In the same week conservatives went from decrying a “war on Christianity” to attacking Pope Francis as a liberal, Louis Gohmert told Fox News that he “thanked the Lord” Speaker John Boehner is retiring. It’s worth noting that Boehner himself cited the visit from the Pope as a deciding factor in his abrupt decision. Guilty conscience?
The widespread elation the news has conjured up in conservatives highlights the growing and increasingly public dispute between the GOP establishment and its base.
Gohmert, a regular feature on Fox News (and Comedy Central), has also been a grassroots favorite for Speaker. Adam Brandon, CEO of FreedomWorks, which more or less took credit for pressuring Boehner out by petition, told The Blaze Radio that Gohmert was his vote. On the site’s blog he said,
“Speaker Boehner was not responsive to what activists wanted, and it shows through the terrible approval ratings of Congress. We need a new speaker that represents the entire caucus, not just the special interests in Washington. “
But in an appearance on Fox, Gohmert told Sean Hannity that he was backing Dan Webster of Florida: “You know his Conservative Review voting record is not as conservative as mine, but he’s an honest honorable man…I think he’d be a fantastic addition to leadership.” . That one line, intentional or not, exposes how the rightwing echo chamber works, and why the GOP is devouring itself from the inside with an insatiable appetite for conservative purity. The fact is no one will ever be conservative enough, because by definition the grassroots is anti-establishment.
Just look at how the GOP’s entire bench of former and current Governor’s are all performing with in the margin of error in the national polls. And look how they reacted to Boehner’s news by thanking him for his decades of public service instead of cheering the toppling of his “dictatorship” as one of his successor hopefuls Rep. Webster characterized it.
Conversely, Ted Cruz who celebrated news, has positioned himself to be the established anti-establishment guy ready to absorb the support of the three current never-elected frontrunners whose campaigns are expected to eventually deflate.
Hannity asked Gohmert why he wasn’t putting his “hat in the ring” to which he replied, “no I’ve burned so many bridges and made so many people mad.” So now after amassing just 3 votes in his previous challenge to Boehner he now feels it’s time to, eh hem, pass the torch.
And, speaking of passing the torch, Gohmert said that if the Iran deal went through he would not seek reelection. Whatever happened that?
If you’re curious what a Speaker Gohmert or Gohmert backed Speaker might look like, here is a clue…