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Washington's problem is not the fiscal cliff, it's the legislative knot.  Speaker Boehner cannot -- simply cannot get his House members in line and that's unlikely to change over the next two years.  Dems can just decide to put up with it and hope that the public is attentive enough to blame the Republicans in the years and elections to come -- but there might be another option.

To see if anyone had thought of this idea and written about it here or elsewhere, I had only to do an easy and obvious search.  Set Google to "one week" and search on the following terms: "Willie Brown," "Howard Berman," "Leo McCarthy," and "Speaker."  If anyone had had this idea, those words should have shown up.

The idea is simple: don't nominate Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker.  Nominate a Republican with whom one has made a deal.  It doesn't have to be a harsh deal -- in fact, it's better if it isn't.  (We don't want to own the failures of the 113th Session of the House of Representatives, after all.)  Indeed, our deal can be limited to this: on matters of economic security where the public desires a moderate and bipartisan course, all 202 Democrats will join with the Speaker and 15 other Republicans to pass stripped-down legislation that does what needs to be done and no more.  We'll agree to disagree on everything else.  But on matters like the debt ceiling, like retention of the tax cut on the first $250,000 of income, on preserving Social Security, extending unemployment benefits, and so on -- we'll provide 202 Democratic votes if the Republican candidate for Speaker can provide 15 Republican votes plus his or her own.

It's good policy.  And, especially if it's turned down, it's great politics.  (That's why we don't want to ask for too much -- but just enough to get the things done that pretty much every sane person agrees upon.)

The Willie Brown Style of Becoming Speaker

The minority party peeling off enough support from the majority to determine the leader of a legislative house has worked before.  (It just happened, infamously, in the New York State Senate.)  But my favorite examples of how it happened were in 1980 and 1995 in California, the first being when a tremendous fight broke out over who would be Speaker of the California Assembly, analogous to the U.S. House.

Leo T. McCarthy had been Assembly Speaker for over six years, since June 1974, the month that Jerry Brown became the Democratic nominee for Governor.  With the help of then-Assemblyman Howard Berman, Majority Leader McCarthy had put down a revolt by Willie Brown, who had run against then-incumbent Bob Moretti for Speaker in 1972, to capture the Speakership in 1974.  McCarthy appointed Berman as the new Majority Leader.  In 1980, spurred by Jerry Brown, Berman challenged McCarthy for the Speakership.  The Democratic Party became deeply divided.  Willie Brown looked at the situation and realized that if he could garner the support of the Republicans, he could slip into the Speaker's Office; by that time, no love was remaining between the McCarthy and Berman forces.  So that's what he did -- becoming Speaker outright for 14-1/2 years and de facto Speaker for another six months, through the end of 1995.

That last year took another deal with Republicans to complete.  Democrats narrowly lost the State Assembly for the first time in 24 years in 1994, year of the "Gingrich Revolution."  Brown sought out two disaffected and ill-treated Republicans, Doris Allen and Brian Setencich, and struck a deal: if they'd vote for him, he'd continue to serve as Speaker for the first half of the year, then Allen and Setencich would each serve as speaker for three months in turn.  (Brown still remained the power behind the office.)  Republicans didn't actually get their actual Speaker until 1996 -- when Brown left the Assembly to become Mayor of San Francisco -- and that lasted for only a year.

What you see above is a story of personal ambition and deft political operation -- and I mean neither of those unkindly.  (Willie Brown was, by most Democratic accounts, a masterful Assembly Speaker in most respects.)  But there's another reason to reach across the aisle to help determine the Speaker, one that doesn't involve ambition but only civic-mindedness: because the majority party is completely screwed up and such cooperation is the only way to get the public's business done.

That's pretty much where we are now.

Can we achieve a more functional House?

A Democrat will not be the next Speaker of the House.  Get that thought out of your mind.  If it's not Boehner, it might be Cantor or Paul Ryan or some other currently-plotting insurgent.  (One likely reason that Boehner's Plan B failed was to make such a change possible.)  Neither would be any more willing to cooperate with Democrats on even those things that are desperately needed to do the business of governing.  They can't do so while retaining the respect and control of their caucus.

With a Senate and President ready and willing to govern, but a House unable to cooperate, that means that the only way that anything decent will happen is with Democratic votes.  Democrats would retain their minority status -- fail to accept that, in these hyper-partisan times, and no deal will be forthcoming.  But we can make a deal to fight on friendlier terms -- and ones that rule out some of the obstructionism.

