The Speakers Who Weren’t

The Speaker is like Gallagher...but with fewer serious policy proposals

The Speaker is like Gallagher…but with fewer serious policy proposals

John Boehner successfully got his caucus together long enough to re-elect him as Speaker of the House on the first ballot, beating out Nancy Pelosi. We know what to expect from Boehner’s leadership (basically nothing — the 112th Congress was the least productive in modern history), but there were votes for others who failed to gain enough steam to culminate in earning the big gavel.

Eric Cantor (3 votes): The House’s number 2 voted for Boehner, but that didn’t keep him from getting 3 votes. Cantor would be a more welcome face to conservative members of the House, even if he isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool Tea Party guy. That said, he has some detractors, like RedState’s Erick Erickson, who explained that he doesn’t “trust Eric Cantor as far as I can throw him.”

Jim Cooper (2 votes): Cooper is a Blue Dog Democrat who garnered Democratic protest votes from those who believe being Democrats shouldn’t be hamstrung by actually supporting Democratic causes. Cooper routinely votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to hold Eric Holder in contempt. Cooper didn’t vote for himself though…more on that in a second.

Speaker West

Speaker West

Allen West (2 votes): Allen West lost his House seat last election, but the Constitution doesn’t actually require the Speaker to be an elected Representative. Professional nutjob Louie Gohmert voted for West first and earned eye rolls from even Republicans who think West’s Tea Party extremism is over-the-top. West famously informed America that 70-80 members of Congress were card-carrying Communists and told black Democrats that they were working to keep blacks “on the plantation.”

Colin Powell (1 vote): Jim Cooper actually voted for the former Secretary of State to have the miserable job of herding the disobedient cats of the House of Representatives. I’m guessing Powell would have resigned in disgust roughly 45 seconds into the job.

John Dingell (1 vote): The dean of the House, having served since 1955, Dingell is a staunch defender of organized labor. He’s also hilarious, having used the House floor to read a poem making fun of Fox News.

John Lewis (1 vote): The Civil Rights legend who delivered one of the best speeches of the DNC received a vote from a Blue Dog Democrat from Lewis’s native Georgia.

Jim Jordan (1 vote): Ohio Republican Jim Jordan got the protest vote of Tim Huselkamp. Jordan is a true budget hawk Republican…if you define budget hawk as fighting with the Pentagon to force them to buy weapons they explicitly didn’t want because his key donors build those weapons in his district.

David Walker (1 vote): Another non-member candidate. David Walker served as Comptroller General and makes his career as an advocate for bi-partisan cooperation on fiscal matters, running a group called ComebackAmerica

Justin Amash (1 vote): The 32-year-old Amash is the latter day Ron Paul. These guys possess the most objectionable combination of policy stances: radically libertarian economic views and draconian conservative social views on abortion and gay marriage. Hurray!

Raul Labrador (1 vote): The official roll call announced one vote for Labrador, though other reports claim he was just a “present” vote. Idaho Republican is actually relatively centrist. He supports increased education spending and doesn’t generally play games with the federal budget, having voted to avoid the fiscal cliff. He also wants to militarize the Mexican border — even though his state borders the utterly porous Canadian border — so he’s not too centrist.

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