not *just* because it would be the funniest possible outcome, but because this is the kind of hubris that puts people who are on the fence firmly on the opposite side of you
— GOLIKEHELLMACHINE (@golikehellmachi) January 2, 2023
Odds are, in the end, Kevin McCarthy gets his dream job because all potential challengers are either too smart to try, or too disorganized to win, at taking him down. But for us Democrats, it’s great fun to watch the sausage being made! Gift (un-paywalled) link to the Washington Post‘s excellent, exhaustive story:
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and his allies have spent the holiday weekend working the phones and meeting with members, trying to salvage his career goal of becoming speaker on Tuesday as Republicans continue to argue over whether he deserves the top spot.
While an overwhelming majority of Republicans want to elect McCarthy (Calif.) as speaker, roughly 15 have put the outcome in serious doubt. McCarthy can afford to lose only four Republicans in Tuesday’s floor vote, and the razor-thin margin has emboldened staunch conservatives within the House Freedom Caucus, who have made specific demands in exchange for their votes…
Five Republicans have remained firm in their opposition to McCarthy, or are leaning toward no, since the midterms. They include Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), who lost to McCarthy in a conference vote behind closed doors in November but will challenge him publicly on the floor Tuesday.
McCarthy met with key lawmakers across the ideological spectrum Monday evening to walk through what to expect Tuesday. No breakthrough occurred, as the holdouts emerged reiterating to reporters that they were still against his candidacy.
While McCarthy has made numerous concessions in an effort to win the holdouts’ votes, including changes to a provision that could limit his time as speaker, nine additional Republicans signed a letter late Sunday calling McCarthy’s proposal “insufficient,” further signaling that his ascent remains unassured…
Privately, McCarthy remains defiant, keeping some final tactics available as he intends to stay on the floor Tuesday as long as it may take to get elected, according to several lawmakers who, like others for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private and ongoing deliberations.
“To use his words, if they’re playing a game of chicken, he’s ripped the steering wheel out of the dashboard and he’s got his foot to the floor,” one Republican lawmaker said, paraphrasing a recent quip by McCarthy…
[McCarthy’s sweaty-fingered grasp on the English language remains… sweaty.]
McCarthy’s potential failure to clinch the necessary 218 votes to become speaker could derail the 16-year congressional career that he has paved to reach this moment. Although he is known for his ability to trade favors in hopes of gaining trust, his quest could be for naught if he is unable to overcome the demands by some who seek to weaken the power of the speakership.
McCarthy, who entered the rungs of leadership just two years after he was first elected, in 2007, had a front-row seat to how the Freedom Caucus influenced the demise of the speakerships of John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Paul D. Ryan (Wis.). Seeing how both men tried to ostracize the Freedom Caucus from the mainstream Republican Party, McCarthy instead embraced the group, even after Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) in 2015 led the group in opposition to McCarthy succeeding Boehner as the chamber’s top Republican.
“[McCarthy is] a very strong relationship guy,” said Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster who is close friends with McCarthy. “Most congressional leaders, the higher they climb, the less they listen. Kevin’s been exactly the opposite, and that’s been the secret of his success.”…
An endorsement from Frank Luntz — just what McCarthy needed in his time of trouble!
Also, the recent kerfuffle in the GOP septic tank has surfaced some memories of the last time, back in 2015, that McCarthy failed to attain his dream job: Whatever Happened to the Scandal That Derailed Kevin McCarthy’s Last Bid for Speaker?
NEW: Just caught up w @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy in the Capitol.
He said he's feeling "actually really good" as he entered the speaker of the House suite on the second floor of the Capitol.
I asked him if he'd set motion to vacate at one, and he smiled and walked in the office
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 2, 2023
FWIW — House Democrats tell me they will be at full attendance tomorrow. If that's the case, and if all Republicans show up, the House will be at 434 and McCarthy needs 218 to win.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 2, 2023
In order to secure enough votes to become speaker, he will have to make a bargain with more than one devil. https://t.co/jTYpk040k0
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) December 31, 2022
… Remember Richard Harris in the egregious 1970 movie, A Man Called Horse, in which Harris is a British nobleman who joins the Sioux, but not before he completes initiation rites that include being hung up by the thorax with pins? Next week, McCarthy will undergo something similar—except, unlike Harris’ John Morgan, McCarthy also will have to listen to Marjorie Taylor Greene. The arrangement is blatantly unconstitutional as a violation of the Eighth Amendment. It’s cruel and she’s unusual.
You see, McCarthy wants to be speaker of the House of Representatives. Nero didn’t want to be emperor as much as McCarthy wants to be speaker. Poisoning his rivals being unavailable as a campaign strategy, McCarthy has determined instead to further poison the political culture. He has already promised endless snipe hunts into everything from the administration’s COVID and border policies to Hunter Biden’s laptop, soon to replace “But Her Emails” as shorthand for pointless wastes of time, money, and political energy, all of which would be better spent on actual problems…
Only McCarthy’s vestigial conscience can tell him if the gavel is worth his coming humiliation. At the moment, for all his truckling and groveling, he still might not have the votes. Largely through the efforts of the people he’s currently placating and the former president* to whom they remain enthralled, the new Republican majority in the House is a slim 10 votes, which means that—assuming no Democrats vote for him, and god help any who do—with six new members already on record as refusing to vote for him, McCarthy is two votes short of what he needs. Since the establishment of the Constitution, only 14 elections for speaker have gone to multiple ballots; the last of them occurred in 1923, the only time it’s happened in the years since the Civil War…
Two years? It may only be two days. https://t.co/WBKQHoKyB5
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) January 2, 2023
Backup backup plan for the "Only Kevin" caucus should be to find another guy named Kevin. See if Costner is available
— your himbo boyfriend (@swolecialism) January 1, 2023
Republicans could theoretically vote for a speaker who is not in the house but who reflects their values, like say Dennis Hastert.
— Jean-Michel Connard (@torriangray) January 2, 2023
(Yep, you’re not the only one who thought Denny was dead. As my people say: Heaven won’t have him, and Hell doesn’t want him.)