The past twenty-four hours have been packed with fireworks of historic proportions. Not once, in our nation's 247 year history has a Speaker of the House been removed by his peers. NOT... ONCE...
Not Nancy Pelosi, not Tom Foley, not Jim Wright...
To make it even more astounding, it came at the hands of his own party. The political ramifications of this are astonishing...
In the immediate aftermath, they will need to elect a new Speaker; and with Jim Jordan throwing his hat in the ring, I have to imagine that he has gotten enough assurance from the conservative wing to know that he will not have to fight that side of his party. This leaves him only having to convince the moderates that he can reach across the aisle to get legislation passed in order to get the votes he needs.
What comes next however is all open to speculation, and I will finish out the article with that, but for now, let us turn our attention to the question of how. How did we end up in this place?
First, you have to understand who Kevin McCarthy is, and why this was able to happen.
The left is currently crying big crocodile tears over the McCarthy ouster, saying that he, "represents the best the Republican party has to offer." This is nothing but Kabuki theater as they still hate him vehemently. It is intended to sow chaos in the party, and frankly, I would use the same strategy if I were a political consultant given the same opportunity. They are simply playing the hand they are dealt.
So if the left hates him because he pushes conservative policies, then why would the right vote to remove him? It seems quite dizzying, but really, it is not.
Let us start with the fact that McCarthy is well known by those in conservative circles as a guy who is willing to compromise, and really to over-compromise, because he does not want to get painted as the bad guy. He comes from California, and even though he comes from the most conservative part of California, he still comes from California, and many of the people who vote for him are lukewarm conservatives at best. He has to keep his cobbled coalition together to get reelected, and taking hard stances on tough fights endangers that.
This is why it took 51 votes for him to get confirmed as Speaker. (Also historic)
Let us face the facts. McCarthy got the job because it was, "his turn," not because he was the most qualified to fight the battle against the liberals in the house. Everyone knew it, and that is why so many people refused to budge on his Speaker vote.
"So what are the key issues that led to this? So far you have been light on substance!"
Fair enough, let me fix that.
Here is the list of current reasons, without bringing up the voluminous history of his caving in on over bloated continuing resolutions and omnibus spending bills. I have tried to rank them from most (1) to least (5) important
1) Passing the most recent continuing spending resolution while not telling the party members that he was dealing with President Biden to ALSO fund Ukraine. Many took this as outright deceit as they thought that they understood the entire spending ramifications when they swallowed the latest un-Godly spending bill to keep the government going.
2) His refusal to reset budgeting to pre-COVID levels. The conservative wing of the party has set this as their rallying cry. It is time to get the bloated COVID spending out of the budget. No, it is not zero-based budgeting, but all of the people who voted against McCarthy on the Republican side, and many of the quasi-conservative Republicans who did not, all see this as a "must have" win. In their view, McCarthy's refusal to fight for it was the last straw.
3) McCarthy refused to use his position to push clean bills to the floor on subjects like Term-Limits for Congress and a balanced budget amendment. He also was tying Ukraine funding to border security in his secret meetings with Biden (see point 1) in order to handcuff the conservative wing into voting to continue funding Ukraine if they wanted him to keep his promise on border security. This last part was a direct violation of the promises he made to win his gavel.
4) He broke his promise that he made when elected Speaker to REQUIRE spending cuts in equal measure to the increased debt of any continuing resolution (CR). This CR contained zero true spending cuts which was a direct violation of his promise.
5) McCarthy's Super Pac has a history of supporting primary opponents against the most conservative members of the house. While no one at this point can prove that he has broken his promise to refrain from doing this, his history in this area is a continuing spot of animosity between him and the people he needed to be on his side to maintain his Speaker's seat.
In the end, he simply broke too many promises that he made, and that caused the revolt against him. Was it a good political decision? That depends on what happens next, and that we will have to wait and see.
After selecting the next Speaker, the biggest thing that those who ousted McCarthy will need is victories. They will need political wins in order to substantiate their actions that they can point to directly and say, "see, this is what Kevin McCarthy was keeping us from." If they cannot produce those wins, this is going to go down as one of the greatest colossal blunders in American politics.
I suspect that once the new speaker is seated you will have the following coming forward quickly:
- Balanced Budget Amendment
- A proposed 2024 budget which is baselined on the 2018 spending levels
- A resolution to have Biden begin rebuilding the wall
That is about all they can do, and these will likely not be taken up by the senate because the CR is already passed and they have lost all of their leverage.
So what will they do to convince their voters that what they did was necessary if they do not actually get these into law?
Simple, they are going to use the old strategy of showing a list of all of the things that they did to their voters and say, "see, if we had the senate, all of these would have been on the President's desk."
Will it work? Time will tell, but most likely not given the historic nature of this action and the more moderate independent voters that are required to win the legislature and Presidency.
In the end, their post mess clean-up and messaging will be the most important things. If they do not get that right, then those who voted with the Democrats to oust McCarthy may find that their political careers are either cut short or irreparably stained by this action...
However, if they DO get those wins, and manage to message it properly, they might be the group that finally started to keep their promise to fight back against the spending and liberal insanity that we have all had to endure since the Contract with America went away.
I, for one, am anticipating a raucous ride.
So buckle up for this, it is likely to be a big time fight.