Wingnuts Vote for Allen West as Speaker

John Boehner won reelection as Speaker of the House on Thursday by a surprisingly easy margin, getting 220 votes from his caucus (I suspect because no one else really wants the job). But two of the looniest congressmen voted for — get this — recently defeated Rep. Allen West.

Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) voted for West during the roll call of lawmakers to elect a House speaker for the 113th Congress on Thursday.

Currently serving in the U.S. House isn’t a requirement for being elected speaker, so West was an eligible – if unlikely – candidate.

I did not know that you could be speaker without being a member of the House. Colin Powell also got a vote.

Comments

  1. says

    The U.S. Constitution is silent on whether the Speaker of the House has to be a member of that house, so it’s presumed that any citizen could, in theory, be elected Speaker. No sanity test is required either, so Allen West could qualify. A similar situation obtains in California, where the Speaker of the Assembly is not required to be a member of the State Assembly. No non-member, however, has ever served as Speaker — either in California or in Washington, D.C.

  2. eric says

    Wow, that’s the person second in line for the Presidency. Wierd to think that basically 109 Congresscritters (simply majority of the majority party) could put any old Joe Schmoe that close to the Presidency.

  3. eamick says

    I did not know that you could be speaker without being a member of the House.

    The Constitution says only that the House “shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers”, though the founders were probably thinking of the way it works in the House of Commons, which does require choosing a member as Speaker. House rules are silent on the subject.

  4. eamick says

    Wierd to think that basically 109 Congresscritters (simply majority of the majority party) could put any old Joe Schmoe that close to the Presidency.

    The Speaker is elected by the whole House, so it would require a near-unanimous vote from the Republicans (or a disturbingly large number of Democrats to go along with it) given the small majority the Republicans currently hold.

  5. says

    I guess that neither Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) are true Christians as they did not stand before their peers and vote for the true speaker of the House, Jesus H. Christ (R-America).

  6. says

    Wow! What a great plot idea for a political thriller. Members of the (rogue) minority Party (but the majority in the House) elect as speaker someone they would like to see as President but who for other reasons is unelectable. Think Sarah Palin. Then they hire, through nefarious channels, an assassin that can’t be traced back to them to take out POTUS and VPOTUS. The plot moves on from there.

  7. acroyear says

    Under the terms of the 25th, that makes for a *very* interesting case whereby we can again get a President who was never actually elected by the people for anything. Unlikely, but very interesting.

    I’m sure Dan Brown’s working on the novel right now…

  8. abb3w says

    Under present rules, the Speakership requires an absolute majority of all votes cast for nominees, not merely the majority of the majority party. However, those not present do not count to the majority; since only half (plus one) of the House needs to be present for a quorum, you could have 218 Representatives present (achieving quorum), and 110 (strict majority) unite to name a Speaker without anyone voting present. This is unlikely. Further, votes of “present” count to quorum, not to the required majority… so I suppose if the rest of the House at the scene was willing to all vote “present”, a single vote could name the Speakership. This, however, is far more absurd than a non-Representative being speaker.

    Less silly, since the House can change these rules by simple majority, they could change how the speakership is determined (such as majority of the majority/plurality party, or simple plurality of votes). This is still rather unlikely, but not completely unimaginable. Under present rules, it’s actually possible for no-one to get the required strict majority… in which case, they have a second vote. And a third. And so on, until SOMEONE gets the damn job. The last time it took more than the one vote was back in 1923; however, there were a couple times in the Civil War era when it took two months(!) of voting. It might be imaginable that at some point, more consensus might exist to change the rules than on who to have as Speaker.

    Nate Silver has a piece on to what (historic) degree the vote looks bad for Boehner.

  9. wholething says

    Can they elect someone who was born in Kenya to be Speaker of the House? What does that do to the downline for the Presidency?

  10. Larry says

    Then they hire, through nefarious channels, an assassin that can’t be traced back to them to take out POTUS and VPOTUS.

    Simpsons did it.

  11. jakc says

    It’s like the papal election. You don’t have to be a cardinal but since only cardinals vote ….

  12. caseloweraz says

    I suppose they considered this a protest vote, rather like J. Random Citizen voting for Yosemite Sam (write-in) in a presidential election.

    It speaks to a certain lack of maturity, however.

  13. kylawyer says

    Not surprising those two voted for the justifiably instutionalizable West. Broun and Gohmert are two of the stupidest people ever to sit in Congress, although that’s a tough call considering the competition from Michelle Bachmann, Steve King, Trent Franks and Rand Paul.

  14. iangould says

    You know come January 2017, the House will need a new Speaker. Since the Speaker need not be a member of the House, I can think of someone who will be looking for a new job around that same time.

    Speaker Obama – this time no term limits.

  15. Rip Steakface says

    @17 iangould

    That wouldn’t result in much, since Obama has stated he’s retiring from politics after his second term is up. If even he won the Speakership, he’d probably immediately resign it.

    Although… hm. There’s the plot for your political thriller: two-term president wins Speakership in controversial vote, new president and vice-president die suddenly and mysteriously and then the old president returns to his old digs. Heheh.

  16. eamick says

    Can they elect someone who was born in Kenya to be Speaker of the House? What does that do to the downline for the Presidency?

    I know (hope?) you’re being facetious, but there are no citizenship requirements for being Speaker. The laws for presidential succession say anyone in the line of succession who is constitutionally ineligible is passed over.

  17. anubisprime says

    Wot…?…No Akin?

    That is a severe
    blow for the body politic that is the ‘modern’ republican agenda!

  18. joe_k says

    @19 Rip Steakface
    I didn’t think that that would be allowed, due to the 22nd Amendment. But I just looked it up, and that only prohibits someone from being elected to the presidency after two terms in office. Theoretically, as long as one could fix the votes for the Speaker’s position, and keep having presidents and VPs assassinated, one could just keep being president…

  19. StevoR, fallible human being says

    @16. kylawyer : I think you forgot Inhofe? Or is he a Senator instead? Hate that evil scumbag either way!

  20. eric says

    @7 and @11; thanks for the clarification.

    If anyone’s interested, here are the vote results from Clerk.House.Gov:

    “Election of the Speaker Mr. Boehner: 220, Ms. Pelosi: 192, Cantor: 3, West: 2, Cooper of Tennessee: 2, Lewis of Georgia: 1, Powell: 1, Labrador: 1, Jordan: 1, Walker: 1, Amash: 1, Dingell: 1, and Present: 1. Mr. Boehner was elected Speaker of the House.”

  21. StevoR, fallible human being says

    I’d vote for labrador – those are great dogs!

    I’d also vote a ficus plant into Congress ahead of a lot of the humans too were I eligible – which as an Aussie I ain’t but anyhow.

  22. dingojack says

    Stevo – perhaps the Representative, for one, welcomed their Newfie overlords*.

    So Boehner won by eight votes. That’s 51.52% to Pelosi’s 44.96% of the votes cast. Not exactly a ringing endorsement (but possibly a ‘mandate’, since most of the Reps are men, or sumptin’)

    Dingo
    ——–
    * Or even Jordanian overlords

  23. thisisaturingtest says

    Technically, it’s true that the Speaker doesn’t, by Constitutional wording, need to be a member of the House. But this just strikes me as meaningless legalistic nitpicking (maybe that’s what would make it so attractive to the likes of Gohmert, Broun, and Dan Brown). I just can’t imagine that the FFs would ever have thought that they would need to spell out in so many words that the Speaker of the House would need to be, you know…of the House.

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