That's worth doing.  It would require 16 of the 233 Republicans to side with 201 unanimous Democrats to achieve a tie vote.  (Jesse Jackson Jr.'s absence as the 202nd Democrat may be keenly felt later this week.)  But could it really be accomplished?  Well, I've done some research that I'd like to share with you.

First, a word: there are no names in the section that follows that I would be happy to see as Speaker.  There are no names with a chance in hell of being elected, even with 201 Democratic votes joining 17 Republicans, who I would not be downright unhappy to see as Speaker.  There are names that don't belong in any rational list of potential Speakers at all, but they appear (usually as potential votes) simply because they pass one of the criteria for potentially being influenced towards a "good government" sort of solution.  (Michele Bachman's name appears below as a possible vote because she passes the criteria of being in a close district where moderation might serve her.  I do not think for a moment that she'd actually vote the right way here.)  But let's start with a broad brush analysis of what might be achievable.

One warning: some of what I suggest would probably be smart politics for the Republicans.  To get a functioning government for the next two years, that may just be a risk that we have to take.

Choosing a New (and more reasonable) (but still mostly terrible) Republican Speaker of the House

Where should we look for potential Republican Speaker candidates with whom we might do business -- and, more importantly, get the people's business up for votes?  Furthermore, where should we look for those other potential 15-16 votes for our preferred candidate?  I've come up with six categories -- containing a combined 59 names -- that pass some objective criteria that makes them worth talking about as either Speaker or "gettable vote."

Those categories are:

(1) The least extreme Republicans re-elected to the House (operationally defined as meaning that on the National Journals measure of conservatism among Members of Congress, they rank no less than 200th most conservative.)

(2) Other Republicans who rank relatively low (50 or below) on the economic subscale of this measure, and who also come from districts where their margin of victory was no greater than 9.5 points.

(3) A small miscellaneous category of others whom may best be categorized with the above groups.

Some of the members of these first three groups will be possibilities to consider for Speaker.  These next three groups are simply places where we might look for votes.

(4) Newly elected Congressmembers whose margins didn't exceed 9.5%.

(5) People whose economic subscale on the ideology score are no greater than 50.

(6) Re-elected Congressmembers who don't have good ideology but who are in competitive districts (margins not exceeding 9.5%.)

Least Extreme Republican Members of the 112th Congress

For each name in this first category, which presents in order the 27 least extreme Republicans in the just-ending Congress (by National Journal score -- and if you prefer another type of ideological score I encourage you to do your own analysis) you'll see the name and district number, the year where they were first elected to the House, then their percentage of the vote (or, if it is below 54.5%, their margin, indicated with a "+".)  In cases where I thought it notable, I also included their "Econ subscore" in brackets.

Walter Jones NC-3 (1994) 63%
Chris Smith NJ-4 (1980) 69%
Richard Hanna NY-22 (2010) 61%
Mike Fitzpatrick PA-8 (2010) 57%
Chris Gibson NY-19 (2010) +7%
Jeff Fortenberry NE-1 (2004) 68%
Pat Meehan PA-7 (2010) 60%
Michael Grimm NY-11 (2010) 53%
Frank LoBiondo NJ-2 (1994) 58%
Dave Reichert WA-8 (2004) 60%
Jaime Herrera Beutler WA-3 (2010) 60%
David McKinley WV-1 (2010) 63%
Frank Wolf VA-10 (1980) 59%
Peter King NY-2 (1992) 59%
John Campbell CA-45 (2005) 59%
Joe Heck NV-3 (2010) +7%
Mario Diaz-Balart FL-25 (2002) 76%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen FL-27 (1989) 60%
Jim Duncan TN-2 (1988) 75%
Charlie Dent PA-15 (2004) 57%
Tom Petri WI-6 (1979) 62% [60 Econ]
Fred Upton MI-6 (1986) 54%
Rodney Frelinghuysen NJ-11 (1994) 59%
Dana Rohrabacher CA-48 (2005) 62% [60 Econ]
Mike Turner OH-10 (2002) 60%
Shelley Moore Capito WV-2 (2000) 70% [60 Econ]
Glenn Thompson PA-5 (2008) 63% [tied for 200th most conservative]
For these next two categories, I also include their specific rank by ideology and their Econ subscore.

