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Are Boehner’s days as Speaker numbered?; Updated: Will Paul Ryan replace Boehner?

Possibly, via Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle:

The Republicans, both conservatives and more establishment members alike, are emboldened after the failure of Boehner’s fiscal cliff “Plan B” on Thursday evening. Dissatisfaction with Boehner is growing in the House Republican conference, but until now there hasn’t been a clear path forward.

Those members and staffers requested anonymity from Breitbart News at this time to prevent retaliation from Boehner similar to what happened to those four members who were purged from their powerful committee assignments a few weeks ago. Their expressed concern is that if Boehner knew who they were, his adverse reaction toward them would be much more brutal than losing committee assignments, such as a primary challenge in 2014 by a leadership-sponsored candidate.

The circulated plan is a comprehensive multi-step process.

According to the plan as drafted, the first step is to re-establish the election of the Speaker of the House by secret ballot, rather than by a public roll call vote. That’s because the members who would oppose Boehner, if there ended up not being enough votes to achieve their desired result or if Boehner scared via threat or coaxed via prize some of the opposition into voting for him, would be sitting ducks for retaliation in the near future.

As one hill staffer considering this path told Breitbart News, the members involved in an unsuccessful coup d’etat would be “toast.”

To establish a secret ballot election for Speaker of the House, one Republican member will need to step forward and introduce a resolution on the House floor on the morning of January 3, 2013, before any other business takes place. Those close to this plan are convinced that a member will step forward and introduce this resolution.

On January 3, the House of Representatives will convene for the first order of business for the 113th Congress. Normally, the first order of business is for the House to elect a Speaker.

But if a member introduces that resolution for a secret ballot, the whole House will vote on that first. That vote will need to have a public roll call, meaning the American people, the press, and Boehner will know who voted which way. Even so, those who are considering this path forward to unseat Boehner know that Boehner and other establishment Republicans can’t legitimately oppose the concept of a secret ballot election for a leader of a political body.

Why’s that? In a 2009 op-ed Boehner himself wrote for U.S. News and World Report, the then House Minority Leader bashed unions for their failure to employ secret ballot elections to protect those voting. Boehner’s op-ed was an attack on the Democrats’ Employee Free Choice Act, also known as “card check” – legislation that would have hurt the sacred concept of elections so badly that, in Boehner’s own words, “it would leave them [workers voting in union elections] open to coercion and intimidation.”

There’s a lot more to Boyle’s piece and you need to read the whole thing. It’s pretty clear to me that it’s time for a change.  But who will the change be? I know who my choice is. In any case, getting rid of Boehner won’t be easy.  Boehner has proven that he’s good at playing the Washington game of intrigue and survival, but his luck has to run out at some point. It might as well be sooner rather than later.

Update: (h/t Charles Bogue) Last night Laura Ingraham was guest host on The O’Reilly Factor. According to her source there’s a movement afoot to replace Boehner with Paul Ryan. I can’t see that happening, but that’s the latest rumor, apparently.

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