David Frum

01.06.13

They Couldn't #FireBoehner

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images ()

Robert Costa's chronicle of the failed #FireBoehner festivities is raw schadenfreude for establishment-minded and moderate Republicans. In late December and this month's opening days, rumors circulated that 1) Speaker Boehner would resign, and 2) enough conservatives were prepared to vote against Boehner to force a second ballot.

But that whisper of a growing number of rebels never materialized. Many conservatives were wary of saying anything against Boehner lest they lose their committee spots or fundraising support. Looking back, Meyer says, he “should have realized” that “these guys weren’t going to pull the trigger.” Yet he was already in too deep to pull back. “I got a call from Matt Boyle,” a Brietbart News reporter, “who was hearing a lot of what I was hearing,” Meyer says. On the night before the speaker vote, they both heard that Boehner might even resign because of the negative publicity. “Our sources were 99.9 percent sure that he would resign within hours, or that more than 20 people were ready to vote against him.”

“I went public with that, but I wish I did not,” Meyer says. “It was a mistake on my part. We lost the expectations game right there. We had predicted something when everybody was watching us, and we predicted the wrong thing. Boehner obviously didn’t resign, but that was what I had heard. Boehner beat us. He used that conference meeting before the vote to stand up and talk about how he’s a conservative.”

You'll also want to read as my old boss, Matt K. Lewis, excoriates the #FireBoehner "leader" Ron Meyer, Jr. for getting too big for his britches.