“Be careful what you wish for”

I’ve taken plenty of shots including some cheap ones at now former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. So have others. Lots of us have. Ever sine the vote to oust him a lot of self-satisfaction has been going around with powerful people and regular folks like me and readers of blogs like this. Yes, bi-partisanship still exists if in some pretty strange ways. Still, there’s a part of me and not a small one that’s telling me we should knock off dancing on McCarthy’s political grave.  He’s been the proverbial Devil we know. Plenty not to like about him, and even stuff to hate if you’re like me.  Still, for all that we knew who and what we were dealing with and you might think I’ve lost my mind there was a certain amount of predictability that we could actually count on.  I’ll get to that.

For now, I say put away the champagne or whatever spirit your using to celebrate and ponder the question of what’s happens now. The House is in recess for a week. That means work on dealing with the ONLY 45 days the CR kept the govt. open. Since funding, very needed funding (and the message it sends to the free world) was stripped out of the CR any work on an appropriation to restore it at a crucial moment in the war is on hold. There’s a big list of stuff Congress should be tending to and now we don’t know what will happen. True, the House has a temporary leader, a McCarthy stalwart but a lot of mischief can happen in a week and Matty Gaetz is already in his kitchen working on a new witche’s brew.

Remember back when we went through fifteen rounds of voting before McCarthy finally prevailed by giving away damned near every took he had to control his own caucus? Think about discussions of who might be put up for Speaker instead. While I’m at it let me piss off a lot of you. For all the talk from Democrats then, which we have heard more of today Hakeem Jeffries will NOT somehow wind up emerging from the mess as Speaker. He’s going to have to wait until Democrats again control the House.  Accept that FACT. Get over your outrage or disappointment about it and move on.

Look at it this way. Many including our very own Murfster point out all those new GOP Congress Critters (and a few holdovers) that got elected in districts President Biden carried in 2020. And that the red wave turned into not even a trickle but a few drops which is why McCarthy’s margin was so thin in the first place. If you think any of these people are going to suddenly say “My best chance at staying in office is to switch political Party, or at least vote for Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker you’re nuts.  Consider over the years hearing/reading about people who’ve switched Parties after being elected. How many have changed from the Republican to the Democratic Party?  Let us know if you can think of anyone, especially at the federal level. At most they become “unaffiliated” like Liz Cheney but if the GOP got itself together she’d be hard core GOP again in a heartbeat.

These people in these “Biden districts” or districts where they won by only five or six percent aren’t going to change sides.  They sure as hell aren’t moderate. Pragmatic? You bet but what matters is their complete lack of courage.  They aren’t about to risk their seats on lofty principles like supporting and defending the Constitution, or the good of the country and for that matter the free world!  The recent crossover of 90 of them Saturday for the CR notwithstanding they’ve had ample opportunity to to become old school legislators and hammer out deals. And it’s not like in the House at least they’d find all that many Democrats ready to go old-school.

So we get back to the question of who replaces McCarthy who I have to note was MAGA. He became MAGA so Trump would let him wheel and deal with the crazies to become Speaker. If being something other than MAGA would have gotten McCarthy his gavel he’d have done that but being MAGA was what it took.  Because even those in the GOP who are sick of MAGA are afraid of Trump setting MAGA nation on them and ending their political careers.  For all his troubles Trump still holds the power in the GOP so a MAGA will be what we get as the next Speaker. It sucks but that’s the reality we have to deal with.

The only question is whether it will be a regular MAGA or one of the truly bat-sh*t insane ones? I shudder at the thought of someone as sharp as Steve Scalise ascending to Speaker. McCarthy wasn’t forceful or all that competent. Scalise is. If you thought things were bad with McCarthy it would be worse with Scalise. Or how about Gym Jordan? Gaetz and his crew might decide it’s time to go all-in.  I for one don’t have confidence the rest of the House GOP would block it.  My point is this: I frequently say no matter how bad things get sometimes they can always get worse. Think about your own lives and I’m sure you’ll think of personal examples where that’s been true.