Non-Extreme Economic Score + Under 10% Margin

Justin Amash MI-3 +9% (2010) [#237, 48 Econ]
Jon Runyan NJ-3 (2010) 9% [#181, 53 Econ]
Tom Reed NY-23 (2010) +4% [#179, 57 Econ]
Vern Buchanan FL-16 (2006) +7% [#165, 50 Econ] =
Tom Latham IA-3 (1994) +9% [#164, 55 Econ]

Odd Possibilities

Bill Young FL-13 (1970) 58% [#193, 47 Econ]
Gary Miller CA-31 (1998) 55.2% [#29, 90 Econ - Dem District]

(Note: I include Young because he's almost in the "least extreme" group and he's old and might be a compromise candidate.  I include Miller because he's moved to a Democratic district that he only one because four Democrats split the "top-two primary" vote so badly that two Republicans made it into the general election.  He's a clear underdog for next time if he stays as conservative as he was in a much more conservative district -- my old one, in fact.)

Those 34 names are the only ones that pass the initial criteria I'd use to determine who might be a Republican Speaker candidate.  (Note that this initial criteria doesn't weed out all of the completely unreasonable possibilities, such as Rohrabacher and Amash.)  Any decision would be made by people (in both parties) who actually know these people and their popularity and leadership skill.  I don't; I'm just using the numbers.  The numbers said to include Dana Rohrabacher, so I obeyed.

Now I'm going to introduce another criterion.  I don't think that anyone elected in 2010 or 2012 should be considered a possibility.  (Sorry -- I just don't.)  So that considerably cuts down the list of possible candidates for Speaker.

Jones, Smith, Fortenberry, LoBiondo, Reichert, Wolf, King, Campbell, Diaz-Balart, Ros-Lehtinen, Duncan, Dent, Petri, Upton, Frelinghuysen, Rohrabacher, Turner, Moore Capito, Thompson, Buchanan, Latham, Young, Miller.  That's 23 names.

We can start sorting the list in a number of ways.  (Again, I don't know which of these are complete sub-Boehner, sub-Cantor, sub-Ryan idiots; I hope that you'll tell me.)  My initial take is that Jones and Smith are both too moderate to attract even 16 Republican votes.  Rohrabacher is a blithering wacko rather than a "leader of men," as his lack of a Committee Chair suggests.  So that's down to 20.  I'm inclined to say that Upton and King are non-starters, but that may be because I know more about them than most others; we seriously could be looking at a Speaker as hideous as Peter King if he could deliver the votes we need to get basic sanity restored.  (Yes, we'd have to restrain him when it came to Muslims.  Yes, he'd be awful and embarrassing.  So is Boehner; so would be Cantor or Ryan.)  But I don't think we have to look at King.

I'm tempted to toss Vern Buchanan off of the heap as well, but he has both money and overweening ambition that could make him a likely target.  (Yes, horrible, etc.  It goes without saying.)  I'm tempted to cross off John Campbell because he's a lazy idiot -- but for all I know most of the rest are too.  I'd like your thoughts on them and the others.

What strikes me, though, is that there are at least two names of the list that might be masterstrokes -- people who are positioned so that they could survive a cries of apostasy and who might well want the benefits of showing that their willing to cooperate even with those awful Democrats if it means doing the right thing for the country.

Those names are Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Shelley Moore Capito.  Yep -- both women.

Ros-Lehtinen is not going to get taken out in a primary and she's not going to lose a general election.  If she's the least bit competent and bearable, having her as Speaker would be a masterstroke for Republicans -- imagine, having their party headed by a Latina! -- and as a Democrat I'd almost be afraid to propose it were it not for one thing: the wackos in her party will destroy her in short order.  Still, what we'd like is someone who can claim to be speaking for moderates, reaching across the aisle to do what's best for the country, and who'd also be satisfied by being a pretty damn significant first, both as a Latino and as a female Republican.

I can imagine her being interested if Democrats tried to broker a deal with her -- and if Democrats nominated her I can imagine 16 Republicans choosing her as a better alternative to Boehner than, say, Cantor.  And if she lost -- well, that works to the advantage of Democrats too.  If she won, though, perhaps in many areas she'd be able and willing to push through widely approved proposals with lots of Democratic votes and a few Republican ones.  We wouldn't get much of anything progressive out of her willingly, but as I recall she does know how to cut deals.

Moore Capito is a no-less interesting prospect.  Right now, she seems likely to run for and win a Senate seat -- but Speaker of the House may be tempting enough, if it's within her grasp, to dissuade her.  So that's good politics in one sense -- more likely to keep the Senate; but bad politics in that we could be "creating a monster" who will run for President one day.  (Then again, maybe being Speaker brings with it too much dirt.)  She's conservative enough that she might be able to swing more votes from more deeply within Republican ranks; as a popular Governor's daughter, also, she's more of a practiced politician than a dyed-in-the-wool ideologue.  And if the Republicans do want her to run for Senate, they can't really excoriate her as much as they'd like.

