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With His BFF Leaving, Is Boehner Eyeing the Exit, Too?
Roll Call ^ | December 18, 2013 | David Hawkings, "Hawkings Here"

Posted on 12/19/2013 1:29:47 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

With the postmortems of this year’s biggest congressional events winding down, it’s not too early to start forecasting the top Hill stories of the year ahead.

Whatever happens in the career of John A. Boehner is sure to make the list.

If he makes good on his own current assertions by securing a third consecutive term as speaker of the House, that will be one of the more notable events at the Capitol in 2014. That’s because it would seal a total turnabout from the shaky hold he had on his power only a few weeks ago and would mean he’s engineered an uneasy truce in the Republican Party’s war with itself.

If he says he wants to stay in the top job, and his colleagues turn him down, that would be an enormously bigger deal. That’s because it would mark yet another reversal of his fortunes, no speaker has been turned out by his own colleagues in more than a century, and such an insurrection would mean the GOP’s ideological civil war would surely rage on.

But if he calls it quits, by relinquishing the speaker’s gavel or maybe even his congressional district in southwestern Ohio, that would be an outcome somewhere between those first two on the importance continuum. (All of these scenarios are predicated on the safe prediction that the GOP will retain control of the House for the 114th Congress.) While such a decision would assure a fascinating fight for the caucus leadership, it would say less about the party’s future than about Boehner’s fascinatingly evolving personality.

Still, it’s the “Boehner is about to hang it up” narrative that’s captivated the rumor mill this week. That talk is based on one new piece of information, an extremely important one: Tom Latham is retiring.

In a business where “good friend” is so often used ironically to describe a colleague who’s actually viewed with contempt, most members generally have few genuinely close personal friendships at the Capitol. Bonds with other lawmakers who can be trusted totally to keep both personal secrets and political confidences are hard to come by. They are cultivated sparingly and warily. And, for the most powerful members, welcoming a colleague to speak the unvarnished truth to power is a particularly rare invitation to intimacy.

Boehner actually has a relatively big cadre of congressional buddies who serve as both his crew and his council of elders. And almost no one disputes that Latham, who announced Tuesday that he wouldn’t run for an 11th House term in Iowa, is first among equals in the innermost circle.

These are the dozen or so men (and they are all men) with whom Boehner sneaks cigarettes or cigars, plays nonfundraiser golf and shares drinks before late-night votes in the Capitol Hill Club grill room. They listen to his annoyances, provide him moral support, offer candid political advice and proffer intelligence about the myriad melodramas that bubble up daily in the GOP conference. In private, they tell him what he doesn’t want to hear about a failing strategy or a ham-handed news conference performance. In public, they float his trial balloons, defend his decisions and combat challenges to his authority.

Latham’s decision means at least two of Boehner’s besties will be gone after next year; the other is Saxby Chambliss (like Latham, a member of the House GOP takeover Class of 1994), who is retiring after two terms as a Georgia senator. And a third extremely close confidant, Mike Simpson of Idaho, will be back in 2015 only if he survives a May primary against attorney Bryan Smith, one of the best-funded conservative challengers to a GOP incumbent.

Others in the core group, many of whom helped Boehner stage his upset comeback bid for the leadership in 2006, look sure to stick around: Pat Tiberi of Ohio, Greg Walden of Oregon, Pete Sessions of Texas, Charles Boustany Jr. of Louisiana and Doc Hastings of Washington in the House and, in the Senate, former House colleague Richard M. Burr of North Carolina.

But it is Latham’s surprise decision that has House insiders chattering. The speculation is that Latham’s acting something like a canary in the coal mine for his buddy — his leave taking a reliable sign that Boehner does not plan to stick around much longer, either.

Having rebuffed a heavy recruitment push to seek his state’s open Senate seat, Latham was a safe bet for re-election in Des Moines and southwestern Iowa, even though President Barack Obama carried his district twice. And he was set to become the No. 3 Republican on Appropriations next term. And so speculators are wondering: Why would Latham take early retirement — he’s 65, a year older than Boehner — except in the knowledge that his best friend had decided to do likewise?

The buzz got loud enough Wednesday that Boehner spokesman Michael Steel moved to tamp it down. “These rumors are silly,” he told The Daily Beast. “The speaker has been clear — publicly and privately — that he expects to be speaker in the next Congress.”

Latham aside, the circumstantial evidence suggests Boehner hasn’t popped the clutch yet. Before orchestrating last week’s 2-to-1 GOP majority for the year-ending budget deal, he filed petition papers for seeking his 13th term. (He has until Feb. 5 to make a final decision.) He posted a slick new video on his leadership website Tuesday, boasting that the House GOP has done its part to advance legislation that would spur the economy. The newest issue of Esquire even includes his crisp essay about the virtues of breakfasting in a diner.

The previous two GOP speakers, Newt Gingrich and Dennis Hastert, both secured their final re-elections before deciding to exit the leadership. Boehner has every incentive to repeat that pattern, winning one more term in Ohio before deciding for sure how to proceed in the Capitol.

One thing’s a pretty sure bet, though: You’ll never hear Boehner do what Harry Reid did Wednesday — talk about wanting to keep the keys to the corner office for another eight years.


TOPICS: Government; Politics
KEYWORDS: boehner; housespeaker; latham; ushouseofrep
There are some links in this OpEd piece (at original source).
1 posted on 12/19/2013 1:29:47 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
.... the other is Saxby Chambliss (like Latham, a member of the House GOP takeover Class of 1994), who is retiring after two terms as a Georgia senator.

