Tick, tock...time is running out for this Congress to act before taxes go up on everyone. But it would appear that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have decided to pass the buck rather than deal with what is already on the table; namely, an extension of the middle class tax cuts. The Senate passed that last summer, but John Boehner doesn't want to pass it with Democratic votes, so it hasn't been brought to the floor for a vote.
That's too bad, but Boehner is caught in a vise of his own creation. Adele Stan's report on AlterNet brings news of House intrigue and a possible coup plot.
At the right-wing Brietbart.com, Matthew Boyle writes of a plan by conservatives to wrest the speaker's gavel from Boehner by changing the rules of the vote to a secret ballot, under the reasoning that, if Boehner was unable to determine who voted against him, he would be unable to visit retribution on those members should his speakership survive the vote.
Although Boyle relies entirely on unnamed sources, he obtained a document laying out the plan, which is currently being circulated among right-wing members of the House. The irony is that they plan to use Boehner's promotion of an anti-union position favored by the Tea Party as the rationale for making the rules change.
Here's how Card Check plays in. Boehner wrote an op-ed saying that secret ballots were more democratic because there wouldn't be retribution for one's vote. They plan to use that op-ed to force Republicans to change the procedure. According to the document published by Breitbart.com (application/pdf - 102.43 KB), the plan is to bring a proposal up to change votes for the Speaker to secret ballot, then vote for a tea party candidate.
Since Boehner yanked tea party representatives out of leadership positions, there's been a lot of resentment on their part, and even more resentment about his pretending to negotiate with President Obama. They have lots of billionaires funding them, so assume they're bowing to the wishes of their patrons on this.
Here's a somewhat funny paragraph reassuring members that Nancy Pelosi couldn't sneak in and win if they did this:
Don't worry about Speaker Boehner losing GOP votes in a secret ballot. It is still not possible for Pelosi to become Speaker even with 100% of Democrats united behind her and a split GOP vote.
Honestly, the thought never occurred to me, but it must worry some Republicans who would be afraid a split GOP vote would end up electing the Minority Leader as Speaker.
According to Adele Stan, Norm Ornstein has weighed in with a novel idea.
Go to Article I, Section 2: The Constitution does not say that the speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. In fact, the House can choose anybody a majority wants to fill the post.
Ornstein's suggestion? Jon Huntsman, the erstwhile presidential candidate and former U.S. ambassador to China, who he figures could win the votes of enough Democratic members of Congress (Huntsman was appointed to his China post by Obama) and less radical Republicans to win the gavel.
Please don't drown out the Congress with your peals of laughter.
But let's say they try this idea. Who would they elect in place of Boehner? Paul Ryan? Eric Cantor? Who would you guess?