Open Thread: Pointing, Laughing, Fearing for the Future

Dave Weigel (he reads their crap so I don’t have to) has been keeping track of the “maximally humiliating fashion” in which Boehner retained his Speakership:

The tiny rebellion started early in the roll call, when the chair presiding over the House called on Rep. Justin Amash. Every Republican was supposed to vote John Boehner for speaker. But the Michigan sophomore cast a vote for Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho sophomore who happened to be sitting stony-faced next to him. The House floor filled with awkward “Oooohs” and the occasional “Who?”

The early part of the alphabet turned out to be trouble. Rep. Paul Broun voted for Allen West—who lost his seat last year—to become speaker. John Bridenstine, a new member from Oklahoma who upset an incumbent in a 2012 primary, voted for Eric Cantor. When Cantor’s turn came, he said “John. Boehner.” with the tone of voice you’d use on a telemarketer who put you on hold for three hours.

But that didn’t stop the dissents. Rep. Louie Gohmert voted for West; Rep. Steve Pearce and Rep. Ted Yoho voted for Cantor; Rep. Tom Massie, elected with help from Ron Paul’s PAC, voted for Amash. Rep. Tim Huelskamp voted for former Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, and anti-war Rep. Walter Jones voted for former Comptroller General David Walker, though the name was so unfamiliar that the chair made him repeat it. Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Raul Labrador didn’t bother voting. For a few frantic moments it looked like defections would force a second ballot—something that has not happened for 90 years—but a few stragglers (Michele Bachmann included) showed up late to end the damn thing…

When you’re depending on Michele Bachman as the Vote of Sanity, well… Weigel added, this afternoon, “Just How Incredibly Incompetent Was the Anti-Boehner Coup Attempt?“:

[NR’s] Robert Costa has (as one would expect) the best, ugliest look at the motley group of Republicans who kinda-sorta tried to overthrow John Boehner. The revelation: The conservatives were about as adept at planning a coup as Richard Reid was at setting off shoe bombs. I use the analogy advisedly, because despite his failure, Reid ended up changing our footwear’s relationship with the TSA…

Politico‘s story from last night, based on Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s live whip count, revealed that the rebels hadn’t counted votes. “I only heard about it from a reporter,” Rep. Phil Gingrey told Costa. “I’m one of the most conservative guys here, and I find out about this thing 15 minutes before the vote?” said Rep. Trent Franks. Both members are outsiders who can be counted on to oppose the party’s compromises. Neither of them was courted. And as Josh Green points out, neither they nor the coup-planners had an alternative candidate, and they plotted all of this in short notice and in public.

In 1997, the House GOP nearly overthrew Newt Gingrich over an issue similar to the one now roiling Republicans—too much compromise with a Democratic president. Their candidate to replace Gingrich was Dick Armey. But they didn’t realize that Armey would get cold feet and that his chief of staff would tip off Gingrich to the plan. It was a world-class bumble, but compare that to the 2013 coup plan—embarrass Boehner on the first ballot so that he’d be so ashamed he’d resign.

The 2013 Klown Kar Kavalcade — less competent at political maneuvering than Newton Leroy Gingrich! Truly, the cynics among us shall not lack for entertainment. On the other side of the ledger, since both ethics and law forbid that we lock these bold revolutionaries in Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location bunker and leave them there, these people will have a voice in everything Congress needs to get done this year, and next year, and probably for many years to come…

49 replies
  1. 1
    Raven says:

    Hegel comin down the track.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    So their goal wasnt to unseat him, but to merely embarrass him? Good lord thats some fail. Maybe that was their 2012 prez election strategy, too…

  3. 3
    balconesfault says:

    They expected Boehner to be so embarrassed that he’d withdraw?

    Do these people really not pay attention to anything that’s happened in the last four years? The mere fact that Boehner wanted to keep the job showed that he’d put up with humiliation that would make a John Waters character rend their clothes.

  4. 4

    Ya know when I saw “Labrador” on the list of who got votes to be Speaker, I assumed it referred to someone’s dog.

  5. 5
    FridayNext says:


    Hegel comin down the track.

    But will be out consumed by Brit Hume and be just as sloshed as Hagel.

  6. 6
    gwangung says:

    Vote counting. Isn’t this elementary politics?

    I’d expect emoprogs and other amateurs not to do this…but Congressmen????


  7. 7
    redshirt says:

    Their incompetence – due to their very belief system – is our salvation. Praise FSM.

  8. 8
    piratedan says:

    c’mon now, these are the guys who represent the party of strict constitutionalists y’know. Maybe because they’re new in town and their people hadn’t called their people, if you take my meaning, to take a meeting and discuss strategy.

    Cripes, I’ve participated in better organized events in online games and these are the people “running” the country.

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    This is what happens, when “Coo-coo’s” plan a coup.