I also do think that Young and Miller -- especially given that being Speaker might be the only way Miller could manage to stay in office in a Democratic district just waiting to toss him out -- are better possibilities than others I know on the list, at least unless Dave Reichert is a lot more popular with Congressional Republicans than I think he is.

So let's move on from Speaker candidates -- where do we get the 16 or so other votes?

The first group to mine is new Members who won by less than 9.5% (which rounds up to 10%.)  These include:

New + Under 10% Margin

Rodney Davis IL-13 +.4% (ex-Tim Johnson)
Jackie Walorski IN-2 +1.4% (ex-Joe Donnelly)
Andy Barr KY-6 +4% (ex-Ben Chandler)
Kerry Bentivolio MI-11 +6 (ex-Thad McCotter)
Chris Collins NY-27 +1% (ex-Kathy Hochul)
Richard Hudson  NC-8 8% (ex-Larry Kissell)
Robert Pittenger NC-9 6% (ex-Sue Myrick)
Keith Rothfus PA-12 +3% (ex-Mark Critz)
Randy Weber TX-14 +9% (ex-Ron Paul)
These people -- the crazy Bentivolio excepted -- may decide that they need to be seen as pressing for moderation if they want to keep their districts.  Would a vote for one of the women I mention hurt them that badly in the nation's time of need?  Maybe with the leadership, but not likely with their constituents.  Of course, I know less about this group than any other.

Under 50 Econ

Leonard Lance NJ-7 (2008) 57% [#191, 47 Econ]
Scott Rigel VA-2 (2010) +8% [#183, 47 Econ]
These two names both almost fit into the above groups, but they wouldn't be acting so much political need than because they'd favor not wrecking the economy.  They're both too new to be Speaker candidates, but on paper they could be potential votes.

Under 10% Margin

Jeff Denham CA-15 +8% [#71, 79 Econ]
Mike Coffman CO-6 +4% [#53, 73 Econ]
Steve Southerland FL-2 +5% [#40, 66 Econ]
Dan Webster FL-10 +4% [#59, 90 Econ]
Steve King IA-4 +9% [#74, 53 Econ]
Dan Benishek MI-1 +1% [#106, 82 Econ]
John Kline MN-2 +8% [#60, 90 Econ]
Michele Bachmann MN-6 +1% [#101, 50 Econ]
Lee Terry NE-2 +4% [#99, 83 Econ]
Bill Johnson OH-6 +7% [#45, 83 Econ]
Jim Renacci OH-16 +4% [#87, 83 Econ]
Less likely votes -- as you can tell from the presence of Michele Bachmann and Steve King on the list -- but still largely possible ones are those incumbents who won re-election by no more than 9.5%.  Benishek in Michigan should be concerned -- just as Bachmann should be but won't be -- and might someone like Webster help to elect a fellow Floridian as Speaker?

Conclusion

Is this possible?  I don't know -- but it's worth trying.  Nominating Nancy Pelosi as Speaker -- or any Democrat as speaker, even if it's Jim Matheson -- is a pretty sure loser.  (And I'd rather have Moore Capito than Matheson anyway, just because I want Republicans to own the failures if they can't produce the votes.)  Chances are that the Republicans turn us down.  In that case, what we've shown is that we're so committed to getting the nation's house in order that we were even willing to nominate a member of the opposing party as our candidate for Speaker, just because we care that much about making government work.  Is that such a bad conciliatory face to show to the public in a time when the talk is of fiscal cliffs and such?  I say: give it a try!  It's OK if we lose such a vote nobly -- and we'll somehow muddle through if we manage to win.

Poll

Who should Democrats nominate for Speaker of the House?

32%12 votes
2%1 votes
10%4 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
21%8 votes
16%6 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
8%3 votes
0%0 votes
5%2 votes

| 37 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  If there's any merit to this idea, of course (15+ / 0-)

    we'll have to hurry -- because that vote is right around the corner.  Hey, what if we nominated someone without telling them we're going to do it?  Nah, better to play it straight.

    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
    -- Saul Alinsky

    by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:16:31 AM PST

    •  But nominating (Moore-C?) w/o advance consultation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, Seneca Doane

      Nominating without consulting the nominee in advance would have the advantage of enabling the nominee to credibly deny having made any promises to obtain the nomination.

      Since any such promises would anyway be subordinated to continuing political calculations by the new speaker, perhaps obtaining such promises is less important than selecting somebody who visibly has incentives to promote sane compromises on bills needed to avoid economic suicide.

