Just because some guy named Ned says that 218 votes are needed to elect a Speaker, and thus that 16 Republicans voting present can keep Boehner from the Speakership, does not make it so. The rules of the House have stated since at least 1913 (the earliest Speaker election analyzed by the Congressional Research Service in its 2011 study) that the election of Speaker requires a majority not of members, but of votes cast *for a person*. Thus, vacancies, abstentions, *and people voting Present* will not be included in the denominator. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL30857.pdf
And this isnt some arcane theory by the CRS; it was exactly what occurred as recently as 1997. That was the year of the attempted coup against Newt Gingrich, which fell apart, but around 8-10 Republicans voted Present in the Speaker election (plus 2 Republicans voted for RINO Jim Leach, 2 others voted for Republicans who had retired from Congress, and I assume that Newt abstained, as is customary for Speaker candidates). Due to all of those Present votes and abstentions, only 213 votes were required to elect a Speaker, and Newt was elected with 216 votes. Maybe Ned Ryun should do a little reading before shooting off his mouth next time.
The House of Representatives for the 113th Congress will convene with at most 434 members (Jesse Jackson, Jr.s seat will be vacant). If 16 Republicans vote Present, at most 418 votes will be cast for a person for Speaker, meaning that Boehner would need only 210 votes to be elected Speaker. But if 34 Republicans vote Present, then Pelosi or some other Democrat could be elected Speaker with the 201 Democrat votes. So voting Present for Speaker wont keep Boehner from being elected Speaker, unless so many Republicans do it that a Democrat gets elected Speaker.
The only way that 16 Republicans can prevent Boehner or a Democrat from becoming Speaker would be if they voted for actual persons, not vote Present. And that is not going to happen. All incoming Republican members had the chance to select the partys Speaker candidate, and they all voted for Boehner; maybe a handful will cast protest votes for Ron Paul or something (I betcha that Paultard Justin Amash of MI-03 does just that), but it wont come close to 16.
Thank you for a logical, reasonable explanation.