    If these guys planned a panty raid, they’d end up with their hands in each other’s boxer’s or brief’s.

    As someone said earlier, ‘Thank the FSM for the incompetence of our enemies, and the enemies of the country, because they’re even more stupid and evil, than they are loud (but, I repeat, repeat, myself)!

  10. 10
    Liberty60 says:

    @Southern Beale:
    A Labrador would possibly be more conversant on topical issues than a GOP Congressman. CERTAINLY more loyal and attuned to human values of compassion and decency.

    Whether said Labrador would be more or less likely to eat his own vomit is uncertain.

  11. 11
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Ha ha! Little did they realize, John Boehner has no shame!

  12. 12
    I_D_Inuse says:

    Well if your name is an indication of your location and kudos to the John Waters reference, ya do know that here in Texas politicals always have an abundance of all hat and no cattle…..God how I miss Molly Ivins

  13. 13
    danielx says:

    Could not organize an orgy in a brothel (not that any of these asshats would know about such things), nor yet a drinking party in a brewery. If they weren’t so destructive, watching them would be like watching a Three Stooges movie.

    Okay, with fewer laughs than a Three Stooges movie. But they make Inspector Clouseau look like Einstein. I could almost – almost – feel sorry for Boehner.

  14. 14
    Fluke bucket says:

    Broun/West 2016

  15. 15
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    @Southern Beale

    Reps. Mick Mulvaney and Raul Labrador didn’t bother voting.

    Maybe Labrador had stepped out and Mulvaney went to find him and bring him back. That would make Mulvaney a….yes, a Labrador retriever.

  16. 16
    Hal says:

    I didn’t see Boehner on tv yesterday, so important question: did he cry? If yes, were those tears of joy or disappointment?

  17. 17
    Bubblegum Tate says:


    But will be out consumed by Brit Hume and be just as sloshed as Hagel.

    Internets = won

  18. 18


    The mere fact that Boehner wanted to keep the job showed that he’d put up with humiliation that would make a John Waters character rend their clothes.


    But really, this SSFParade was about the absolute best today’s Republican Party could do. What’s Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor going to say, “I have a bunch of well-conceived policies that I think I can get enacted”? Constructing and enacting rational policies are anathema to that party, and no ambitious or self-respecting person would want to be responsible for herding that tribe of Yosemite Sams.

    Scattered, ineffectual protest votes was about the most they could possibly have managed.

    ADDED: @Hal: “If yes, were those tears of joy or disappointment?”

    From Frank Conniff: “Boehner never cries about others, only about his personal story. He’s the hero & the viewer of his own Lifetime TV movie.”

  19. 19
    danielx says:

    This post should should be labeled under Clown Shoes. Also. Too.

  20. 20
    Rosie Outlook says:

    Today is Nationl Spaghetti Day and National Trivia Day.

  21. 21
    dr. bloor says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Ya know when I saw “Labrador” on the list of who got votes to be Speaker, I assumed it referred to someone’s dog.

    Labs are too bright to be Republicans, and have too much dignity to lead a Republican House.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Ash Can says:

    No wonder Obama was upbeat when he talked to the press about “this” Congress (and made the Republicans cry and all their den mommies in the punditry bawl him out for it). I imagine Boehner’s feeling pretty good about things right now — his caucus is so incompetent that when they try to off him they end up holding the gun backwards and shooting themselves instead, and they’re too stupid to get anything accomplished, so he’ll never be called upon to do any actual work. He can just stay shitfaced for the next two years.

  24. 24
    piratedan says:

    maybe we should rename this Congress, the Session of Low Expectations…..

  25. 25
    lamh35 says:

    So I’m sure ya’ll already know it, but it’s still an interestind and kinda sad fact of US Politics even with all the advancement by my peeps of color. Barack Obama was the last African American Senator to be elected and NOT appointed to office by the governor. Overall there has been only 7 African American Senators in US History.

    How’s about a little time capsule video: 8 years ago this month, Senator Barack H Obama, the ONLY AA Senator ELECTED to office, not appointed and the last one since Senator Carol Moseley Broun. The star of the show is Obama, but the scene-stealer is of coures Sasha.

  26. 26


    Just, fucking wow.

    Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn voted no on Hurricane Sandy relief, but submitted a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Guess the new pro-life position is not helping victims of a serious hurricane and making sure poor women can’t access healthcare.

    Good to know.

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    the 2013 coup plan—embarrass Boehner on the first ballot so that he’d be so ashamed he’d resign.

    How is this a plan? Embarrass him by him not getting all the votes he needs and thus forcing a second vote? A second vote where, since Boehner was the highest vote-getter the first time around, all he needs to do is lean on people, threaten their committee assignments and so forth and he’ll win? And then he owns them? WTF? And they did it all in public?