      Moore Capito might fit the bill, and be temptable, if my impression is correct that swing voters in West Virginia statewide seem to be socially rightwing Democratic voters, who are not as rightwing on many economic issues.

      •  WV also probably has fewer incomes at 250K-400K (3+ / 0-)

        than most states, and consequently would have fewer constituents who would be moved into the highest bracket by a threshold within this range.

        •  You make a strong case for SMC (0+ / 0-)

          I think that there's a strong case for IRL too, but I'm sorta tired.  Stayed up late writing this.  Some ideas rattling in one's brain just will not shut up.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:03:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're right that a surprise offer to "help out" (0+ / 0-)

        the GOP with their internal problems in this way might work better in the sense you suggest.  It would look like a pretty damn huge concession and is not without risk.  But it would be really nice to have something like: "if 80% of the Democratic caucus wants a vote on this sort of critical economic legislation, get us the vote."

        Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
        -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:02:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  One other possibility: just let it leak that we (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zack from the SFV, HeyMikey

        are considering this, simply as a way to cut through the not, and see if anyone steps forward and hints that they'd like to be considered as the choice for Speaker!

        You know, we could make phone calls tomorrow to each Republican currently in office asking whether they'd take it if offered....

        Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
        -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:20:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  brilliant! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, Seneca Doane

      The exact same thought and the Willie Brown example crossed my mind too.

      Tough challenge to get even the few requisite R's behind it but worth a try.  Have you thought of sending a memo to Nancy Pelosi's office?  She would have to be the one to get behind this.

      •  This IS my memo to Nancy Pelosi's office! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice

        It's like the Bat Signal!  <Desperately looks for ASCII Bat signal, fails.>

        No, actually, even if I had the insider access, I don't think I'd use it on this.  If people had put it on the Rec List, Facebooked and tweeted it, great, but I will respect vox populi.  This close to the moment it would be hard to do anyway.  But if anyone else wants to send it to the Speaker's Office, you have the link!

        Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
        -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:59:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I might have missed it, but do you have someone (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jank2112, Garrett

    in mind?

    I really don't think, relative to the Republicans he presides over, Boehner himself is particularly extreme or anti-civic. Finding another Republican in the House who is more moderate, more civic, also has seniority and would be sufficiently charismatic and strategic enough to succeed where the Speaker has failed repeatedly...?

    I'm skeptical, and the Democrats would also be giving major re-electables cred for any such Republican.

    •  Or, alternatively, it would be the kiss of death (4+ / 0-)

      for their career.  It's pretty hard to tell.

      I'm skeptical too -- I'm just not happy sitting here not trying to solve the problem of dysfunctional government (for which we'll be blamed even though innocent) without trying to do something about it.  Nominating someone -- Walter Jones, Moore Capito, Ros-Lehtinen -- would be a truly grand gesture of conciliation.  They'd probably turn it down.  But if 16 Republicans voted with us, would we be worse off?

      Remember, this sort of gambit worked more than once for Willie Brown!

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:27:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well they've already screwed Walter Jones (5+ / 0-)

        and the redistricting is over. His district includes Camp Lejeune. He could probably survive a right wing primary if it was attempted, but it would almost surely happen.

        The billionaires funding the AFP, etc, don't want a functioning congress.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 06:13:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re they "don't want a functioning Congress": (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zack from the SFV

          I know that.  You know that.  We have to make sure that the public knows that!  Again, I'm thinking of it being a high-profile grand gesture at a real solution -- something to which we could refer back in making this case to the public.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:05:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We've tried multiple gestures of grand (0+ / 0-)

        conciliation--or at least Obama has--and you see how those have turned out.

        Again, I wish I didn't have to be a Debbie Downer about this. It's smart, it "thinks outside the box" (god how I hate that phrase but that's what's coming to me on one cup of coffee). But it's going to be one more Lucy-and-the-football moment.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 12:01:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the default is to nominate Pelosi (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD

          but then she loses by 32 votes to the Republican nominee and we probably go back to gridlock.  This shakes up the box.  It may not do any good -- but both trying and being seen to have been trying may do some good.

          And yes, we may be betrayed by our choice on down the line.  So far as public perception goes, that is good for us too, because it demonstrates the scope of the risk we took.  The House leadership situation just can't get much worse than it is.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:28:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Boehner has failed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, wilderness voice, Seneca Doane

      because he keeps following the Hastert rule. The premise of this idea is that the new Speaker would bring to the floor some bills that don't have much R support.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 06:11:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "failed"? or succeeded? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane, Zack from the SFV

        He's only "failed" if you assume that he was trying to get bills passed. Otherwise he has thoroughly succeeded, with some help from McConnell -- he has made the government disfunctional, without the melodrama of the Gingrich shut-down. I assume that whoever is giving him marching orders is entirely satisfied.

