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Boehner gavel-smacks GOP defectors after being re-elected House Speaker

By Doug Powers  •  January 7, 2015 07:44 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

On Tuesday, a couple dozen House Republicans staged an unusually large but unsuccessful attempt to remove John Boehner as Speaker. In a committee assignment sense, some of those same GOPers are now being taken out on Lake Tahoe in a fishing boat while Boehner watches from his den window:

After he secured his third term as speaker Tuesday afternoon, losing 25 votes on the House floor to some relative-unknown members of the Republican Conference, Boehner moved swiftly to boot two of the insurgents from the influential Rules Committee. That could be just the start of payback for the speaker’s betrayers, who might see subcommittee chairmanships and other perks fall away in the coming months.

Boehner’s allies have thirsted for this kind of action from the speaker, who say he’s let people walk all over him for too long and is too nice to people who are eager to stab him in the back. The removal of Florida Reps. Daniel Webster and Rich Nugent from Rules was meant as a clear demonstration that what Boehner and other party leaders accepted during the last Congress is no longer acceptable, not with the House’s biggest GOP majority in decades.

Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine once said about the “Phone Company” that “we don’t care; we don’t have to.” The House Republican majority has grown so large that seems to be what Boehner and his allies are saying to some conservatives:

Boehner and his team are convinced that, despite 25 defections, they have a firmer grip on power than ever. They say their “working majority” — members whom Boehner can work with — is around 220 members.

“We don’t need these fringe guys as much as we did anymore,” said a GOP leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We can let them walk on certain bills, and it just won’t matter. That gives us breathing room.”

Status Quo We Can Believe In!™

This kind of sums up why there usually isn’t more opposition to even stagnant, ineffective or counterproductive party leadership:

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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