McCarthy (Finally!) Staggers into the Speakership

Establishment Republicans in Washington proved over the last four days why a lot of them


disappeared – or reserved no subsequent words of significant revulsion – as rank-and-file Donald Trump supporters overran the U.S. Capitol two years ago to the day.

Wearing Halloween costumes and wreaking havoc is easy.

Governing is hard, particularly when the general election red wave they coaxed and stoked and coached and counted on never showed up last year.

Still, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, finally prevailed on his 15th try, the anvil of Jan. 6th, 2021 much in evidence as he staggered across the jagged GOP finish line to become speaker.

On his 14th vote, he had exactly half the support of the chamber.

216 of 432.

(His Democratic opponent, Hakeem Jeffries, received 212).

Not good enough.

He needed a single vote.

And that single vote would not move.

McCarthy exchanged words with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, an intra-party antagonist.

Gaetz has led the GOP charge against McCarthy, and – along with fellow never-McCarthy caucus member U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert – voted “present” instead of “aye.”

But on the 15th ballot, after the two men appeared to share a more civil few minutes on the floor, McCarthy didn’t need the support of Gaetz (or Boebert, for that matter), who both again voted “present,” as other holdouts loosened.

If the precise content of his spiritual confessions eluded the public eye, McCarthy’s concessions to the rightwing that gnawed at him all week would hardly put him in the strong speaker tradition of someone like Tip O’Neill.

As it was, his inability to tally and hold a majority held him hostage, at least for a while, enough to


make modern era speaker history – and not in a good way – as the person who took the most ballots to make the grade. Intra-party internal fracture remained McCarthy’s gravest threat, not a good sign two years removed from the day a mob overran and desecrated the United States Capitol on the orders of a president who lost an election.

And a grave threat to democracy itself remains McCarthy’s fear – not only of those who stormed the Capitol, but of the man who ordered it, former President Trump, who backed McCarthy for speaker.

“He was with me from the beginning,” the new speaker said of the former president.

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One response to “McCarthy (Finally!) Staggers into the Speakership”

  1. Congratulations, Kevin McCarthy.
    You have made history.

    You’re the first Congressman in 100 years to not be elected Speaker or the House on the first ballot.
    You’re the first Congressman in over 160 years to need as many as 15 ballots to be elected Speaker.

    And you are now the first eunuch to lead the House.

    Yes, Kevin fulfilled his ambition–but he basically surrendered all of the power that comes with it to a group of morons led by a Florida frat boy currently under investigation for his habit of bedding teenage girls. And a Colorado airhead whose husband was once busted for indecent exposure. Not to mention a twice-impeached former president who for all intents and purposes controlled the action like the late Technoblade.

    Under the Constitution, the Speaker of the House is behind only the Vice President in the line of succession to the White House in the event of death or incapacity. Is Kevin McCarthy the person the American people want in that position? Or is that the best the Republicans could come up with?

    Let’s look at how this Californian pimped himself out to hold the Speaker’s gavel:
    • He has allowed a rules change that would allow any one member of the House to make a “motion to vacate the chair”–essentially, a vote of no-confidence in McCarthy which would result in his removal–a change from the previous threshold of 50 members. How soon do you think Matt (Teenage Dream) Gaetz, Jim (Gym) Jordan, Lauren (Colorado Crazy) Boebert or any of the other insurrectionist supporters will utilize that rule?
    • He has agreed to allow votes on constitutional amendments imposing term limits for Congressman and a balanced budget–votes that have virtually no chance of passage, much less being approved by three-quarters of state governments.
    • Requiring any increases in the debt limit to be accompanied by spending cuts–which the hardliners such as the Freedom Caucus (another group that hides behind a patriotic name while they try to screw over the American people)–which would likely try to affect programs Americans have paid into, such as Social Security.
    • Allowing a greater representation of the Freedom Caucus onto key committees, such as the Rules Committee.
    • Create a “committee to investigate the weaponization of the federal government”, which is language meaning “payback for a committee that investigated the January 6 riots”.
    • Restoration of a rule allowing the salaries of government officials–but, of course, not their own.

    So McCarthy has basically surrendered himself to the whims of a group of self-aggrandizing glory hounds who are more interested in padding their MAGA credentials for a post-Congress career at Fox News, rather than working honestly to make the country better–and there’s no doubt the country can be better, but it takes a bipartisan effort to do so, but unfortunately there are many of the right who have no interest in bipartisanship. And those that do are subject to scorn, ridicule and threats from the Trumptard wing of the GOP.

    So, we can look forward to two years of drama, that will make good copy for reality television, but do absolutely nothing for promoting good government. Because the Senate–the adults in this scenario–will not acquiesce to the radicals in the Cult of Trump.

    Well, McCarthy, you got what you wished for. Too bad you sold your soul to get it. Maybe you should change your name to Faust.

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