t stink and might offer new blood. And then holds out until there is momentum for an acceptable conservative to run, then throws support behind that conservative.

Then it’s Speaker Jordan, or Speaker Hensarling, or whoever.

That’s something of a coup d’etat, without a doubt. But does anybody really think John Boehner is the kind of leader the Republican Party needs to carry it through a second term of Obama? Does anybody think Boehner is enough of a warrior to keep from getting rolled by Obama and Harry Reid?

Does anybody think Boehner, with his endless parade of unrequited fiscal cliff proposals capitulating on tax increases in return for fewer and fewer considerations from an amused White House which threatens over and over to dive off the fiscal cliff unless it gets all the tax hikes it wants with no adjustments to federal spending, will get the GOP a deal it can live with?

Nobody does. Even the people who support Boehner know this is a disaster. National Review’s Robert Costa, today

The House GOP caucus remains supportive of Speaker John Boehner, even though he is open to tax-rate increases. “There is no revolt, no coup,” says a conservative House member, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “Boehner is going to compromise, but people recognize that he’s in a tough spot.”

In a conference meeting this morning at the Capitol, Boehner told his colleagues that he would like to extend all current tax rates for “99.5 percent” of taxpayers, and let the rates expire on those making more than $1 million. Boehner acknowledged that it wasn’t optimal, but the best “plan B.”

“It’s important that we protect as many American taxpayers as we can,” Boehner told reporters. “Our Plan B would protect American taxpayers who make $1 million or less.” For Americans making more than $1 million, the tax rate on their income over that amount would rise from 35 percent, the current rate, to 39.6 percent.

Boehner hopes to bring his “Plan B” legislation to the floor later this week, and plans to update members on the schedule Tuesday night. In the meantime, he said, Republicans should argue that they’re working hard to protect current tax rates.

The Tuesday meeting began at 10 a.m., and the mood was quiet and somber, sources say. Boehner wasn’t cheered or warmly embraced, but he was given respect and time to explain his strategy. “He was his usual self,” says a House staffer familiar with the session. “He wasn’t emotional; it was an update.”

Representative Blake Farenthold of Texas, a freshman, reportedly gave a well-received speech in which he supported Boehner’s push to get as much as possible in a hostile environment. “He got applause,” a second member says. “There seemed to be a consensus that Farenthold was right, that we’ve got to do a better job explaining our position.”

Conservative dissent in the room was evident, but only a handful of members spoke out forcefully against the speaker’s strategy. “There were some guys who got up there and complained that Boehner is going to violate our principles, but the rest of us mostly listened to Boehner,” says a third member.

Representative Austin Scott of Georgia had reservations, and sources say he urged Boehner to push for more spending cuts. Representative Louis Gohmert of Texas told the conference that they shouldn’t accept tax-rate hikes in any scenario.

Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, for his part, told Boehner and the conference to not give up the debt ceiling as a part of any deal, since that would cede major bargaining power, and give far too much power to the president. Two members told me that Hensarling wasn’t critical of Boehner, but the Texan, a popular conservative, did express concerns.

Who didn’t speak at the private meeting? A trio of high-profile House Republicans: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Representative Tom Price of Georgia, and Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the Republican Study Committee. “I have no idea where they stand on this,” says an ally of the three members. “I don’t think they like it, but they didn’t talk.”

That was before the Obama admnistration promptly crapped all over Boehner’s Plan B. Even the House Democrats who originally proposed the framework Boehner offered now say it was just a political ploy to make Republicans look stupid for voting against it when the Dems put it forward.

Which leaves Boehner, where? What else is there for him to do but admit failure? What can he deliver by further negotiating against himself?

At some point, Boehner becomes George McClellan or William Westmoreland. At some point you have to realize he doesn’t have what it takes to move your army forward.

If we’re not at that point now, when do we get there? And is it not a good time for the kind of coup envisioned above – whether Michele Bachmann has a hand in it, or someone else does?

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