As he walked into the nomination for speaker meeting this morning about 8:30 am Kevin McCarthy was telling reporters he was close to whipping up the 218 votes he needed to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Somewhere around three hours later he walked into a caucus meeting, just minutes before the election was about to begin and said, “I am not the one to lead the house at this time.”
With that one sentence the Republican party was thrown into chaos and it better get fixed soon (over at the DNC they must be throwing a party). A year before a presidential election the Democrats will now be able to say how can they run the country when they can’t run themselves (and they will be right). Not that McCarthy cutting out was a bad thing, but the party needs to get a speaker—pronto.
That announcement was more than a bombshell:
“The look of shock across the room was amazing,” said Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. Rep. Peter King of New York told reporters that McCarthy’s announcement during a meeting of House Republicans left everyone “absolutely stunned.” It had become clear that the caucus needed to be united and “he’s not the one” to do it, King said.
There are already tons of rumors about why McCarthy really dropped out including rumors of an affair with a female member of congress. Allow me to suggest that those rumors are a load of bulls**t. Those rumors have been running around the Internet for years and if they had the slightest bit of truth to them they would have been proven and outed by now. There are no “rumors” in the beltway, there are either secrets that everyone knows but won’t share or bulls**t. This is one falls into the latter category.
The most probable reason for McCarthy’s move is last night’s announcement that the house Freedom Caucus would vote as a block for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) as Speaker. It’s simple math there are 247 Republicans in the house, the loss of those 40 votes means the best he can do is 207 votes, 11 short of what he needs.
Kevin McCarthy didn’t get the votes he needed to be speaker for the same reason Donald Trump and Ben Carson are leading the GOP presidential pack as of now. America is angry. Republicans are angry, they worked hard to give the party the house in 2010 and were told they needed the senate to make things happen. So rank and file Republicans worked hard to win the senate for the party and nothing happened. The leadership is feckless, and I believe the recent fight over Planned Parenthood funding may have been the straw breaking the camel’s back. House leadership didn’t even allow congressmen to bring up defunding to floor.
Its not that McCarthy is a bad guy, its that he was perceived as same old, same old and Americans especially conservative ones did not want to replace John Boehner with someone who was perceived as a Boehner clone. And you have whiners such as Peter King blaming everything on the “conservative crazies.” One of his other comments today was “Basically they said they’re going to hold back their votes,” Rep. Peter King, New York Democrat, said. “This is unprecedented to have this small group, a tiny minority, hijack the party and blackmail the House.” Blackmail? Since when is voting the way your constituents wanted you to vote blackmail?
King doesn’t get it— the “moderate” wing of the party has been ruling the roost for the past five years, nothing has been accomplished, Obamacare is still the law, the deficit is still growing, the military budget is decimated, we have the federal government trying to take over education and marriage, both constitutionally local responsibilities. The supposedly moderate congressmen like Peter King talk a good game but over the past five years have accomplished nothing! Well…they’ve accomplished one thing, convincing people that it is time for a new leadership.
McCarthy probably went into the nominating meeting early this morning thinking he could peel off some votes from the freedom caucus and displayed that confidence to reporters, but when he realized his efforts were futile, he had no other choice.
So who’s next? Anybody who tells you they know is lying. There are few people who can unify the fractured GOP caucus. Paul Ryan is one, Trey Gowdy is another, but they both don’t want the job (heck, Gowdy doesn’t even want to stay in congress—he wants to be a judge). Boehner is pressuring Ryan to take the job, even Mitt Romney called him asking him to be the next speaker. But the former V.P. nominee likes being the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and even more importantly (for him) he has young kids and wants to be an involved dad (the speaker is a 24/7 job even more than V.P.).
There are some saying the house could go to someone outside of congress like Dick Cheney, or Newt Gingrich (you don’t need to be in congress to be speaker), allow me to first say that if nominated I will not run if elected I will not serve! The real truth is while possible via the constitution it will never happen, the job will not go to Newt, Cheney or anyone else who is not presently a member of congress.
Some of the pressure was relieved when present speaker, John Boehner said he would stay in the job until a new speaker is chosen. But in the end, Kevin McCarthy didn’t pull out of the race because something “strange” was happening. Kevin McCarthy pulled out because he couldn’t whip up enough votes and because the GOP leadership in the house continue to refuse to understand what is staring then in the face, American are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.