Beware! Here there be tygers   Stephen King

Let me start by stating that I am by no means ready to concede that Kreepy Kevin McCarthy will be the next Speaker of the House. Remember this, when former House Speaker John Boehner was elected Speaker, he had a 22 seat majority in the House. He was confirmed by 3 votes. When the Democrats flipped the House in 2018, then incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi had an even larger majority, but still had to broker a power sharing deal with younger progressives that limited her to two terms as Speaker. Political parties are not a monolithic entity.

The smaller the margin, the harder it is to cobble up the 218 votes necessary to get the gavel. And when you have a projected majority of 3-5 votes, there is no weaker Speaker candidate than Kreepy Kevin McCarthy. As I’m fond of saying, McCarthy is so slimy that slugs pour salt on him. And McCarthy’s job is made harder by the fact that he doesn’t just have a split caucus, conservative and more moderate, he has the trifecta, Trombies, Tea Party loonies, and traditional moderates.

And guess what? All three factions hate him! McCarthy came to congress in 2010 as a part of the Tea Party wave, and the Teabaggers consider him an ideological traitor for having sold out to Trump. The Trombies see him as a weak kneed toady, and they are out to wring every last concession they can out of him for power in return for their votes. And the GOP moderates see him as a craven, power hungry coward, who is completely untrustworthy.

And it’s this third group, the moderate Republicans, who are the group that can be the biggest thorn in McCarthy’s side. There aren’t that many of them, most likely about 20-25. But if you look at the eventual split of the House at 220-215 for the GOP, them McCarthy can only lose two votes and still win the Speakership. But although they might be the smallest group in the GOP caucus, they also actually have the most power, because of the incredible damage they can do to McCarthy and the other 2 factions.

Let’s break this down. The other 2 factions, the Trumpistas and the Teahadists are propelled purely by personal greed and political power. They each want carte blanche to pursue their own political and personal agendas. And that’s all they’re interested in, their personal facetime on television, and their fundraising prowess. And because they’re sharks, McCarthy will have to give them el rancho to bring them on board for his confirmation.

But the moderate conservatives in the caucus are a different breed of cat. They were either elected, or reelected, in frontline, competitive swing districts. And their constituents either elected or reelected them in order to go to Washington and get shit done! They like what Biden has done, and want their GOP representative to keep shoveling in the goodies. Which gives these lonely 20-25 GOP moderates the ultimate trump card.

There is a kink in the House rules involving the Speakership. In order to become the Speaker of the House, the nominee doesn’t have to be an active member of the House, he or she just has to get 218 votes. And McCarthy doesn’t have them, he came out of the closed door vote with only 188. He needs 30 more. Which makes the moderate GOP caucus the kingmakers. And while Kreepy Kevin may be able to negotiate with the Trumplets and the Teabaggers, he is piss poor qualified to deal with a delegation that is about results. Because McCarthy is solely driven by power.

There are two different ways this can play out in the short term. When McCarthy comes sniveling to them for their votes, they can remind him they’re not interested in power or prestige, they’re interested in results, and not in power or ideology. They can demand that even if a Democratic proposed bill stalls in committee, if it has 50-60% support in the conservative caucus. McCarthy will have to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote. This gives the sane GOP conservative caucus a chance to bring legislationforward to the floor to pass with widespread Democratic support.

The second option deals with the kink in the House rules. If McCarthy tries to strongarm and force the moderate Republicans into compliance, the Democrats can step in and piss in the punchbowl. The Democrats have 6 weeks to make an inroad. They can either choose an incumbent moderate HOP House member who will promise to bring good legislation to the floor, no matter who originated it, or they can find a mutually agreed consensus former moderate GOP Representative that the moderate GOP could call to the floor for a vote, and the Democrats can unify behind.

Are you noticing the common thread here? Either McCarthy can make concessions to the House moderate caucus to bring popular legislation to the floor for a vote, or the Democrats can join with the GOP moderate GOP caucus to put forward a sane Speaker candidate that will move good legislation. Either way the result is the same. McCarthy can’t win without the moderate conservatives, but the moderate conservatives can join with the
Democrats to elect a moderate GOP Speaker who will move good legislation forward. Either way, the Peoples business can move forward. Don’t touch that dial.

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  1. Rep Don Bacon (R-Neb) has already publicly stated that if Qevin can’t get the votes, he’s interested in talking to the Dems about a possible power-sharing arrangement. In fact, I hope that is what happens because it’ll mean we have sane people running the House instead of the circus that Gym Jordan and MTG will provide.

    If Qevin is able to somehow get the votes, watch out, the crazy caucus will have stupid hearings about Hunter Biden, will try to impeach every admin Dem they can and will overreach so much it should make our 2024 elections so much easier.

    • I’m convinced that sanity will prevail here. The last thing ANY Republican who isn’t safely ensconced in a far right district needs right now is more reminders on why voters should hate them. Add in how weak the GOP’s hold on the House is and they’ll trade power for stability.

      • I love you Bare and usually share your ideas, but “sanity” ????
        Are you insane???
        You just said “republicans” and “sanity” in the same sentence.
        C’mon, I’ve been reading your thoughts for 2 years or more. You CANNOT be that naive, my friend. I TOTALLY count on them to do exactly the opposite of insane because they can’t help it. It’s WHO THEY ARE

        • You mean, uou’ve been watching MAGA for six years. When I say “Republican” in this instance, I’m talking the old-school W style Republicans who have become an endangered species in their own party. There’s JUST enough of them to make the best scenario possible happen here. Not a guarantee, by any means, but possible.

    • And any impeachment will go absolutely nowhere. IF the Dems do maintain solid control of the Senate (even by 1 or 2 seats), whoever the Democratic Leader is can simply do exactly what McConnell did and not take the article(s) to the trial phase.

      And, of course, if we do have a few “sane” GOPers (even as few as 5 or 10), there won’t even be any article(s) of impeachment for the House to send to the Senate. A simple majority (218) is required to bring impeachment articles.

  2. Congratulations, Kevin, you’ve just volunteered for Hell. Seriously, you HAVE to know there are no winning moves here, right? Even if you get the gavel, you have no respect and thus no real power. YOU’RE the one whose strings will be pulled by whoever has the most leverage.

  3. can we get a shout out to speaker pelosi. she and her team kept the caucus together to pass significant legislation. I know there are many who do not like her, but she got things done. boener and Ryan never got anything done even with larger majorities.

  4. Problem with Kreepy Kev is, you can’t trust him to honor ANY bargain.
    The best bet would be for the Dems and GOP moderates to pick someone else.

  5. Yep, Kevin is to much of a wuz for the job of speaker unless he caves to the moderates. I see it the way you see it. The way it’s going to work unless I’m missing something is that you will have the Democrats and the moderates working together because they ain’t going to go two years without passing any legislation. Then you will have the rest of the clowns running around and scrabbling among themselves trying to figure out who’s on top in the investigation and who are we investigating anyway.


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