  •  Wish YOU were on the inside (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, Seneca Doane

    To try this!

    Good idea. Thanks.

    The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

    by Tuba Les on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:33:28 AM PST

  •  Worth discussing. If it fails Dems stil win points (4+ / 0-)

    And this knot in Congress is a real danger to Democracy if it continues much longer. Cynicism hurts voting and voting is our power.

  •  I don't think it's possible or worth trying... (3+ / 0-)

    ...because most elected Republicans have lost their minds and no 'less extreme' Republican could be speaker in this political climate.

    •  Sixteen Republican votes is all (0+ / 0-)

      It's not completely unimaginable when there is booty for the victors.  Read up on how Willie Brown quoted poor ignored Doris Allen.  Some Republicans (besides Jones) must feel slighted; others must want off this unmerry-go-round.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:07:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please tell me more about these enlightened... (0+ / 0-)

        ...Republicans that you seem to think actually exist. And no, I won't 'read up' on poor Willie Brown. Thanks.

        •  I names all of the possible candidates and votes (0+ / 0-)

          above.  What more do you want?  If 16 of them agree to shake things up so that we have a chance at a better process, great.  If not, then we tried something big to counter gridlock and they're the ones who blocked it.

          As for not reading up on Willie Brown -- your loss.  He's California's LBJ.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:31:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  OK, look. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        Are they going to be willing to stiffen their spines and stand up to the disapproval of the rest of the Republicans and associated conservative infrastructure? We are talking about a lot of political/financial firepower here, and media firepower as well. If you think the RW noise machine did a job on John Kerry, just wait to see what happens if a principled, moderate Republican tries to take the Speakership by cutting a deal with Democrats. Whoever did that would be going up against forces that are terrifying in their power and scope, and politicians, for the most part, ain't that brave.

        And even if they were brave initially, how long could they stand up under the pressure? Not just the pressure leading up to becoming Speaker, but after that?  This is a very low-percentage play, one of those that looks great on the highlight real if Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers pulls it off, but which only happens once or twice every 100 tries.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 12:06:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great questions (and thanks for them) (0+ / 0-)

          Right now, getting past the so-called "fiscal cliff" with all of the blame falling on Republicans is worth electing a Speaker.  Hell, the Republicans and hurting badly enough out of it that they may welcome someone busting the logjam even if they later denounce them.  In any event, I think that Moore Capito is pretty much bulletproof; IRos-L too.  Neither are moderates, by the way -- just ambitious and maybe not insane.

          If they break under pressure and renege, won't that be a great story -- and one big enough for most people to understand?  I almost look forward to that!  Republicans in disarray and Republicans own the gridlock disaster, tied up with a bow.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:39:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  In the absence of a real candidate, (7+ / 0-)

    there's nothing to make of it. However, if somebody non credible gets in, like a real nutcase like Louie Gohmert, then Democrats should swing their votes behind him in order to make Boehner fail the first ballot and suffer even more embarassment. It would also elevate Gohmert as a Republican face and that would do our side nothing but good.

    Of course they'll all eventualy rally around Boehner on the second ballot but we'd seriously damage his gravitas inside the beltway. Such as it is.

    •  Yeah -- that was the argument that I decided to (2+ / 0-)

      leave out of this: "nominate Bachmann."  I think that it's too clever by half.  Unlike getting a moron like Todd Akin nominated in a Senate race, this is a moment where the public either wants us to act responsibly or will later be convinced that it wanted us to act responsibly at the time.  I'd play it straight.  If we wanted to nominate someone for pure symbolic value, it should be Bill Young.

      Isn't it just a straight majority vote (even on the first ballot)?  If not, then you have a good point.  If so, then if Boehner has the majority of votes, then he has the votes.  Voting for Gohmert or Pelosi counts the same so long as it's in the minority.

      One other strategy, that would be just for show, is to have each of the 201 Dems nominate a different Republican -- to drive home the these of individual responsibility.  But I haven't thought that one through (obviously.)

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:13:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that is more sensible (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seneca Doane

      not as idealistic or exciting a play, but it's a lot higher percentage

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 12:06:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you make a strong argument (4+ / 0-)

    I tend to agree that it would be a useful approach for Democrats to try, even though I doubt enough Republicans would go along.  I also don't think all Democrats would agree to vote as a bloc on something this creative, so it would take more than 16 or so R's.

