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December 19, 2022 1:03 pm

Kevin McCarthy's Season of Discontent

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Shots metaphorically fired as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene bodyslams Rep. Lauren Boebert for her lack of fealty to Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy:

Perhaps in the end there really can be only one.


House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is 1-2-3-4-5 votes short of the speakership.

There will be a vote on January 3, 2023 to elect the next Speaker of the U.S. House. But as CNN’s Manu Raju reports, what happens then is more up in the air than it has been in exactly 100 years:

Republicans who will chair House committees in the next Congress are warning that if Kevin McCarthy’s detractors deny him the 218 votes needed to become speaker, they are at risk of undermining the slim majority they won in November.

“Let us not squander this majority before we even take back the gavels,” the incoming chairs write in a letter on Monday. “Time is of the essence, and the American people want us to get to work now. Majorities are earned, never given – and the American people will remember how we choose to begin ours.”

The letter is part of the growing public pressure campaign against the five GOP dissidents – Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Bob Good of Virginia and Matt Rosendale of Montana – who promise their numbers will only grow in a race in which McCarthy can’t lose more than four GOP votes. Former President Donald Trump has called on the five members to back off their opposition to McCarthy and the House GOP leader has contended that their opposition could put the Republican agenda “in jeopardy.”

The so-called “Never Kevin” bloc of Republican hardliners could grow to many more than the five sufficient to deny Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy the speakership before January 3rd, but just the five who have promised to vote as a bloc are enough to derail McCarthy’s easy ascension. The 188-31 vote in late November by the Republican caucus formally nominating McCarthy for the position left him well short of the support needed if Democrats choose not to intervene on McCarthy’s behalf–and we haven’t seen anything to suggest that Democrats are interested in alleviating McCarthy’s pain.

If Democrats leave McCarthy to twist at the hands of his caucus, and they should, McCarthy may be forced to make concessions beyond what’s already been offered to the far right of his caucus, including Rep. Lauren Boebert’s demand that rules be changed to allow speakers to be ousted from their position at any time. Boebert herself claims to have “made up her mind” about McCarthy last week, but is not publicly revealing how she intends to vote. On the other hand, Boebert’s partner in headline-seeking far-right antics, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has been pretty upfront how McCarthy purchased her support as the New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer reports today:

I followed Greene after her speech and asked what McCarthy had promised her. We were walking briskly in the direction of the House floor. Her press aide was filming our exchange with his phone. “I’m looking forward to serving on the Oversight Committee,” she said, [Pols emphasis] naming a House committee likely to lead congressional investigations into the Biden Administration. “That’ll start in January.”

Winning the House majority however narrowly has been good for Boebert, who was appointed to the Republican Policy Committee after barely surviving what should have been an easy re-election. But unfortunately for Boebert, the one thing McCarthy is reportedly resisting is the thing Boebert is demanding:

Recently, McCarthy has been in marathon meetings with members of the Freedom Caucus, trying to reach agreements on changes to the House rules. The one demand he has actively resisted is the “motion to vacate the chair,” the strategy that pressured Boehner: it would allow a single member to force a vote on McCarthy’s ouster. It’s the only deal breaker for McCarthy because it’s the only one that directly threatens his Speakership. [Pols emphasis] He appears to be flexible on nearly everything else.

If McCarthy gives in and allows this change to allow any member to file a motion to oust the speaker, it severely weakens McCarthy as he tries to maintain control over his fractious little majority. But if Boebert caves and votes for McCarthy without this concession, Boebert is the one who looks weak. There are absolutely no ideological conflicts in play here, only power mechanics. The inmates want a say in the management of the asylum.

Salvation may yet await McCarthy in a smoke-filled backroom between now and January 3rd, and in that case we’ll find out when everybody else does. A protracted floor fight over McCarthy’s fate when the new House convenes would be another backside-baring embarrassment for Republicans and stymie momentum for the new majority’s vow to waste the country’s time on two nonstop years of retaliatory investigations, but it probably won’t turn into another January 6th.

It’ll be January 3rd. And hopefully no one cares enough about Kevin McCarthy to start a riot.


4 thoughts on “Kevin McCarthy’s Season of Discontent

  1. You remember when bimBoebert was asked about mudwrestling AOC?  Maybe someone should ask her if she'd mudwrestle MTG.

    But Empty G firing shots at Low Rent Barbie:  

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