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October 10, 2023 01:42 PM UTC

Can War Put Kevin McCarthy Back Together Again?

  • by: Colorado Pols
How you like me now?

The ouster last week of Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy took on a whole new shade of irresponsible over the weekend, as geopolitical events made the smallest of potatoes out of the objections of the “Gaetz Eight” including Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck to a functioning House if led by Kevin McCarthy. Although House Republicans were ready and willing to leave Ukraine to twist in order to avert a government shutdown, the shock of the surprise attack by Hamas this weekend that has left hundreds of Israeli civilians dead and/or taken hostage was enough for even Matt Gaetz to recognize his actions were having negative consequences.

Politico reports today that with the two principal Republican candidates to replace McCarthy as speaker struggling to cobble together majority support, McCarthy just might allow fellow Republicans to come crawling back:

A bloc of Kevin McCarthy’s most vocal GOP supporters, many of them centrists, are vowing to nominate the former speaker to return to the job and support him for as long as they can.

Three House Republicans involved in the effort to return the gavel to McCarthy — which is flaring up just a week after his historic ejection — say they expect dozens of colleagues to initially vote for the Californian during this week’s internal conference debate over speaker candidates.

Their plans depend on whether McCarthy is nominated, as expected, and may prevent either of the declared candidates to replace him — Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio — from garnering a majority on the first ballot.

The Washington Post reports that McCarthy is indeed willing to take the job again, a 180-degree reversal from the week before when he swore off the prospect, out of a sense of duty, egotism or masochism–pick one:

With the speakership vacant, McCarthy attempted to fill the leadership void Monday as he prescribed a five-point plan to immediately support Israel, which many of his allies saw as a signal that he is open to being renominated for speaker.

“It is abundantly clear that McCarthy is unwavering in his commitment to aid Israel, keep our government open and address the current needs of the American people,” said Rep. John S. Duarte (R-Calif.), a freshman moderate in the conference. “He is the rightful speaker who should have remained in his role had it not been for the personal agendas of a handful of individuals who are fixated on causing chaos.”

If McCarthy were to get his gavel back, Republicans who have already pledged to support one of his successors would find themselves in a tough spot. Last week, former Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner threw his weight behind Rep. Steve Scalise, which we concede that given Gardner’s track record might have been an omen not good news. Either way, both Reps. Jim Jordan and Scalise voted against removing McCarthy, so it would be difficult for either of them to complain if McCarthy makes a comeback.

Jordan and Scalise are still set as of this writing to participate in a “candidate forum” later today, but the newfound urgency to get the House in order so Republicans don’t take the blame for leaving Israel without support in their moment of greatest need means there’s no more time to dicker around with a lengthy debate. Jordan’s renewed threats to shut down the government rather than hammer out a reality-based deal are a reminder of the self-generated political chaos that suddenly looks so out of place in light of global events.

Of course, as soon as the immediate crisis in the Middle East subsides, a resurrected McCarthy will find himself right back where he started–unless McCarthy gets the rule change that Rep. Lauren Boebert offered to Jordan ending the ability of any one member to call a motion to vacate. McCarthy’s bad faith in negotiations with Democrats during the latest shutdown threat gives them no more reason to come to his aid now, so Republicans will either have to humiliatingly undo their leadership debacle…or not.

A whole world of adults is impatiently waiting.


4 thoughts on “Can War Put Kevin McCarthy Back Together Again?

    1. I’m starting to believe that McCarthy will ultimately be reinstated.

      I see circumstances where neither Scalise nor Jordan have 217 and a handful make good on their threats to vote for McCarthy. After more mutual recrimination and navel-gazing, the prolonged war in the Middle East, and the approach of 11/17, some of those 18 Republican representatives from Biden-districts will talk with the moderate members of the Dem caucus about a way of either getting active support for My Kevin (unlikely without concessions from My Kevin), or more likely, a way in which Dems could vote “present” and make the restoration possible.

      If this comes to be, then in the future when you look up the term “clusterfuck” in the dictionary, it will have a picture of Matt Gaetz next to it.

  1. McCarthy being reinstated would be the dumbest outcome… which is why I see that as very likely. It would be especially dumb if McCarthy continues to say he doesn't want the job and then gets it back. That would be completely absurd.

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