It’s a tale of two votes from the state of South Carolina. One man voted to re-elect John Boehner to Speaker of the House while the other voted for fellow Congressman from South Carolina, Rep. Trey Gowdy. Gowdy, incidentally, was unable to cast his vote for Speaker as a flight cancellation prohibited him from making the trip to D.C. However, Gowdy noted he would have voted in favor of Boehner.
According to a post on his Facebook page, Rep. Mulvaney had the following to say of his decision to vote in favor of Boehner as Speaker of the House:
“There was an attempt to oust John Boehner as Speaker of the House today. I didn’t participate in it. That may make some people back home angry. I understand that, but I’ve got some experience with coup attempts against the Speaker, and what I learned two years ago factored heavily in my decision today not to join the mutiny.”
Mulvaney was describing his decision to vote against Boehner in 2013 and noted that it was a failed attempt to remove him from the Speakership.
“I learned two years ago that people lie about how they are going to vote. And you cannot go into this kind of fight with people you do not trust. We walked onto the floor two years ago with signed pledges-handwritten promises-from more than enough people to deny Boehner his job. But when it came time to vote, almost half of those people changed their minds.”
Mulvaney closed his defense of his vote for Boehner with this:
“I understand people’s frustration and anger over what is happening in Washington. And I also acknowledge that John Boehner may be partly to blame. But this was a fool’s errand. I am all for fighting, but I am more interested in fighting and winning than I am fighting an unwinnable battle.”
Juxtapose his comments with those of Rep. Jeff Duncan, who voted against Boehner and in support of Rep. Trey Gowdy:
“As you’ve probably heard by now, this afternoon I voted AGAINST John Boehner for Speaker of the House and proudly cast my vote FOR Trey Gowdy. The goal was to force a second ballot in hopes that one of the stronger conservative candidates would then decide to run. Who we voted for was less important than the number of total votes cast for someone other than John Boehner or Nancy Pelosi.”
So, who did get the most votes other than Boehner or Pelosi? That would be Rep. Daniel Webster who received 12 votes. Nearly half of the 25 votes against Boehner went to Rep. Webster. So, had the vote been successful and Webster ran for the Speakership and won, just how conservative is Webster? According to the Heritage Action score Rep. Webster receives a score of 56%. Considering the highest score is Rep. Trent Franks of AZ, with 96%…it’s fair to say Webster is not very conservative. How about Rep. Gohmert? He does much better with a score of 91% but only managed to receive 3 votes.
What this vote tells us is that even had Boehner been defeated, he would have been replaced with another moderate. At this time there simply are not enough true Conservatives in Congress to ever put a Conservative into a leadership position. That is why we have Boehner as Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy with a 40% rating, Rep. Steve Scalise with 76%, Rep. Patrick McHenry with 65%, Rep. Cathy Rodgers with 49%, Rep. Lynn Jenkins with 66%, Rep. Virginia Foxx with 73%, and Rep. Luke Messer with 68%.
It is worth noting that Boehner has no Heritage Action “score” because as Speaker, he does not introduce legislation nor typically vote on legislation. However, it seems clear that if he were rated it would be considerably below that of a true Conservative. Will there be a Conservative with a score above 80%, who is brave enough to run in two years?