    How is this even a plan? This is more like the dumb kids in high school who think if they throw spitballs at the teacher they’ll somehow get another, easier teacher. Works every time. Uh huh.

  28. 28
    gbear says:

    It seems only natural that the group of congressmen who don’t believe in government also wouldn’t believe in organization. I doubt that they even trust each other enough to share ideas.

    Somehow both Boehner and Pelosi have to find a way to get these guys onto an iceberg and send it off to drift.

  29. 29
    mellowjohn says:

    @Quaker in a Basement: maybe mulvaney needed to take labrador for a walk.

  30. 30
    Jamey says:

    @Southern Beale: Hmm, the dog story has some legs (four of them…) Did Cole register Lily as a Republican, or did he adopt her after this site turned left?

  31. 31
    lamh35 says:

    White House Plans To Overwhelm NRA With Rapid Victory

    The White House and gun control supporters are gearing up for a whirlwind month, with plans to pass reform legislation before outrage over the Sandy Hook massacre has a chance to fade.

    While the fiscal cliff has dominated Washington’s attention in recent weeks, lawmakers and activists are laying the groundwork for their big push. Vice President Joe Biden, tasked with heading a commission to investigate gun violence, has been quietly meeting with experts, interest groups, and public officials and is expected to release a set of recommendations within weeks. Boston mayor Thomas Menino, co-chair of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told the Boston Herald this week that an optimistic Biden had assured him that Obama would sign legislation “by the end of January.”

    “We had been led to believe their report would come by end of January, but we’re hearing they may want to have something out by January 15, even quicker than expected,” Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told TPM.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    @Southern Beale: That’s not new. Same as it ever was.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    @gbear: I kind of hope the teabaggers and other assorted GOP idiots keep gumming up the works so that more Americans become aware of how problematic and backward they are. The longer the GOP civil war goes on the better it’ll be for the country in the long run. The GOP has been and continues to be a huge problem. The sooner the self-destruct the better.

  34. 34
    Shalimar says:

    Rep. Paul Broun voted for Allen West—who lost his seat last year—to become speaker.

    He should have voted for a labrador like the others.

  35. 35
    Baud says:


    Nice. I’ll be shocked if it passes the House, but it’s worth the try.

  36. 36
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @FridayNext: I see what you did there empirically.

  37. 37
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @piratedan:Leeeeeeeeseeroy Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaantorrrrr!

  38. 38
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @Quaker in a Basement: That’s so bad, but damn I laughed.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Coupplotters? Aren’t they some neighbors of David Letterman?

  40. 40
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @Bobby Thomson:


    I’d steal that if there were more people who would get the joke :p

  41. 41
    redshirt says:

    Repuklicans are disgusting trolls writ large, belching forth noxious fumes into our body politic.

  42. 42
    cmorenc says:


    Overall there has been only 7 African American Senators in US History.

    Five in modern times I can think of:
    – Edward Brooke R-Mass 1966-1978 (back in the days when far more Republicans were sane than today)
    – Carol Mosley Braun D-Ill (1993-1999)
    – Barak Obama D-Ill 2005-2008
    – Roland Burris D-Ill 2009-2010
    – Tim Scott R-SC (2013-?) (exemplar of insane Republicanism)

    Two back in Post-Civil War Reconstruction:
    – Hiram Rhodes Revels R-Miss (1870-1871)
    = Blanche Kelso Bruce R-Miss (1875-1881)

    Fascinating that four out of the seven have technically been Republicans, albeit two out of the four were from a long-ago radically different era, and one was from a not quite so long-ago, but nevertheless radically different era.

  43. 43
    J.D. Rhoades says:


    Could not organize an orgy in a brothel (not that any of these asshats would know about such things),


  44. 44
    gf120581 says:

    @cmorenc: Very true. Revels and Bruce were, of course, Radical Republicans (i.e., the liberals of their day) and Brooke was and still is a liberal Rockerfeller Republican. Scott is the only one who actually qualifies for the GOP of today.

    You’ll also note that only Brooke, Mosley Braun and Obama have been elected by popular vote. Revels and Bruce were elected by state legislature votes and Burris and Scott were both appointed.

  45. 45
    mainmati says:

    @Raven: With Marx and Engels in hot pursuit?

  46. 46
    Thursday says:

    To borrow a phrase from across the pond:


  47. 47
    piratedan says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: paging David Vitter, Senator Vitter, please pick up your party at the Howard Johnson’s Bar and Lounge…..

  48. 48
    BruinKid says:

    Costa has another piece up now about the young activist Ron Meyer, who started #FireBoehner on Twitter, and suddenly got caught up in all of it, showing just how inexperienced and over his head he got.

  49. 49
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    Why couldn’t they be incompetent by a few more votes and made Pelosi speaker?

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