Friday, January 4, 2013
Amid conservative grumblings against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for his tenure over the past two years, there was discussion that conservative members of the House would attempt to replace Boehner with another member. However, no candidate came to fruition, and Boehner was re-elected as Speaker yesterday with 220 votes to Nancy Pelosi's 192. Twenty representatives cast protest votes, or otherwise did not vote. You can view the roll call vote here.
On the Democratic side, eight congressmen voted for someone other than Nancy Pelosi. Receiving votes from Democrats were Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Colin Powell, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). Primarily, those who voted this way were "Blue Dog" representatives.
On the Republican side of the aisle, twelve congressmen voted for someone other than John Boehner. Receiving votes from Republicans were Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), former Florida Rep. Allen West, and David Walker.
In a fact little known to those not intimately involved with congressional politics, the Speaker of the House does not have to be an actual congressman, hence why Powell, West, and Walker received votes.
Of the dozen Republicans, several had been stripped of committee assignments by Boehner for opposing House leadership on different issues (such as the debt ceiling, and other times Boehner has caved in to the liberals). The rest were staunch conservatives who took a stand to send a message that they will not stand for more compromising of conservative principles.
Of Oklahoma's delegation -- all Republican now with the election of Markwayne Mullin in the 2nd District -- only 1st District freshman Jim Bridenstine voted against Boehner. In light of the Speaker punishing other conservatives recently, doing so took a lot of guts for Bridenstine, especially since the voice vote was done alphabetically, making Bridenstine only the second Republican to vote against Boehner. When he voiced his vote for Cantor, blogger Michelle Malkin tweeted "Bridenstine votes for Cantor...audible murmurs on the floor." Chad Pergram of Fox News tweeted "Freshman Jim Bridenstine votes for Cantor over Boehner. Audible gasp in chamber. Audacious move for freshman."
A big target is now on Congressman Bridenstine's back, but he stood his ground and kept his word. Kudos to him. We will see if Speaker Boehner punishes him by removing him from the Armed Services Committee or the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
On the contrary, the other freshman from Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin, voted for Boehner. On the campaign trail in 2012, Mullin railed against Boehner on many occasions, calling him "institutionalized", and indicating he would not vote for Boehner.
It will be interesting to watch the Oklahoma delegation moving forward. If this first vote is any indication, conservatives will be very happy with Jim Bridenstine as a member of Congress.