I don’t know who Ron Meyer is, but he is incorrect in stating that no one can get elected Speaker without 218 votes and thus that 16 Republicans voting present can keep Boehner from the Speakership. 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.
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 a lot more difficult than finding 16 Republicans to vote “Present.”
Suppose that the Democrats want to keep the ineffective, meandering, milquetoast Boehner as Speaker because it helps Obama and the Democrat Party to have him as their whipping boy. Then what's to stop House Dems from voting for him? They have a minority anyway - but they can't run the risk of a real effective Speaker emerging if the House Republicans want Boehner out. Is there anything that stops Pelosi from instructing House Dems to vote for Boehner and keep him where he is??
unless some Democrats vote to keep him in