Politics

The Plot To Topple Speaker Boehner

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

My column in the Daily Beast yesterday suggests that John Boehner’s speakership is in jeopardy, and that there are five possible outcomes should a coup be attempted:

1. Democrats join with moderate Republicans to elevate a moderate Republican.

2. Boehner survives by getting Democrats to support him.

3. A conservative like Jeb Hensarling wins.

4. Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, is elevated.

5. Speaker Donald Trump (this is mostly a joke).

(This is an abbreviated and simplistic retelling, so read the whole thing if you want to understand my reasoning.)

As often happens, after I wrote my column, I got a tip from a reader. It suggested that number 4 might include a caveat: It’s possible that conservatives could approach McCarthy about forming a sort of coalition leadership deal. In essence, they would help elevate him to the speakership — in return for including a hard-core conservative in leadership, presumably as majority leader.

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson suggests that this is a plausible scenario:

The problem, I think, is that McCarthy would risk becoming a puppet of the base. Once conservatives get their man in the line of succession, why wouldn’t they then begin plans to topple McCarthy?