If John Boehner goes, look outside Washington for the next speaker

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Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 8:52 a.m. MST

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters about the fiscal cliff negotiations at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.

Associated Press

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Our take: Washington Post columnist Norman J. Ornstein comments on the possibility that a reelection of Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to the speaker of the House may, or may not take place.

On Jan. 3, the 113th House will fulfill its express constitutional duty to choose its speaker. The result may well be the reelection of Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). But events of the past week have cast some doubt on that.

The vote will be taken by the new House, which has 233 Republicans, 200 Democrats and two vacancies. If 17 Republicans vote for someone other than Boehner, and he falls short of an absolute majority of all the votes cast, the House will be thrown into turmoil no elected speaker, and the prospect of additional ballots and a whole lot of intrigue before the new speaker is chosen and sworn in.

Every sentient American knows why Boehner is having a restless holiday season: His make-or-break effort to get his colleagues to vote for his Plan B to give him leverage in his negotiation over the fiscal cliff with President Obama broke, as Republicans balked at supporting their leader. With no Plan B, no alternative Plan C and a conservative base angry and frustrated, it is perhaps not surprising that a group of conservatives has reportedly hatched a plan to oust the speaker.

Read more about Look beyond the Capitol for the next speaker on The Washington Post.

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