Depose John Boehner: Why some conservatives are calling for the speaker's head
The Ohio Republican is facing a backlash for "purging" four ultraconservatives from important committees
By Ryu Spaeth | 5:07pm EST
peaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pulled four ultraconservative House members from cushy committee assignments this week, a move that was widely perceived as a bid to exercise a degree of control over his raucous caucus. Boehner is in no mood for dissent as he tries to broker a budget deal with President Obama to avoid the fiscal cliff, and the four members ó Reps. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Walter Jones (N.C.), and David Schweikert (Ariz.) ó all opposed Boehner by voting against raising the debt ceiling last year. Now, Boehner has warned House Republicans that he is "watching" their votes, according to Huelskamp, suggesting that the speaker has more punishment in store for anyone who causes trouble.
Boehner's move delighted liberals, who saw it as the latest evidence that the House leadership is on the verge of surrendering to Obama's demands. "This white flag is as big as a bedsheet," says Dana Milbank at The Washington Post.
And it naturally infuriated some conservative groups, who proclaimed that Boehner was conducting Stalin-esque "purges" of members who didn't toe the party line. Influential conservative commentator Erick Erickson said conservatives "must seek retribution" against Boehner, and Tea Party group FreedomWorks has demanded that the four members be reinstated. Taking dissatisfaction with Boehner to its logical end, American Majority Action, a conservative nonprofit group, is now urging the House to depose Boehner when his speakership comes up for a vote at the start of the new Congress in January:
Everyone thinks itís a fairytale, but the Conservative Movement is capable of firing Boehner with just 16 votes.