    But it sure seems like a way to make the vote useful. I love Nancy Pelosi, but what's the point of voting for her if it's absolutely certain she won't win?  Since you're not going to vote for the likely winner, you're just making a statement that you prefer someone other than the choice of the current majority party's leadership.

  •  I think an upstate NYer would be a good choice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    Richard Hanna or Chris Gibson.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 06:44:28 AM PST

    •  Both probably seen as too moderate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen

      which is amazing in and of itself.  If it's NY, I think it'd be King.  Hard to swallow!

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:42:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reichert's too dim (maybe that's good?) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane, Zack from the SFV

    Rohrbacher is crazy.  My 2 scents (pew!)

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 08:40:12 AM PST

    •  Reichert would be OK -- he's pretty weak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love

      If Rohrabacher gets elected I'm deleting this diary.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:42:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are other names (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    One doesn't need to be a member of Congress to be Speaker.   What about Jon Huntsman?   Mitch Daniels?

    •  That's theoretically possible (0+ / 0-)

      It's practically unlikely.  But as a nominee -- sure.  Steve LaTourette?

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:44:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If consider non-House member candidates (0+ / 0-)

      the alternatives are endless, and political calculations on all sides get even more complicated, for example:

      A Senator?
      McConnell, or,
      to get more  votes from Republican Representatives, the most rightwing Republican Senator who voted for a related Senate compromise bill.

      A former officeholder?
      Santorum might be hard for Republican Representatives to vote against; Gingrich might go for it, but he would also probably find ways to make the Democrats regret it.

      A non-officeholder?
      Rove might go for it, and be able to bully Republican Representatives to get on board, and Democrats might benefit from expanding the universe of voters who are aware of Rove's centrality to the modern Republican party;
      Petraeus could take it, and could gain initial political traction by emphasizing that his primary goal is to protect the military from the scheduled sequesters, but Democrats might later regret helping him back into public life as a Republican.

      Others?
      building on the above types of ideas, or other ideas?
      Pelosi herself is probably best equipped to identify and persuade these or other candidates.
      Kossacks are great at this, let's keep it going!

      •  I don't think that Santorum, Gingrich, or Rove (0+ / 0-)

        would work, because of that "face-melting scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark" that might ensue for any Democrat who actually voted for them!  ;7)

        Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
        -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:45:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane, Zack from the SFV

    I'd been thinking about this but I hadn't dared to say it aloud.  Maybe the Dems should try for this.  It's not completely unreasonable.  We did win 2 million more votes than the GOP did at the Congressional level.  Frankly, we need to do something about redistricting and we need to do someething about the fact that there are too few House seats.  We're not getting a representative body in the House and it's diminishing our democracy.  One reason I defend the electoral college (or at least argue for modification of it but not its abolishment) is that it tends to align with the decision of the people, albeit imperfectly.  But it aligns and usually produces a result that the popular vote delivered.  The House is no longer doing that.  That's a problem when the citizens vote one way and the results are another.  

    Check out my new blog: http://socalliberal.wordpress.com/

    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:39:22 AM PST

  •  Ros-Lehtinen = Latina Bachmann (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    As Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee she has behaved as one would expect of a right-wing anti-Castro ideologue, pushing a bill that would have forced Obama to revert to and strictly enforce the regulations on Cuba that were in effect during the Bush Administration -- effectively negating his power to have his people interpret the law, a radical (unprecedented?) decapitation of the Executive Branch. I don't know how she has voted on any other issue, but she's been a disaster on this one. David Rivera (now out) was her assistant in this endeavor.

    I understand the argument for strategically trying to find a moderate Republican who we could work with. She does not fit that description.

    •  She's crazy when it comes to Cuba (2+ / 0-)

      That's to our advantage.  Obama can hint that if she doesn't play along, he waives the embargo.  (Oops, did I say that out loud?)  Happily, it's the Senate that has the main responsibility for foreign policy.  And she's not totally wacko otherwise.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:17:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrybuck

    This only makes sense for Republicans who are more afraid of a general election loss than a primary defeat and who are not currently benefiting from being in the majority (e.g
    committee chairs are unlikely to take this vote).

    I'm not sure how many Republicans fit this bill.
       

    •  Hopefully 16 or more! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 10:37:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pelosi is, of course, my (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane, Zack from the SFV

    real-world choice, and I voted for her. But in your blue-sky imaginary scenario, Ros-Lehtinen's name leapt off the screen immediately. Why she's even "friends" of a sort with the DNC chair!

