If Only They Had Boehner

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.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
  • |
    August 11, 2022 4:22 p.m.

    Federal judge orders DOJ to confer with Trump lawyers and report to him by 3 PM tomorrow about how to…

  • |
    August 11, 2022 3:41 p.m.

    A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss stunning developments in Kansas…

  • |
    August 11, 2022 3:15 p.m.

    Two significant takeaways from Garland’s presser. Garland personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant and carry out the…

  • |
    August 11, 2022 2:20 p.m.

    We’re awaiting a statement from AG Merrick Garland currently scheduled for 2:30 PM eastern. Presumably this is about the incident…

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: