I do not look forward to Peter King becoming Speaker of the House, but I do really look forward to John Boehner not being Speaker of the House and neither Eric Cantor nor Paul Ryan replacing him. We're not going to get much of anything out of a Boehner-led House, that's for sure. So, let's sow some discord and get a Republican Speaker who is dependent on Democratic votes. 201 Democrats + 16 Republicans gets us a tie in the House, 17 Republicans gets us a win. Frankly, King (presuming we get him to drop the anti-Muslim craziness) wouldn't do any worse of a job than Boehner, but if you construe this as simply messing with them, that's fine with me too. Let's take a day and mess with them.
I've laid out what I called the "Willie Brown strategy," along with the history of why I call it that, in this diary from three days ago, while most of you were off vacationing or something. The idea is: don't nominate Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, as highly deserving as she is, because we know that she'll just flat-out lose and we might be able to do something more productive than losing. Instead, nominate a Republican who will need Democratic votes to govern and who might thus take the very generous deal that we offer: Senate legislation gets to come to the floor, period. To me, that's worth picking some Cinderella and making them into a princess. And the effect on the GOP? Well, take what has happened to grumbling Dems in the NY and WA State Senates this year, where and when something like this happened in the other direction, and multiply by a trillion.
The important part of the diary, though, is a list of names: potential Republican speakers that the Democrats might push through as part of a deal to get our Senate legislation voted on and potential votes for such a Speaker. I'm now going to revise that list, highlighting those Republicans who voted for the execrable fiscal bluff compromise -- because those are the people who are now in the minority of their party, tied to the dead weight of John Boehner, and may be prepared to deal. We have less than a day -- let's make mischief (or even magic.)
(Again, for why we'd want to do this, see my previous diary, linked above.)
I broke down Republican Speaker possibilities (who are obviously also vote possibilities) into three categories: relative moderates (who are mostly still extremists), those in close districts, and a couple of wild cards. Let's see how they voted on the Senate fiscal bill.
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. I have put the names of the people who voted for the fiscal bluff bill in bold.
Walter Jones NC-3 (1994) 63%Non-Extreme Economic Score + Under 10% Margin
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]
Justin Amash MI-3 +9% (2010) [#237, 48 Econ]Odd Possibilities
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]
Bill Young FL-13 (1970) 58% [#193, 47 Econ]Those National Journal Scores have some pretty good predictive capacity, don't they? Combine them with living in one of the industrial corners of the nation -- Orange County CA excepted, sigh -- and they're pretty devastating. So those names you see in bold up there? (1) They're all rotten. (2) They are what passes for moderation in the House GOP Caucus. (3) The ones from 2010 are too new to become Speaker. (4) One of the others could nevertheless become Speaker with Democratic votes and thus drive the House Republican Party into a self-biting, fratricidal tailspin.
Gary Miller CA-31 (1998) 55.2% [#29, 90 Econ - Dem District]
The two names I'd thought were front-runners -- and no, I don't like either of them -- are Shelley Moore Capito of WV (perhaps keeping her out of the Senate race) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of FL. Capito -- like most reps from red states -- voted against the bill; that probably disqualifies her, but not absolutely. Ros-Len still look viable, though, and could presumably pick up Diaz-Balart's vote and maybe Vern Buchanan's and Bill Young's too, if the payoff is right.
Then it's just a matter of picking up 13 more votes -- and, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, the NY and NJ and maybe PA delegations are in play. That's another possible 11 votes right there.
With red state Republicans howling about how they want to take back the power from Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy, maybe it's time to take advantage of that split. If Boehner's gone, I'd expect Cantor and McCarthy to maintain their spots, as those are internal GOP caucus votes.) Choosing someone from NY -- and Peter King has been all over the place make his rage over the Hurricane Sandy vote well known -- might do the trick. (If we could get Smith, great, but I think he's considered too moderate. I don't know enough about LoBiondo or Frelinghuysen's popularity.
What about those who aren't so moderate, but could still likely vote for a "compromise" Speaker? What about the simply beleaguered? Let's take a look.
New + Under 10% Margin
Rodney Davis IL-13 +.4% (ex-Tim Johnson)None of these newbies voted, of course, but it's worth noting that a couple are from NY and PA.
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)
Under 50 Econ
Leonard Lance NJ-7 (2008) 57% [#191, 47 Econ]Lance is also from New Jersey -- and sort of moderate on economic issues. And ... Hurricane Sandy.
Scott Rigel VA-2 (2010) +8% [#183, 47 Econ]
Under 10% Margin
Jeff Denham CA-15 +8% [#71, 79 Econ]Some more votes for the betrayal of all that's Tea Party, and maybe for a different Speaker.
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]
I want to call attention once again to the man who will be my Congressperson for less than one more day: Gary Miller, in my "Odd Possibilities" chart. He's been among one of the most conservative House members -- but he's also come from a very conservative district. He's now moved into a majority Democratic district where he won by mostly a fluke. Unlike his OC GOP stablemates Campbell and Rohrabacher, but like his neighbors Ed Royce and Ken Calvert, he voted yes on the bill. When we're looking for votes, he's a name to watch.
Overall, some Republicans are extremely steamed right now over the denial of Hurricane Sandy relief. Let's take advantage of it! Opportunities like this don't come along often.
Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:36 PM PT: Boehner was re-elected today. Pelosi was nominated and came in second.