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:
@mattklewis I’m hearing that he’s made known behind the scenes he’s ready to move on from Boehner and will cut that deal with conservatives.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 10, 2015
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?