Will House Conservatives Make their Mark on History?
Just 30 House conservatives have it within their power to block the ascension of current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to the Speakership. The question is, will the rest of the members of the House GOP Conference acknowledge that reality and move to unite the Conference around a consensus candidate?
Let’s back up. To win the contest for the House GOP Conference nomination for Speaker, a candidate must first win at least 218 votes in the special House GOP Conference meeting to be held on October 8. No candidate who wins fewer than 218 votes can win the nomination; 218 is the minimum number of votes necessary to win the contest for Speaker on the House floor if every Member is present and casts a vote.
There are currently 247 Republicans in the House. So if House conservatives can hold 30 votes against McCarthy together through multiple ballots on October 8, they can prove to the rest of the members of the Conference that McCarthy cannot win the Speakership on the floor. The latest read on the temperature of House conservatives indicates that at least 30 firm pro-change votes are there. These 30 firm votes alone cannot name the next Speaker, but they can name who the next Speaker will not be.
What follows is a plan to block the McCarthy ascension, and replace John Boehner as Speaker with a Member who can better unify the Conference, break the grip of the status quo, and present and fight for a legislative agenda that serves the nation’s interests even as it draws bright-line contrasts with those who seek the “fundamental transformation” of our nation.
Conservative Members of Congress:
- Take a deep breath. Your goal between now and next Thursday is to stand firm and to stand together. Every hour you do this, you have succeeded. You know the establishment will try to peel you off, make crony deals, threaten with primaries or promise campaign contributions. Instead of giving in to the moment, remember you are on the cusp of changing history. That will only happen if you stick together. If it feels lonely, reach out to one another and hold firm. You may have a couple of days where you just look at each passing hour and know you have succeeded if you have made it to the next hour holding firm together
- Insist the contest for the GOP nomination for Speaker take place FIRST in the special House GOP Conference that will occur next Thursday, October 8. This is the only logical way to do things – none of the other lower leadership positions will even HAVE vacancies unless McCarthy wins the nod for Speaker and vacates the Majority Leader position. So get the Speaker contest out of the way first.
- Insist that vote counters and/or election monitors include members of the House Freedom Caucus and other conservative caucuses, and insist that after each ballot, the total votes cast for each candidate be made public to the rest of the Conference.
- Vote against McCarthy in the secret ballot. (Remember, Kevin McCarthy is Speaker Boehner’s hand-picked successor. Click to read more.) Be prepared to declare your vote publicly, and announce if necessary that if McCarthy is the choice of the GOP Conference for Speaker, you will vote for someone else on the floor. (Note: You must say you will vote for someone else on the House Floor – don’t say you won’t vote, or you’ll vote “Present,” as either of those votes are discarded and LOWER THE THRESHOLD NECESSARY TO REACH A MAJORITY BY ONE-HALF VOTE.)
- Vote against McCarthy on the second ballot, and reiterate publicly that you will do so on the floor if he is the GOP Conference choice for Speaker.
- Vote against McCarthy on the third ballot, and say that you and others have risked everything to win this opportunity to make a change, and you are not about to settle for the status quo, which is what McCarthy’s ascension would leave in place.
- If at least 30 Members hold firm in their votes against McCarthy, the GOP Conference will see that they cannot put his name in nomination on the floor, because he simply will not be able to get to the 218 votes necessary.
- After a time, the GOP Conference will stop the voting process and open up the floor to a discussion and debate on who should be the Speaker, and what changes need to be made to unify the Conference.
- Be prepared with a list of changes (ex: the next Speaker must be a firm and articulate defender of the Constitution; someone who will tell the truth about the votes to both Members and the American people; a return to REAL regular order; an ability and willingness to fundraise for ALL GOP Members, not just those who toe the line; an ability to conceive and deploy a unified communications strategy on key issues; click to read more of Tea Party Patriots’ characteristics for the next Speaker, etc.)
- Ask others within the GOP Conference to consider stepping up to run for a leadership position. Who else is willing and able to do this? Sometimes, your country calls. Step up.
- Be leaders – show that you can unite the Conference and the party and create a legislative agenda that demonstrates the bright-line contrasts in vision between our side and the other side.
- Expect the Conference then to choose its new Speaker and other leaders based on PRINCIPLES, not on PECKING ORDER.
Our job is to continue to hold Congress accountable. To that end we have two specific action items that we must make:
- Call your U.S. House Representative and tell him or her to vote against McCarthy as Speaker. Explain that a vote for McCarthy as Speaker is the same as a vote for Boehner, and that is not acceptable to you.
- Call the conservatives listed below and thank them for taking the courageous stand to get us this far and tell them to hold firm and vote against McCarthy and to continue to hold firm to vote against McCarthy – even – and especially – through multiple ballots at Thursday’s Republican Conference meeting.
Speaker Boehner’s resignation gives House Republicans a literally once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elect a Speaker who can defend constitutional government, oppose an unlawful president, unite the party, and drive a contrast with the other side. Will the Republican Conference rise to the call of duty and set their mark as a turning point to a brighter future for America, or will they continue to follow the same Old Guard and squander the biggest opportunity to make history that may well ever fall in their laps again? Together, we can work to make sure this opportunity does not slip away. Then we will begin to see expanded freedom in America, and we can finally start down a path to a debt-free future.
|Cynthia Lummis||WY-At Large||202-225-2311|
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore.