- - Thursday, December 18, 2014

The final recount from November’s election had not even been finished when current House Speaker John Boehner blew the mandate.

Voters gave the Republican Party a majority in the House of Representatives they had not seen in 80 years. Voters kicked Democrats to the curb in the Senate as the GOP had a nine-vote swing.

How did Mr. Boehner treat the American people who just gave the Republicans a mandate?

He gave the American people and the conservative base of the GOP the middle finger.

The “CRomnibus” spending bill that he pushed through the House was more than just a surrender to President Obama and the Democrats. It was Mr. Boehner’s way of sticking it to conservatives and telling them he was the boss.

On Jan. 3, a new Congress begins and one of the first orders of business in the House of Representatives is to pick a new speaker. The conventional wisdom is Mr. Boehner will be re-elected speaker. That may well happen and if it does it will be a disaster for the Republican Party.

The conservative base of the party is pretty much in open revolt and without the base, the losses of 2006 and 2008 will seem mild compared to what is coming in 2016.

Mr. Boehner has repeatedly shown he is not the man to lead the House. He cannot build a Republican coalition. He cannot lead, and he will not fight.

Conservatives cannot simply oppose Mr. Boehner. That is not a plan. Some conservative groups are pushing Trey Gowdy of South Carolina as speaker. That makes a great headline but it isn’t going to happen. Mr. Gowdy has only been in the House since 2011 and has not built the kind of relationships necessary to lead. Many people regard him as a bomb thrower. Most conservatives consider that to be a complement. While it is, it is not necessarily a positive attribute for someone to be speaker who, by definition, must build coalitions within the party.

There is one conservative who has been in Congress long enough and who has a solidly conservative record.

That is Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee.

She has been in Congress since 2003. Mrs. Blackburn made a name for herself in Tennessee in 2001 and 2002. She led the fight almost singlehandedly against a liberal Republican governor and the then-Democrat Majority in Tennessee’s legislature tried to impose a state income tax despite the overwhelming objections of a huge majority of Tennesseans.

Mr. Boehner’s allies in the House have pushed for a rule change that would punish Republicans who vote against Mr. Boehner.

The Republicans will have 247 members in the next Congress. If 30 of these members vote against Mr. Boehner, he will not have the majority he needs to be elected speaker. At that point, anything is possible, including Mr. Boehner stepping aside.

Every conservative should spend the time between now and Jan. 3 calling their Republican representatives and telling them to vote for Marsha Blackburn instead of John Boehner.

If conservatives are to turn the tide in 2015, it must be done with new leadership in Washington. Mr. Boehner can be beat but conservatives have to have a plan to do it.

Here’s a plan.


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