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:02:49 AM PST

  •  Seneca: under ordinary circumstances (3+ / 0-)

    I'd think this was really smart. But the fact is, like every deal I've ever seen a Democrat make with a Republican, the benefit to the Republican is on the front end, and then the Democrat waits for the Republican to keep his/her--usually his--end of the deal. And the Republican laughs in the Democrat's face.

    I don't think there's any Republican brave enough, independent enough, and moral enough to keep any deal they make with  a Democrat. If nothing else, fear of their partisan inquisitor's squad--people like Norquist, wealthy right-wing NGOs, big donors with ideologically extreme views like the Kochs--will make them screw over the Democrat as soon as they get the Speakership.  And that's if the gambit works.

    Sorry, but I think this idea, unfortunately, comes from an era of politics which is now, very unfortunately, over.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 11:49:58 AM PST

    •  But we're not giving up anything here! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SouthernLiberalinMD

      Pelosi loses anyway; the status quo is getting Boehner or Cantor or Ryan.  There's no downside other that not nominating Pelosi -- and she loves a good trick like this.

      Long term, the game is to expose them as craven roadblocks to securing the public's desires.  Pretty much anything that does that without blowback is fine.  And you can't have blowback if you're already in the worst shape possible!

      Thanks for taking it seriously despite your objections, though!

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 01:48:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even after 1st Speaker election by new House (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    Still useful to have the Seneca option ready to go,

    in case Boehner resigns and/or gets challenged by another Republican, or in case 17 Republican Representatives indicate their desire to receive furlough from the lunatic asylum.

    A very brief Google search suggests that the Speaker can be removed in mid-session, although the credibility of this position is not immediately clear, because most of the hits are related to rightwingers fulminating against Pelosi.

  •  More non-Rep names; Steve Forbes sane on cliff? (0+ / 0-)

    Jack Kemp (who passed away in 2009) would have been perfect, as a reminder of how much more extreme today’s Republicans are than the original Reagan tax cuts that Kemp authored.

    David Stockman, Reagan’s original budget director, and a former Congressman, could not get any Republican votes now because he has been too critical of Romney and Ryan.

    Bob Dole is probably too frail now, and amazingly was recently unable to catalyze Republican Senate votes for a no-brainer U.N. convention protecting people with disabilities.

    Steve Forbes might work. He has recently published recommendations that, for all of their anti-Democratic rhetorical flourishes, appear to have more in common with Obama’s “mini deal” positions (and even more in common with Paul Krugman’s short-term concerns) than with Boehner’s:

    Here’s what the GOP should do now:

    I. The House passes a bill extending for a year or at least six months all the cliff items – current income tax rates; the Alternative Minimum Tax patch; yes, even those Social Security payroll tax cuts. The whole kit and caboodle. The same with sequestration.

    The point to make is that the U.S. economy is headed for a recession. One ill omen is that business investment is faltering. Any tax boost will be particularly perverse. Destroying capital and hurting small businesses will only contract the economy even more. We shouldn’t follow the bad examples of Western Europe and Japan. These countries are all raising taxes and the results are frightening. Japan’s economy is declining. Southern Europe is in a severe recession. France and Germany are about to go into recession. Britain just reported disappointing economic news and experts believe its economy will go into negative territory.

    Another point to make – it is ridiculous to try to reform the tax code two weeks before Christmas. Ditto for entitlements.

    … IV. Pass a resolution that the House of Representatives will not accept any entitlement reform that reduces benefits for those who are on Medicare and Social Security or who are about to go into those programs.

    Longer list of Forbes' recommendations is posted here:
    http://www.forbes.com/...

    Does the speaker need to be a US citizen?  If not, then maybe Singapore’s Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew would work.  It would not be a surprise if,  after a few more Democratic election wins and upper bracket tax increases, many Republican Representatives eventually (after cashing in as lobbyists) apply to immigrate to Singapore (which is actively welcoming wealthy immigrants).

    •  Forbes' demand for zero tax increases unacceptable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seneca Doane

      ... in the long term.

      But deferring upper bracket tax increases until after another two years might be enough to get Forbes on board, because of his hope that this would better position the Republicans to win the next election.  

      In the mean time, from the Democrats' perspective, such a deal would need to include unemployment benefits and stimulus spending (notably on local government funding and infrastructure), which would go a long way towards preventing the Republicans from winning the next election.

  •  This (sorta) just happened in Wash. State. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    Dems have a majority in the WA state senate, but two Dems just agreed to work with the GOP. In return, those 2 Dems get to be Senate majority leader & president pro tem.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    I don't like to see Dem majorities frustrated, of course. But it shows that, tactically, Seneca Doane's idea might be doable.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:25:42 AM PST

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