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Republicans In Flawless Disarray Over Tuesday's Speaker Vote
Grovel some more, Kevin!
Republican sort-of leader Kevin McCarthy has moved into the plush House speaker's suite at the Capitol, but he still doesn't have the magic 218 votes necessary to clinch his speakership bid. He could wind up like that Grampa Simpson meme where he enters a room and immediately leaves.
McCarthy has a plan, though. He's reportedly begged caucus members to support him and given away the farm in concessions: For instance, Jake Sherman from Punchbowl News says that McCarthy has folded on what was once a "red line" and agreed to a no-confidence motion that would let any five random Republicans call for a vote to can him at any time. We can expect that this will occur if he blinks on the debt ceiling or fails to impeach Joe Biden and Merrick Garland. At this rate, McCarthy will have to buy new farms to give away.
Even McCarthy's closest allies privately admit that it's "hard to see a path" to 218 right now. (Technically, he only needs a clear majority of the members present.) While just five Republicans are staunchly "Never Kevin" — Reps. Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, Ralph Norman, Matt Rosendale, and Bob Good — that's more than enough to sink him thanks to the Republicans' piddly-ass majority.
Several dozen Republicans have declared themselves "Only Kevin" (and Kevin alone). That makes an alternate speaker option less likely, on account of math. So, it seems like we're headed toward a fearsome floor battle with multiple ballots for the first time since 1923.
Biggs, who has challenged McCarthy for speaker, said last week that there's "no scenario" where he'd consider supporting McCarthy. He claimed McCarthy has a "track record of cutting backdoor deals with Democrats," and why would anyone want to see bipartisan legislating from the so-called speaker of the House?
It's been suggested that McCarthy might sidestep the "Never Kevin" contingent and find Democrats willing to save his sorry butt. This is not an idea so much as words assembled into sentence shape. McCarthy isn't like John Boehner, who some Democrats at least moderately respected. McCarthy is a craven Trump flunky who's already written vengeance checks against Democrats before he was sure he could cash them. Democrats have absolutely no reason to help McCarthy. He's already demonstrated that he's not a moderating influence on the QAnon kook wing. He's just Marjorie Taylor Greene's sock puppet.
“Former Speaker Newt Gingrich on “Never Kevin” Republicans, such at Matt Gaetz, who are unwilling to support Kevin McCarthy: “I think it’s a psychological problem. These guys can’t count straight. They can’t play tic-tac-toe. They can’t accept victory.””
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@PatriotTakes 🇺🇸) 1672669125
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who broke the House back in the 1990s, blamed the "Never Kevin" crew for this mess. During an interview this weekend, he declared, "I think it's a psychological problem. These guys can't count straight. They can't play tic-tac-toe. They can't accept victory." This is not entirely hyperbole. Gaetz probably would struggle with the rigorous rules surrounding tic-tac-toe.
How bad could it get Tuesday when these losers vote for speaker? Well, House members are sworn-in by the new speaker, so the new members remain members-elect until Republicans get their act together (on this specific issue). Even Fox News congressional reporter Chad Pergram is sounding alarms.
“23) And, there are no members of the House. Let me say that again: there are no members of the House. The House is not fully constituted because there is no Speaker to swear them in. The members-elect only become members when they are sworn-in by the Speaker.”
— Chad Pergram (@Chad Pergram) 1672673633
“25) And forget about staged photo-ops with the new Speaker. Those are on ice, too. Fox is told this could become a staring contest that takes days to play out. The reason is that both sides are so dug in that no one concedes right away.”
— Chad Pergram (@Chad Pergram) 1672673634
If the speaker vote drags on, Pergram writes, "The House will find itself in a posture not seen in 100 years. There's not a lot of precedent as to how things should unfold in the House. This is all we know on January 3: Cheryl Johnson, the Democratic Clerk of the House, remains in charge."
That actually sounds better than any of the Republican alternates to McCarthy. Cast Margot Robbie as Cheryl Johnson and she might finally get that hit film she deserves.
[ Roll Call ]
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