Unlike Majority and Minority leaders, which are selected by their party caucuses, the Speaker role is a Constitutional role, elected by all members of the House at large.
A movement is underfoot for the Republicans to all back a moderate Democratic candidate, such as Steny Hoyer from MD.
Now, the Republicans cannot push through a Republican, but they can offer a Democrat that could win the election with just a handful of Democratic votes.
For example, if all 203 Republicans voted for say, Steny Hoyer, it would only take 15 Dems joining them to make him Speaker.
Jane Harmon certainly wouldn't vote for Pelosi. They have bad blood, which is why Pelosi wouldn't name her head of the Select House Intelligence Committee, which she should by seniority rights hold. So, there's one vote.
One would think that Hoyer, or the presumptive Dem would vote for themselves. That's 2 votes.
13 more votes needed. . .
Pelosi openly backed Murtha for the caucus nominated Majority leader. That created some bad blood. A few votes there.
Backing Murtha Is Risky for Next House Speaker - New York Times
Many of the conservative Democratic members of the House would vote for moderates just defensively to maintain that a vote for them next time around isn't a vote for the liberal wing of the Dem party. My conservative Dem - Chet Edwards, is already on the record saying that he would have to give great consideration to a moderate alternative. A few more votes.
What you get is somewhere near a consensus to place a moderate Dem in charge of the House.
Expect to hear much more on this. I heard about it on TV by a Republican House member when asked about Speaker to be Pelosi saying, 'that's not a done deal' and mentioning this possibility. I wish I could recall who it was to look up the quote.
The election for Speaker doesn't occur until the new Congress meets in Jan. Expect to hear more about this between now and then. And remember, you heard it here, first.
Pelosi no shoo-in for job as speaker - Nation/Politics - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
"Four Democrats opposed her in 2003, with three of them simply voting "present" as a protest. "
This article is from before the election. It points to the fact that most Dems will NOT vote against Pelosi if it means failing to get a majority for a Dem and making Hastert Speaker again. But, if the Republicans join in step and vote for an alternative Democrat, the whole equation suddenly changes.
Nov 16, '06
If Pelosi were dethroned as potential Speaker, it would be a huge 'win' for Republicans, showing that they still maintain much power. It would also serve to allow Republicans to claim 'bi-partisanship' in the new Congress.
Many Democrats wouldn't vote against her, for that reason alone.
But, candidate loyalty holds alot of sway in how power is distributed in the House. And many are upset that Pelosi backed Murtha against the senority candidate, Hoyer, for Majority leader.
Future and Current Speakers normally abstain from supporting such candidates. Pelosi did so to consolidate her power. Many Democrats in Congress would jump at a chance to take back some of that power.
So, Hoyer would be the likely candidate in a 'bi-partisan' push to dethrone her as the next Speaker. He has the widespread support of many moderate Dems.
If the Republicans could put aside the need to vote for a sure losing Republican candidate (the party out of power NEVER wins such votes), they could make the election for Speaker a free for all. Or rather, a real repeat contest between Hoyer and Pelosi for power. The election on point to how such things work is how Lieberman got re-elected to the Senate. More identified Republican voters voted for him than Democrats.
Mullings An American Cyber Column By Rich Galen
Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Nov 16, '06
Nov 18, '06
Hoyer IS the new House Majority leader. That is a caucus position, and the caucus has spoken. That election is over.
Pelosi is not yet the Speaker. She was chosen by her caucus to BE speaker, but that vote is in Jan, before the whole House of Representatives. Her choice by her caucus was unanimous, because you don't cross someone with the power to squash you.
Nancy is the presumptive speaker, but it's not a done deal. If the Republicans were to tempt the middle with a vote for Hoyer, it would be easily possible for Hoyer to rise to Speaker, and then Nancy would be left assuming the lower role of majority leader (that would likely call for another caucus vote, to fill the role of majority leader that would be vacated by Speaker Hoyer. I don't think Murtha would run again against HER.)
Hoyer/Pelosi have fought for the leadership role in the House before. And, they both come from MD (Pelosi's dad and grandfather were both mayors of Baltimore back in the days of true political machines) - These two have run in the same political circles for 4 decades.
Don't discount the power struggle that would develop if the Republicans put election of Hoyer within such a small reach. The fact that Pelosi is the party's nod is the result of the Pelosi/Hoyer power stuggle in 2002. If Republicans brought that up again by throwing their support for Hoyer, all caucus bets would be off.
Remember the GOAL of choosing the Speaker in caucus is to ensure that the other party doesn't get the job by a split vote. If that weren't at issue, then the caucus vote isn't worth a dime.
Speaker is NOT a caucus position, it's a Constitutional position and therefore, every member of the House gets to vote on it.
THAT vote isn't until January. Nothing I've said here was changed by the Dem's caucus elections.
In fact, I'd argue that if the Republicans cast 203 votes for Hoyer, the remaining 15 votes is a done deal. In that case, Hoyer WOULD BECOME Speaker. The issue at play is viability. You don't cross the new speaker unless there is a VIABLE alternative. 203 out of 218 required votes for Hoyer, before the Dems even vote on the subject, would make Hoyer a very viable candidate. Think about it this way: of the remaining 232 Dem votes, Nancy would need the full 218; Hoyer, just 15. Such a vote wouldn't be about cracking the Dem caucus, just shaving from the edge.
In fact, under that scenario, even if 93% of Democrats voted for Pelosi, and just 7% for Hoyer, Hoyer would win.
It's not like the Republicans could 'pull a fast one' and suddenly change their votes and nominate a Republican Speaker over the split vote between Hoyer/Pelosi. Dems still control the majority, and the majority decides the rules. IN THAT CASE, the majority would simply decide to revote on the issue. If the Republicans threw their votes behind Hoyer, they'd have to 'stay the course'.
Nancy 'botched' the caucus elections by trying - and failing - to make it about retribution instead of consensus. Many dems in Congress are now resigned to her leadership by retribution. But, give them an alternative and voting for Nancy will be like herding cats. There's lots of power at play with that vote. In fact, 149 out of 232 dems already bucked Pelosi with their vote for Hoyer as Majority Leader. It would only take 15 of those 149 to take it a step further. She made a major mistake by calling new Congressmen and threatening their committee assignments if they didn't vote for Murtha. That mistake could be capitalized upon.
Don't think you've heard the last of this concept.
Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Nov 18, '06