This just keeps getting better and better. Normally, following a change of power, it isn’t unusual for the new party taking over the House to be a bit muddled. Try getting 6 co-workers to agree where to go on lunch, must less 218 of them to decide on one person to boss them around for the next 2 years.

God knows that Nancy Pelosi had a dog fight on her hands in 2019 when the Democrats took over. So did John Boehner and Paul Ryan on the GOP side. The normal route is to take a secret vote to see where you lie, and handle your business in caucus and private meetings. By the time New Years Day rolls around, all of your ducks are in a row.

Kreepy Kevin McCarthy keeps going in reverse. His secret ballot showed him with 188 votes, 30 votes short of gold dust. Sleazy the Dwarf went to work horse trading, and more than a week ago, was only one vote short. Going into tomorrow, he’s still one vote short, but now with as many as nine more potential no votes. Shit, this clown negotiates like Trump.

A quick tutorial on electing a Speaker, for those of you who rarely key on it, or have never seen it. A name or names are put into nomination, and are seconded. Then the votes are cast. Representatives must vote for a name, although they can vote for any name they like. If nobody has 218 votes at the end, the only thing the House can do is to do it again. Even new members can’t be sworn in until a speaker is named.

Several days ago I wrote that if this mess went past four rounds, then start to look for the possibility of a dark horse, a moderate GOP name, in congress or out that could get about 140 moderate GOP votes, with enough Democratic support to get him or her over the finish line, with fair treatment expected by the Democrats.This could have huge consequences for the House and the next 2 years.

I’m not saying we’re there yet, not by any means, but for the first time I’m not alone in the wilderness. In interviews on different MSNBC shows today, 3 different GOP insiders, former FL rep David Jolly, former FL rep Carlos Curbelo, and Washington Post national political reporter Eugene Scott all referred to this scenario as something to look for if the sturm und drang goes on for too long. And there are several reasons.

We’ll start with the obvious. Kevin McCarthy has spent 7 years scheming and conniving to get this Speakers spot. McCarthy doesn’t have the 218 votes he needs for the gavel, but neither does anybody else, not even close. Right now rep Andy Biggs has his name in consideration to give members somebody else to vote for, but he’s not serious. And all of the other potential challengers are any closer, not having laid enough groundwork, believing the gavel would be McCarthy’s. So anybody else would have to start from scratch with the horse trading.

Because the GOP House wanted to get off to a flying start, and that flying start was Hunter Biden’s laptop and investigating the J6 investigators. But the House can’t even give out committee assignments until the Speaker is sworn in. And besides, moderate GOP voters gave the GOP the keys to the car back, and now they can’t even come together on a goddamn Speaker! This doesn’t engender strong positive feelings going into 2024.

But the real problem for the GOP caucus is that there is nobody in the caucus that can manage 218 votes. For two reasons. First, it is McCarthy who last seven years obsessively trying to line up the planets. If he can’t pull it together, who the hell else can? second, and people never remember this, there’s a small 5-15 GOP members of the GOP caucus who are in the Steve Bannon camp. They don’t want to lead, they don’t want to govern, they don’t want to deal. They want to burn it down. It’s kind of hard to deal with somebody who wants to shoot everything you stand for down.

From where I’m sitting, this will go one of two ways. One, the Never Kevin bloc votes against him for the first 1-2 rounds, after which McCarthy will go to them and say, OK, you had your fun, you made me look like shit. But there’s nobody else! What do you want in order to get this done, so we can move on? And since they made their point, they cut deals that weaken McCarthy’s leadership, and vote him in. Second, after 4-5 useless rounds, with McCarthy possibly losing more votes every round, McCarthy finally reads the handwriting on the wall, and withdraws his name from consideration.

And that’s when all hell breaks loose. because there is nobody in the GOP House that can cobble together a coalition to get another candidate to 218 votes. But for the House GOP, governing is like the construction industry, Time is money. And that’s when the moderates can make their move with the Democrats to bring the stalemate to an end. We’ll know soon enough, but remember this. The longer it goes on, the more power the moderates accumulate. Don’t touch that dial.

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  1. We’re ignoring the elephant in the room — remember when Trump lost and some dim bulb in the MAGA World decided all they would have to do is win the House, name tRump as Speaker and then try to get rid of Biden (however they had to) and put tRump back in office to finish the country off.

  2. Well, if it does come down to a compromise candidate, the Democrats should demand veto power over committee chairs, i.e. Gym Jordan and James Comer out as chairs. Moderate republicans shouldn’t have a problem w/ that, since they can’t stand the crazies, either. Plus no committee assignments for Greene, Gosar and Santos. The republicans are likely to need more democratic votes than they can scrounge on their side, so these demands are not unreasonable.

    • Democrats need 6 Republicans to agree to a compromise candidate. I can pick 4 moderates (David Valadao CA, Dusty Johnson SD, Dan Newhouse WA, Brian FitzPatrick PA) out of the 222 Republicans… I’m hoping Dems can find another 2.

        • There wouldn’t be enough votes for either Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger and I doubt either of them would want the job after all the vitriol they’ve taken from the GOP extremists. I suggest that Larry Hogan, Charlie Dent or Evan McMullin might be better bets.
          But even so, Dems still need the support of at least 6 moderate Republicans to pull it off. I’m adding Fred Upton to my list of four (see comment above) so we need to find just one more.

  3. If McCarthy had a lick of sense — he doesn’t which is yet another reason why he’s not qualified to be Speaker — he’d pull his name from the third round and when the fourth round is a shitshow, resubmit his name for the fifth round. This wouldn’t necessarily work for him but it’s the best strategy he has. He won’t do it though because he’s obsessed with having his name on that ballot.

    I’m also thinking – i.e. hoping-wishing-trusting – that the Dems have a strategy of their own that they are keeping secret from Kevin, his supporters and the media. If so, will they add that name in the first, second, third or fourth round? (I’m thinking it will be the second or third round.)

    AND if so, who will it be? I’m favouring Larry Hogan (current R Governor of Maryland in his final year of office), Charlie Dent (R rep 2005-18, Chair of Ethics Committee 2015-18) and Evan McMullin (chief policy director for House Republicans, Jan 2015 – July 2016; left R to become Independent in July 2016) at this point but there must be other outside possibilities.

    I can’t think of any current R rep, no matter how “moderate”, who has the balls to be even a halfway decent Speaker.

    • You see my point…If McCarthy ISN’T the Speaker, then the GOP House has NOBODY ELSE, and the longer the shitshow goes on, the worse it looks for the GOP…The moderates will have a wide open lane for a concensus candidate…

      • Yep, I totally agree with you, Murf. This is an excellent article detailing just how the shitshow is going to unfold. I agree too that Dems will use the shitshow to get moderate Republicans on board to elect somebody they like. I’d write my own piece on who I think Dems might be considering but given that there have been no leaks – not even so much as a hint – about their possible strategy, I don’t want to alert anyone to what they may be planning!


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