As is pretty well known by now, Kevin McCarthy is desperate to become Speaker of the House. To do that he needs to win the votes of at least 218 of the 435 members, and given that he only has 222 Republican members, he can only lose four of them.
In response, McCarthy keeps trying to pivot further and further to the right, in the hopes of gaining traction with the “no” votes, but I think he’s got it all wrong.
If I were McCarthy I would pivot to the center. Make a deal with a dozen or so blue dog Democrats to get him to 218.
In return, McCarthy would have to promise to be . . . [checks notes] . . . somewhat bipartisan.
Imagine that. Having to be bipartisan.
Imagine how refreshing that would be for the American political landscape.
But there is nothing to indicate that is going to happen. The new House is sworn in today, and McCarthy is still short of the votes he needs to be speaker. Voting starts today.
As a number of commentators have noted, nothing can happen until a Speaker is elected. No committees can be formed. No agenda can take place. The Speaker is the only legislative leader mentioned in the Constitution. (“The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”)
As other commentators have noted, the Republican legislators in the House seem determined to prove right away that they won’t be able to govern. It’s going to be Hunter’s laptop, and impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and investigating the January 6th Committee, and failing to raise the debt limit, and a complete clown show.
Of course any legislation that the House does manage to pass can be blocked by the Democratic Senate and the President’s veto pen.
Good luck, America. We’re going to need it!