Normally in the attempted coup business, this is the part where the plotters get punished.

Those 25 Republicans who made a run at dumping John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE (R-Ohio) as Speaker of the House did not succeed in stopping the Speaker from winning a third term.

They had the backing of the American people — 60 percent of those who voted for Republicans in the 2014 midterms say they want a new Speaker.


They had more rebels willing to take the risks than at any time in the last 100 years.

And they had momentum with voters resoundingly favoring conservative candidates and conservative policies in the elections.

Voters did not go for pastel. They went for "end ObamaCare, defund amnesty, lower taxes now." These are bright colors, bold distinctions, and they are not Boehner's cup of tea.

But what the plotters didn't have was a coordinated strategy for pulling it off or a candidate to siphon enough votes to force extra ballots. They tried to beat something with nothing, and the results were sadly predictable.

But what now? Should the speaker not exact revenge if for no other reason than to enforce party discipline?

Yes, it gets frustrating — this inexplicable defense of the status quo, this let's-stick-together-through-one-more-cycle mentality that has plagued the party since the end of the George W. Bush era.

It's never quite time to fight, according to Boehner and his allies. It's always just make one more compromise, swallow one more debt-limit increase, fund ObamaCare one last time — until the big election comes and things change in our direction.

And things did change; the GOP now controls the Senate and has more Republicans in the House than at any time since 1928. And Boehner might well not seem the guy to lead this new Congress.

But in November, when new members could have made the case for going in another direction, they didn't. They didn't make the case to their colleagues, and they, again, did not propose a viable candidate to replace him. The Republican caucus overwhelmingly voted to keep him as Speaker then, and not a lot of votes were changed in the interim.

So what about those plotters?

Boehner signaled worse to come when he knocked two off the Rules Committee. Many in Congress would consider it worse punishment to be put on the Rules Committee, but that is another matter.

But he now is said to be considering restraint, and this seems the better approach. Exact the pound of flesh — he has that coming. Then, put those members back on committees where they can make a difference.

And, more importantly, work with them to enlist support for each others' initiatives and to strengthen the party's hand going into 2016. Recognize that the plotters represent large swaths of the conservative coalition, and make an effort to understand and advocate for their priorities where possible.

The Speaker is said to hate being called a "squish" or "spineless" or a figure of the establishment. This gives him an opportunity to show it and shore up his troublesome right flank at the same time.

Division within the party at such a critical time breeds weakness. The president, "unleased," as Charles Krauthammer says after having run his last race, is ready to pounce with a variety of initiatives to help his party recover in 2016.

Boehner and the plotters need each other. He needs them to pass important bills on jobs and the economy. If conservatives work with him, those bills will be shaped to their liking. If not, they will be shaped to attract the Democratic votes needed to pass them.

Remember, 71 percent of voters said they want the Republican Congress to use its new muscle to help them with jobs and the economy, and only 23 percent wanted Congress to serve primarily as a check on President Obama.

So the truth is, it was not time to revolt against the Speaker. There was no viable alternative, and his support in the caucus was too strong. But what the Speaker has too often stood for was litigated in the 2014 elections, and not favorably for him.

In other words, there is room on both sides for compromise, for growth and for success. The plotters have to admit defeat, roll up their sleeves and get to work for what is still and always will be their team. And the Speaker needs to admit the gap that has formed between his views and those of the voters who support his party.

And that means letting the plotters back in the fold and keeping the focus on getting things done and paving the way for a Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election.

O'Connell is the chairman of CivicForumPAC, worked on the 2008 McCain-Palin presidential campaign and is author of the book Hail Mary: The 10-Step Playbook for Republican Recovery.