My wonderful backstabbing RINO from Georgia. I cannot wait for him to leave. That will make Isakson more vulnerable because he won't have anyone to copy-vote or get excuses from. Whoever Chambliss or the GOPe endorses/funds for his replacement, I am going to vote against. NO MORE.

2 posted on 12/19/2013 1:35:57 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

For the sake of the Republic, we must somehow dump this turd.


3 posted on 12/19/2013 1:37:16 AM PST by Bobalu (White Boy Think A Lot)
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To: Bobalu

“we must somehow dump this turd.”

****

If there were justice, Bonehead would contract lung cancer and have to get unsubsidized treatment for it under Obamacare.

In reality, he’ll land softly into a K Street lobbying position that pays him several million per year screw the taxpayer even more on behalf of his buddies.


4 posted on 12/19/2013 3:50:15 AM PST by peyton randolph (Tagline copyright in violation of Directive 10-289)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I say yes, but pay (close) attention to bringing on a replacement who won’t be worse.

No amnesty. Bring back American jobs.


5 posted on 12/19/2013 3:53:39 AM PST by Cringing Negativism Network (Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, bring him back!)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Yes. I think Boehner is leaving and that has a lot to do with the GOP budget capitulation. GOP House memebers who could ordinarily be expected to vote against that abomination toed the line because they expect Ryan to be the next Speaker and they are in a hurry to curry favor. What they wouldn’t have given Boehner, they were only too eager to give the new presumptive king.


6 posted on 12/19/2013 4:24:04 AM PST by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes everything)
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To: Bobalu; Cincinatus' Wife
I'm sure you meant, Turds...retire (wholesale)
the whole GOP Congressional Ldrs..totally inept.

7 posted on 12/19/2013 5:06:34 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi :-)
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To: Paine in the Neck

“Yes. I think Boehner is leaving”......

We should all be so lucky to be rid of that RHINO, the real problem still remains however as there are many more like him in the republican party. Time for a total regime change.


8 posted on 12/19/2013 5:08:11 AM PST by Progov
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To: Progov
We should all be so lucky to be rid of that RHINO, the real problem still remains however as there are many more like him in the republican party. Time for a total regime change.

Ryan and Cantor will be next up to take up the mantle of Bob "Democrat's footstool" Michel that Boehner carried so well. That the House GOP was in such a hurry to toady up to Ryan, thinking him the next Speaker, that they passed a budget bill that no one had read [AGAIN !!] speaks to how much trouble we are in.

9 posted on 12/19/2013 5:18:58 AM PST by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes everything)
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To: Paine in the Neck

And it should be noted that Ryan was Boehner’s intern.


10 posted on 12/19/2013 5:20:34 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Paine in the Neck

I think the GOPe has to be stopped, it is a branch on a sturdy tree that needs to be pruned. The best way of course is voting them out... But to financially starve the party until the branch dies would also work. I cannot imagine why any sane Republican would donate to the party now. It is not representing OUR standards. Voting for food stamps and against vet pensions? Who in their right mind would contribute hard-earned dollars to a cause like that? Stop the donations.


11 posted on 12/19/2013 5:44:13 AM PST by ThePatriotsFlag (...and to the Republic for which it stood.)
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To: ThePatriotsFlag
I think the GOPe has to be stopped, it is a branch on a sturdy tree that needs to be pruned. The best way of course is voting them out... But to financially starve the party until the branch dies would also work. I cannot imagine why any sane Republican would donate to the party now. It is not representing OUR standards. Voting for food stamps and against vet pensions? Who in their right mind would contribute hard-earned dollars to a cause like that? Stop the donations.

Redirect your donations. Politics takes money. The Republic is in peril. The Founders pledged "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor". What can we do?

Senate

Support Matt Bevin to oust Mitch McConnell in KY

Support Dwayne Stovall to oust John Cornyn in TX

Support Joe Carr to oust Lamar Alexander in TN

Support Lee Bright to oust Lindsey Graham in SC

Support Dr. Milton Wolf to oust Pat Roberts in KS

Support Chris McDaniel to oust Thad Cochran in MS

House

Support Eric Gurr to oust John Boehner in OH-8

Also, press your Representative to NOT support Boehner for Speaker - or Ryan, either!

Support Katrina Pierson to oust Pete (NOT Jeff) Sessions in TX-32

Support Bryan Smith to oust Mike Simpson in ID-2

Support David Hale to oust Adam Kinzinger in IL-16

12 posted on 12/19/2013 5:47:01 AM PST by Paine in the Neck (Socialism consumes everything)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Things can change alot in a year.

If Dems take a real beating in the 2014s then we might be reading opinions about how successful Bohner was as Speaking at bringing down the Dems.

Recall many here believed Obama wouldnt run again, back in late 2010.


13 posted on 12/19/2013 6:08:59 AM PST by sickoflibs (Obama : 'If you like your Doctor you can keep him, PERIOD! Don't believe the GOPs warnings')
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To: Gaffer

Fortunately we have true conservtive Dr. Paul Broun running for Saxby’s seat.


14 posted on 12/19/2013 6:53:12 AM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2

I am still not convinced on him. IIRC there were a couple of Georgia Freepers on the Georgia forum that didn’t have anything good to say about him, one of them in a very face-to-face manner.

Right now, I can only think of Karen Handle as a viable vote, yet that is not final.


15 posted on 12/19/2013 6:55:49 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

One positive is Steve King will be the most senior Congressman in a swing state leading to 2016.

There will be Grassley and King. Then there may be a new Republican Senator and a new Republican Congressman.


16 posted on 12/19/2013 2:37:30 PM PST by ObamahatesPACoal
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