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January 06, 2015

Did Mario Cuomo's Death Keep Boehner in the Speaker's Office?

Watch this logic.

A week ago, it was routinely said that the challengers needed 29 Republicans voting for people other than Boehner to block him.

That was based upon the fact that Boehner would need a majority of those Members actually present and voting for a candidate to become speaker.

Assuming that 434 Members showed up (Michael Grimm resigned, so he would be there), and assuming all Members voted for a candidate (not "Present"), Boehner would need 217 total votes to be elected Speaker.

But notice what happens when large numbers of Congressmen don't show up. A few had their flights snowed in; the New York Democratic delegation didn't show up at all, because they're attending the Mario Cuomo funeral.

Now, the total number of Members present is 401 (I think I heard that), and Boehner therefore only needs 201 to be elected.

And the number of Republicans he needs to defect goes up. There are 246 Republicans in the House; that means that Boehner could lose thirty five Republicans and still make his golden count of 201.

The absence of so many Members -- especially Democrat members-- helps Boehner tremendously, as his caucus is mostly still there, but the size of the entire quorum has been reduced.

It should also be noted that a few people, thought to be on the fence, wound up voting for Boehner. But this is easily explained by the fact that the NY Democratic caucus wasn't there.

It makes sense to be one of the 29 votes against Boehner if those 29 votes boot him out of the Speaker's office and usher in a new Speaker. But when it takes thirty five votes to boot him out -- and those thirty five votes can't be gotten -- suddenly people who would have voted against Boehner now vote for him.

As they say, you don't take a shot at the king unless you're sure it will kill him.

25 votes against Boehner is still a lot. That number certainly would have been higher -- probably at 29 -- had twenty nine been sufficient to do the job.

But with so many Democrats absent, the number needed went up to 35, and the number willing to vote against Boehner dropped to 25.

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posted by Ace at 02:31 PM

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