09/24/2010 02:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Clyburn Alleges GOP Lawmakers Are Gunning For Boehner's Post

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) argued on Thursday that members of Republican leadership are gunning to replace House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as nominal party head, tripping up the GOP's electoral prospects in the process.

In an interview with the Huffington Post on Thursday, the South Carolina Democrat insisted that a "mutiny" within the Republican ranks had compelled their members to put out the 21-page blueprint for governance deemed "The Pledge."

"I think they have done this simply because they were pushed into it," Clyburn said. "The Tea Party people are delivering them flawed candidates in these primaries. They have mutiny within their own caucus. Boehner is raising the drapes and he has people very close to him saying: 'Not so fast, I may be the one that is the Speaker.' So you have all of this stuff taking place within their caucus and I think they rushed out with this [Pledge] and now they are going to have to live with this."

Offered just hours after Republican lawmakers unveiled their modern (perhaps recycled) version of the Contract with America, Clyburn's remarks were a rough advance of an emerging Democratic argument: that the Republican Party is engaged in a round of political cannibalism.

In his attempt to sow doubts about GOP unity, the South Carolina Democrat was not speaking with direct or first-hand experience. But his suggestion that current Republican leadership is being gunned at by its own members is not entirely imagined. The Pledge was meant, in part, to be a unifying document for a Republican Party still trying to grapple with the emergence of the Tea Party movement. The early reviews suggest that it fell a bit short of that goal, with organizations like Club for Growth and conservative luminaries like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich saying it lacked a certain boldness.

The document also gave Democrats an inviting target. And on Thursday, Clyburn elaborated as to why he has given the document the moniker, "The Plague."

If you are going to repeal the Patients Bill of Rights I cannot think of a more apt word to apply what's going to happen to families who are having their benefits [taken away]; what's going to happen to children born with diabetes; and what is going to happen to women who are getting these rescission notices in the middle of their treatment for breast cancer, or men with prostate cancer. This will visit a plague upon those families.

And so that is what they are after. They are promising to repeal the Patient Bill of Rights. If you look at what they are talking about with jobs. They are talking about continuing these tax cuts to businesses that ship jobs overseas. That would visit a plague upon those families that are losing their jobs hand over fist as a result of it. You can go through their entire platform and they can call it a pledge if they want to. I think it is a plague.