Remember all the headlines when McCarthy suddenly and unexpectedly dropped out of he Speaker race:
[mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] Withdraws From Speaker’s Race, Putting House in Chaos – NYTimes
[mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ] abruptly quits speaker race, leaving Republicans in disarray – USAToday
Well ten days have passed since the news caused a political earthquake in D.C. and not much has changed after all the hype that the sky was falling. The media and elected Democrats accused the Republicans of not being able to govern their own caucus, let alone the country. All hyperbole of course but the appearance of fiddling while Rome is burning does come to mind since apparently it’s not as urgent as we were made to believe, by anyone.
Speaker Boehner was ready to start his new life on Oct. 30th, just after he scheduled the new Speaker vote for Oct. 29th. But ever since McCarthy dropped out of the race on October 8th, the House has been out of session for the usual Friday travel day on the 9th, one national holiday and three
vacation district work days, another Friday, the weekend, another travel day tomorrow, and then the work session starts on Tuesday the 20th. Nineteen days since the news! A vote could’ve and should’ve been taken to decide the new Speaker between the two announced candidates, [mc_name name=’Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’W000806′ ] and [mc_name name=’Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001076′ ] that day. Where is the sense of urgency?
So what has changed since McCarthy dropped out? First off, Treasury Secretary Lew decided to try to light a fire under the House by announcing a change of reaching the debt ceiling from Nov. 5 to the Nov 3rd. That’s not going to do the trick Jack. Heck, I don’t even hear Obama talking about the debt ceiling much or the House vote. Seems it won’t be an issue with Boehner at the helm still and maybe that’s the plan. Let him take the heat for raising it without concessions so it won’t tarnish a new Speaker.
Of course, there are many in the draft [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ] crowd that are begging him to put his name in the hat for Speaker and most assume he’d be a shoo-in if he acquiesced. His spokesman tweeted last Monday that nothing has changed, that he’s still a no. That was a week ago, a month in political time, and all ears on waiting on his decision as if he were E. F. Hutton.
But is Ryan a shoo-in? It’s being reported that he’s playing hardball and won’t give in to demands from the Freedom Caucus (FC). Basically take him or leave him but no concessions. Of course that’s not going over well with the FC and it’s doubtful they’ll support him if he doesn’t promise to make some procedural changes that they are pushing for in a new Speaker. And they know they have the power to make him or break him as both Boehner and McCarthy learned the hard way.
Meanwhile the list of candidates is growing as time ticks away. The count is up to six including Webster and Chaffetz and the additional four could exert their political muscle and should in my biased opinion. It’s time to have a Speaker from a true red state and Flores and McCaul may have the best chance. From RealClearPolitics (my emphasis):
Four Texans, in fact, are interested: Reps. [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’F000461′ ], [mc_name name=’Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001157′ ], [mc_name name=’Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001062′ ] and [mc_name name=’Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S000250′ ]. Each one chairs a different committee or group in the House and the largest state delegation of Republican members would provide considerable sway for any one of them. A spokesman for Flores, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, confirmed to Reuters that he would run if Ryan passes. And Flores himself told reporters after [mc_name name=’Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001165′ ]’s exit that the conference needs someone who can unite members of the Tuesday Group, a caucus of moderate Republicans, with hardliners in the Freedom Caucus who helped oust Boehner.
“Not everybody is going to get everything they want, but I feel like if you find the leader that can address the desires of the folks like the Tuesday Group to the desires of the Freedom Caucus, there’s a way to do that and hold true to the principles of the full spectrum of Republicans, or 99 percent of the spectrum of Republicans in the House,” Flores said.
McCaul, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, was approached by members pushing him to run for speaker after Boehner’s announcement, according to a source close to him, and those calls increased after McCarthy bowed out. The source told RCP that McCaul’s work on the committee, particularly empowering freshman members and other representatives, was an example of his bottom-up leadership style, which is what many in the House are seeking from a new speaker.
Newt Gingrich opined last week that the House should take their time in picking a new Speaker and spend hours talking amongst themselves. I agree but it doesn’t seem like they are talking with each other at all. Their first and best opportunity was in the meeting when McCarthy bowed out but Boehner immediately adjourned the meeting and quashed any initial debate and here we are going on two weeks away from D.C. We all know that Boehner wants to handpick his successor and won’t be satisfied unless it’s [mc_name name=’Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000570′ ].
And then we have the Crazy Caucus with members like Rep. Pete King (R-NY)and [mc_name name=’Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000604′ ] (R-Pa.) that really do believe the sky will fall if they don’t vote in a new Speaker posthaste. They are so alarmed that they are proposing a coalition Speaker if Ryan refuses to take the job!
“I don’t see a Plan B” if Ryan refuses the job, said [mc_name name=’Rep. Peter King (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000210′ ] (R-N.Y.).
If it becomes clear that no other Republican can assemble 218 GOP votes, King added, “In that case, we would have to consider having a coalition Speaker.”
“It’s a very simple question of math,” said [mc_name name=’Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000604′ ] (R-Pa.), who first floated the idea of Republicans and Democrats joining together on a Speaker candidate last week.
“If there are not 218 Republican votes on the House floor, then by necessity the Democrats will have a say in who the next Speaker will be,” he said. “I still think it’s a possibility.”
“Ninety-nine percent of the time that’s something we don’t want — it’s not good,” King said of working with Democrats to elect a Speaker. “On the other hand, we can’t go on forever without a Speaker.”
Let me fix it for you Mr. King: 100% of the time we don’t want this! Thank goodness he decided against running for president (not to mention I can’t stand his voice). He has virtually no allegiance to the Party.
So now we wait to see who will blink first. Who will make an announcement about running for his new job first, Biden or Ryan?