House GOP must stop this madness over speaker and go after Biden


As generations of students learned in typing class, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.” It’s a pity so many House Republicans either missed that class or forgot they were supposed to help their own party, not the other one.

The GOP’s inability to elect a Speaker despite having a majority is more than a personal rebuke to the presumed leader, Kevin McCarthy of California. It’s a mark of incompetence and a worrisome sign the party is so fractured it will not be able to unite to accomplish anything of significance for the next two years.

Instead of being a check on the White House and the Democrat-controlled Senate and using its investigative power to probe President Biden and his family’s corrupt business deals, the chaos suggests too many Republicans are freelancing and engaged in a fools’ errand masquerading as an act of principle.

As such, it’s amateur hour and a mystery over what the holdouts stand for, in part because they don’t have a viable alternative to McCarthy. In the first roll call, they scattered their 19 of the 222 votes among five or six other people. In the second round, all 19 voted for Ohio’s Jim Jordan — after Jordan gave a stirring floor speech in favor of McCarthy!

By the third round, 20 voted for Jordan, even as he continued to support McCarthy.

This is madness. The reasons for opposing McCarthy seem either vague or more personal than substantive, especially after he made so many concessions to win their votes. But it was never enough because their opposition is, at this late stage, fundamentally incoherent. Most important, a shootout in a lifeboat is not a persuasive argument that the party is ready to govern.

McCarthy is viewed as a skilled fundraiser and Republicans picked up seats in the last two elections when he was minority leader.
New York Post

The clown show was a gift to Democrats, with all 212 of their members united in backing Brooklyn’s Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker. That was at least 15 more votes than McCarthy ever got, even though the GOP has 10 more members. No wonder Nancy Pelosi looked so happy. Having stepped down from leadership, she could relax and enjoy watching the other party squander its power in a childish temper tantrum from the likes of Matt Gaetz, a Florida rep investigated for underage sex trafficking.

Pelosi might also have felt vindicated in the way she always managed to keep Dems united, even when they also had a narrow majority. Recall that AOC and her little squad of far lefties made a lot of noise, but never felt the need — or the courage — to block anything Pelosi regarded as important.

At this rate, I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see the amateurs on the GOP side screw up and accidentally stumble into a scenario where Jeffries gets elected Speaker!

That would serve them right, though it would be a gross disservice to the tens of millions of Americans who voted for a Republican House in hopes it could slam the brakes on Biden’s disastrous policies.

Hakeem Jeffries
Incoming House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is acknowledged on the first day of the 118th Congress in the House Chamber of the US Capitol Building.
Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker

Needless to say, the Dems’ media handmaidens were giddy Tuesday as Republicans shot themselves in one foot, then reloaded to shoot themselves in the other foot.

None of this is to claim McCarthy is an ideal leader. Amiable to a fault, he’ll never be confused with a visionary Newt Gingrich, the one modern GOP Speaker who united the party around a set of clear principles and forced a Democratic president into significant compromises on spending and other issues.

When Bill Clinton declared in his 1996 State of the Union address that “the era of big government is over,” it was only because of Gingrich’s leadership — not just in winning a majority, but in uniting it.

For his part, McCarthy is viewed as a skilled fundraiser and Republicans picked up seats in the last two elections when he was minority leader. That includes 20 pickups in the 2020 election, where Donald Trump lost to Biden.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is known as a modern GOP speaker who united the party around a set of clear principles.
Getty Images

And while the red wave predicted for last year failed to materialize, the party did win enough seats to fire Pelosi. But the whole point of gaining a majority seems to be lost on the holdouts.

As Jordan, a leader of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said in his remarks supporting McCarthy, the failure of Republicans to unite would mean more trillion-dollar spending blowouts and that those behind the “weaponization” of the government against the public’s First Amendment rights would never be held accountable.

“To my friends here on this side of the aisle, I would just say this. The differences we may have . . . pale in comparison to the differences between us and the left, which now unfortunately controls the other party,” Jordan said. “So we had better come together and fight for these key things.”

He’s absolutely right, but that he even needs to remind his own party of the stakes now is distressing. Let’s hope the rebels without a cause come to their senses before they turn conservatism into a punch line.


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