Area wingnut too honest to be Speaker

Kevin McCarthy has dropped his bid to be Speaker of the House. From the New York Times:

Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy was damaged when he suggested in an interview on Fox News last week that the House committee investigating Benghazi had the political aim of damaging Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.

As shocked members left the room there was a sense of total disarray, with no clear path forward and no set date for a new vote. Representative Peter King, Republican of New York, said that in dropping out of race, Mr. McCarthy told the room, “I’m not the one to unify the party.”

Kevin McCarthy, via Wikimedia Commons

Kevin McCarthy, via Wikimedia Commons

Hilarious? Absolutely. Scary? Even more so. McCarthy’s bid failed because he was too honest about his party’s Benghazi hearings, which exacerbated the fact that he was somehow not conservative enough for Republicans on the right side of the entirely independent ideological spectrum they’ve created for themselves. Now that he’s out and the ultra-conservative wing of the party has flexed its muscles, whoever the Republicans do eventually pick as Speaker will likely be even farther to the right than McCarthy. That throws raising the debt ceiling (deadline: November 5) and funding the government (deadline: December 11) into serious doubt. And while the Republican Party may not think those deadlines are major concerns, the rest of the country sure as hell should.

This disarray on Capitol Hill is especially worrisome given that Republicans seem to not have the faintest idea as to who’s going to step up to fill McCarthy’s shoes as the establishment pick to succeed John Boehner, which only gives the 42-member coalition that denied McCarthy a majority even more power. Shortly following McCarthy’s announcement, Rep. Charlie Dent was quoted as saying that Paul Ryan was the only person who could get 218 votes from the Republican caucus, but Ryan immediately shot down speculation that he would mount a bid.

Dent also added that electing a new speaker may require a “bipartisan coalition,” which would mean the slightly-less-insane wing of the Republican Party finding a candidate House Democrats would accept.

Fingers crossed.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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21 Responses to “Area wingnut too honest to be Speaker”

  1. Indigo says:

    I share your glee. And like you, I’m puzzled that the Democrats have never bothered to launch the kind of resistance that the Republicans have earned.

  2. zorbear says:

    No matter who you vote for, you wind up with a politician…

  3. mf_roe says:

    I find it hilarious that Webster’s gerrymandered district is being redrawn under court order and is almost certainly likely to be dem in 2016. I really see no possibility of things improving and much prefer that everyone focus on crafting an agenda for correcting the flaws within the dems positions. The repugs are toxic,but the dems also have a record of unmet goals that many independents consider as proof that neither party is trustworthy.

    Had the dems resisted Bush as strongly as the repugs have worked against Obama we would be better off. Structurally the failures we see in the repugs are present in the dem agenda. Both sides use wedge issues and misdirection of their supporters. Neither party is consistent in delivering on their promises.

    We can laugh at the repug “Dumpster Fire”, it really is exactly what they deserve, but the spectacle of dems pushing yet another Trade Concession on American workers, major dem candidates disavowing reenactment of Glass-Stegal, and the disgusting defense of the empowerment of Health INSURERS as an improvement of the welfare of citizens is a far sadder prospect.

    The Tea Party WAS NEVER a threat to the dems, it is not new voters it is a rebellion within the repugs. The dems have done precious little to exploit the disarray of the repugs.

    The repugs will survive the Speakership cockup, they will rebuild as even more objectionable than they are now if the dems fail to get their own house in order

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  5. Indigo says:

    See my note on Webster above. He’ll be entertaining, if he gets enough publicity. I doubt very much that he’s electable to anything outside of rural, redneck Florida. (Just west of Orlando a smidgen or two.)

  6. Indigo says:

    Daniel Webster (FL, 10th Congressional District, R) sees himself in control of the “conservative” wing of the Republican Party and powerful enough to have “toppled” McCarthy from the speaker of the House position because he, Webster, is the true voice of “conservatism.” Side note: he carries a bible with him most of the time. It’s a sign of his commitment to “conservatism.”

    For your amusement:

  7. rmthunter says:

    If I were him, I wouldn’t be counting any chickens just yet — the Speaker is elected by a vote of the whole House.

  8. rmthunter says:

    There’s also the fact that the teabaggers don’t negotiate — not only are they unwilling, they don’t know how — and the Speaker needs to negotiate.

  9. nicho says:

    I don’t know who’s in the caucus, but aren’t a lot of these people who came in on the Tea Party wave, meaning they don’t have a lot of experience or background in government? It’s the biggest argument against the “throw all the bums out” philosophy. You need to know something about how the system works.

  10. nicho says:

    I don’t know. The feces flinging could create a hazmat situation.

  11. nicho says:

    Tea Partiers have finally settled on a candidate

  12. BeccaM says:

    Well, there was also a blogger who floated/repeated a rumor about him and Ellmers…

    By most accounts, it’s theorized to have been a sandbagging effort to make him unelectable as Speaker. At this point, McCarthy may be lucky just to hang onto his seat in the House.

  13. Hue-Man says:

    Peter Principle: “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”

    Lack of experience – an argument against term limits.

    I find it strange that in a caucus of over-achievers, there are few candidates for the leadership position. Either they’re “sheeple” or the job is so unattractive, potential leaders are hiding in an undisclosed secure location.

  14. Naja pallida says:

    Boehner is a sad fool. If he was smart, he’d just walk away and leave them to sort it out on their own.

  15. BeccaM says:

    I’m seeing reports via several outlets now that Boehner won’t step down until his replacement is found and agreed upon by a majority sufficient to elect him*.

    (* = It’s the GOP. They’re never going to pick a woman for any significant leadership position.)

  16. Naja pallida says:

    Going through McCarthy’s interviews over the last week or two, I’m surprised he didn’t cite his health as a reason for quitting. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was suffering from a stroke.

  17. Naja pallida says:

    He’s not too honest. He’s just protecting his own ass. He knows whoever the next Speaker is will have to contend with nothing but mopping shit, and have no choice but to take the blame for it all. Even though it’s the party in general that is the real problem, not the person holding the gavel.

    The Republican party has worked very hard to make sure they stacked the House with loons, idiots and extremists, carefully nurturing them like the petulant children they are. Now that house of cards is finally starting to fall apart under its own ridiculousness, and nobody wants to be the one to don the albatross.

  18. BeccaM says:

    While the Benghazi BS was damaging to his prospects, I actually think what brought McCarthy down was due to a number of factors:
    – He’s not the horse-trader Boehner is and seems incapable of coalition-building within his own party.
    – He’s one of the least experienced majority leaders ever selected by his party.
    – The Tea Baggers have declared open revolt, and will not budge off their arsonist tactics until they get 10000% of their ever changing wingnutty demands.
    – McCarthy is a mess, and it’s a wonder he’s been elected to Congress at all given his seeming inability to speak coherently. (Of course, coming from an ultra-safe GOP district in California didn’t hurt.)

    In the past, the Republicans, not having a clear choice for leader, would’ve opted for a placeholder or caretaker Speaker, until after the next election. In fact, that seems to have been his role as House Majority Leader, chosen not for his acumen or political skills, but because he wasn’t terribly ambitious but he was loyal to the party leadership, as evidenced by his rapid and steady rise in the ranks. Now though? The man rose above the level of his own incompetence, and now the sharks will have him.

  19. dcinsider says:

    “Dent also added that electing a new speaker may require a “bipartisan coalition,” which would mean the slightly-less-insane wing of the Republican Party finding a candidate House Democrats would accept.”

    Name 10. Seriously. There really is not a slightly less insane wing. There are 247 insane people, most of whom are off their meds.

  20. Indigo says:

    You’re gonna luv Webster; he’s got the glib.

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