If Only They Had Boehner

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Watching the lead up to tomorrow’s Speaker vote, the supreme irony is you can see in painful detail and intensity just how much the Republican House caucus needed John Boehner. What’s happening right now doesn’t even rise to the level of conflict or disorder. That gives it too much credit. Kevin McCarthy was already saddled with all the baggage of John Boehner – in terms of holding the reins of responsibility, establishment backing, need to prevent catastrophic damage to GOP, etc. But since he entered the race it’s been clear he’s not at all good at leading the caucus – definitely not in the public spokesman sense, and seemingly not in the backroom sense either. So he’s got Boehner’s liabilities and then an entirely new one.

Meanwhile, everybody seems to be either saying that McCarthy isn’t up to the job or just staying mum – which at the moment amounts to the same. Yet, they will almost certainly elect him speaker of the House tomorrow.

Meanwhile, you have the ‘Freedom Caucus’ (‘freedom’ because it’s a clandestine group that refuses to publicly discuss who’s a member obviously) is hinting that they may vote against him as a group – even though they seem neither inclined nor able to put forward one of their own.

The only remotely known challenger to McCarthy is Jason Chaffetz but no one seems to take him seriously either personally or as a potential Speaker.

And here’s maybe the biggest thing. I mentioned Trey Gowdy earlier. But we’ve had numerous examples of this. Members of standing in the caucus who give every sign that they’ll vote for McCarthy and yet keep making public statements criticizing him and giving very little reason to believe they think he’ll be a good Speaker. If you’re Gowdy and say what McCarthy did was really unforgiveable and you really wish you could be voting for Paul Ryan – why do you say that exactly? I can get where you may feel that. But why say that right now?

It’s no so much chaos or different groups working at cross purposes as no real plan on anybody’s part about what the plan is or what they want to happen. The one exception is the “Freedom Caucus” which seems to want McCarthy to publicly agree that they own him in advance of the vote as opposed to making the pledge in private and letting everyone just assume.

This is the House absent John Boehner.

And There’s More …

Just as I was getting ready to push publish on this post, we got word that the ‘Freedom Caucus’ has chosen to vote for Daniel Webster, a far right member of the House who among other things is closely tied to the now-disgraced, cult leader beloved and followed by the Duggar family.

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