For those of us who thought that John Boehner was weak and flaccid in the face of adversity, we might consider rethinking our estimation of him. The Hill has a very informative article out today detailing all of Boehner’s recent power grabs and scorched-earth maneuvering in order to crush conservative opposition in the House.
After locking up the top three leadership spots for himself, Cantor, and McCarthy, Boehner made sure to deny conservatives the number four slot:
Yet Boehner’s internal support was on display when McMorris Rodgers, his favored candidate, captured the No. 4-ranked GOP leadership post.
The battle to be the head of the House GOP conference was a hard-fought one between McMorris Rodgers and former Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.).
Boehner never officially endorsed McMorris Rodgers, but his support for her was well-known. Price, meanwhile, was backed by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Then he co-ops Paul Ryan, a man who likes to play team ball, in an effort to get his seal of approval on the impending fiscal cliff capitulation:
Boehner was quick to include Ryan, back from the presidential campaign trail, in a small group of key lawmakers advising him of strategies ahead of the fiscal-cliff negotiations with the White House.
The appointment was a shrewd one; if Ryan endorses a fiscal-cliff pact, many conservatives in the House will fall in line.
Then, Boehner proceeded to stack the Steering Committee with his acolytes. The Steering Committee is responsible for doling out committee assignments to the entire House GOP Conference. The Steering Committee is comprised of all leadership members, Fred Upton, Dave Camp, Hal Rogers, Paul Ryan, and a number of leadership allies. Worse yet, he gave himself multiple votes:
Boehner rewards loyalty, and his power on the GOP Steering Committee — which selects panel chairmen and other committee slots — has been expanded.
Boehner now has five votes on the committee, up from four. Cantor has three and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has two, while everyone else registers one vote.
Lastly, they moved to crush any organized conservative opposition through the Republican Study Committee by helping install Steve Scalise as chairman. Scalise has committed to working closely with leadership at a time when leadership has committed to banishing conservatives from all levers of power.
When you step back and reflect on these hardball tactics of the Speaker, it is tough to overlook the irony behind his ultimate motivation. Boehner is employing scorch-the-earth tactics against conservatives……so he can have free rein in capitulating to Democrats on a laundry list of policy items.
We find the same thing during primary challenges from conservatives. The establishment candidates, who tend to fold like cheap accordions before their Democrat masters while in office, transform into uncompromising truculent fighters who seek nothing short of unmitigated destruction of anyone and anything in their path to power in seeking the nomination. Yet for some reason this sort of aggressiveness is only reserved for conservative adversaries.
I’ve got a novel idea: Boehner should start dealing with Obama the same way he deals with conservatives. There’s a reason why Republican ideas are more popular than Republican officials.