Again, McCarthy has been the Devil we know and one thing we could count on is that in some situations he could coldly and practically asses history – and blink. Like he did on the debt ceiling fight. Or this past weekend on the shutdown. He knows any chance of remaining Speaker would have been gone come Jan. 2025 if he’d allowed the U.S. to default or his crazies to force a shutdown.  How confident are you that the next Speaker (again it’s NOT going to be Jeffries) will at the last minute be pragmatic and blink? I for one believe we could have counted on “Cave-in” McCarthy to do so again. I genuinely fear we might not be so lucky when the CR expires. Or that an already out of control crazy-caucus will completely take over the House.

McCarthy is out, and the news this evening is that he’s not going to stand for the post of Speaker moving forward. Many people across the political spectrum are delighted tonight. I agree things will be different but will they be better? While I wasn’t sure McCarthy would be ousted I was more than a little concerned he would be and started being haunted by a scene near the end of Charlie Wilson’s War. Specifically the Zen Master story. I can’t help but think yes, McCarthy it out but is it a good thing? I urge you to watch the clip, and if you do you too will start thinking the answer to the question is “We’ll see.”

We’ve been sailing in rough, dangerous seas for years now due to Trump and MAGA. Now they’ve steered the ship into truly uncharted waters. This is no time for celebration. We have tons of work to do and we’d better be ready for any and every awful thing that flows from what happened today.



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  1. Fact: There were 130 republicans who voted for the CR, 90 who voted against.

    Fact: McCarthy was hardly a “known” entity. He was uniquely unreliable. He made promises to his own caucus that he apparently broke. He made a debt/budget deal w/Biden that he walked away from. He put the CR on the floor without even giving his own caucus a heads up, forget telling the Democrats. He followed that performance by going on the Sunday shows and claiming it was the Democrats that were pushing for a shutdown.

    Fact: They have a Speaker Pro Tem who can keep the train running. His first act was to evict Nancy Pelosi from her private office within 24 hrs, while she is out of town attending a funeral. He then followed up with a recess for a week.

    The Democrats are not responsible for this mess and are not responsible for cleaning it up. There are only about 18-20 hard core MAGAts, which leaves about 200 republicans that need to grow a spine and get their house in order.

    • If they were going to grow a spine they’d have done so long ago. Remember, MAGAs pay attention to Trump who is pissed about his buddy Vlad not long ago having taken over Ukraine. McCarthy’s stripping out the 6 billion in aid was a sop for House Republicans to “sell” to MAGAs back home, and Kevin probably thought it might sway just enough of the crazies to keep his precious gavel. So from where I sit the 210 that voted to keep McCarthy haven’t grown a spine. At best they are “thinking about the possibility of maybe exploring whether/how to grow a spine. I still stand by my contention that the ONE thing we could have counted on McCarthy to do was what he did on Sat. – spring a CR, albeit a much longer one (into 2025) on everyone on the 45th day of the current CR that would wrangle maybe 40 or 50 votes from his side. Around 50 districts (give or take) are rated to be highly competitive next year and that might have provided the electoral cover to give those House Republicans a fighting chance next year. I suspect McCarthy thought that avoiding a shutdown just prior to the holidays would, if the GOP can hold the House have been something he could have parlayed into remaining Speaker when the new Congress convenes in 2025. As I said in the article we could have counted on him to “blink” at the last minute.

      Now? All bets are off. McCarthy sucked (well, he still does!) but although a lousy trait of his to count on I firmly believed that just as happened in June with the debt ceiling and again Sat. with the shutdown we could have counted on him for this.

      • What it came down to is nobody trusts Qevin, even the people that voted for him to stay Speaker. If he hadn’t lied to everyone, the Democrats in the Problem Solvers caucus may have thrown him enough Present votes for him to stay. He made no effort to engage with them. Like when he was Whip, he still couldn’t count the votes.


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