Diary

Should House conservatives focus more on defeating Scalise than McCarthy?

Whenever I’ve posted on Red State in the past, I’ve done so because I felt I had a clear and concise opinion to express. So apologies in advance, because this is more of a “thinking out loud” type of piece.

The GOP House leadership race is in flux. Here’s a brief summary of what we do know:

1. Boehner has resigned, but not until the end of October. Conservatives fear  that  working with Democrats, he will move legislation that they detest. Some have even suggested that the Motion to Vacate should be introduced now, to force Boehner out.

2. McCarthy appears to have the support of a majority of House Republicans, but he does not have the 218 votes needed to win. He now has two announced opponents, Webster and Chafetz. What’s ironic about Chafetz’ appealing to conservatives for support is that he was the one who attempted to punish Boehner opponent [mc_name name=’Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001187′ ] for introducing the Motion to Vacate.

3. McCarthy, with his ill-advised comment linking the Benghazi committee to Hillary’s prospects, has really stepped on his crank, and possibly/probably shown that he is NOT ready for the BIG JOB.

4. Some conservatives, including several here at Red State, have opined that McCarthy could be acceptable, that they feel that in return for supporting him, House conservatives would gain much of what they seek. Others believe that having forced Boehner out, it makes no sense to replace him with Boehner 2.0

Allow me to briefly digress and state for the record that I believe House Republicans should elect an outsider as Speaker. My choice would be Jim DeMint. And I believe if asked, he would accept.

5. Some have suggested that the rules governing the leadership elections are confusing, and open to interpretation. At present, only the  future vacancy for Speaker is a fact. Only if McCarthy were to be elected would a vacancy then exist for Majority Leader. The dominoes would tumble. If McCarthy is not elected Speaker, he is still Majority leader, unless voted out.  And realistically, how could he function as an effective Majority leader if his peers wouldn’t elect him Speaker? Therefore, many are now saying that the entire GOP leadership team should resign in advance of the elections.

So, it’s all still up in the air. But given that McCarthy appears to have the inside track for Speaker, shouldn’t House conservatives be focused  on defeating Scalise for leader?

I’m not going to expound on all his many weaknesses, failings, and failures. They’ve been well documented here.  In addition, Majority Leader is a far more visible position than Whip, and as such, to put it kindly, Scalise would be a terrible image as the face of the House Republicans.

I’m somewhat coming to the conclusion that the best outcome for conservatives would be to support McCarthy for Speaker. However, that would come only with the pledge to oppose Boehner’s efforts to ram through unpopular legislation, and also to be willing to force Obama to shut down the government if need be. In blunt terms, simply because McConnell lacks cojones, the House will not fail to do its job.

There should also be one more non-negotiable demand. House GOP conference rules limit committee chairs to a 6 year term. Any House Republican elected to the Speakership should also take the same pledge.

And equally  as important, McCarthy would have to throw his support behind a conservative for Majority leader. My pick here is an easy one. [mc_name name=’Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’J000289′ ]. This lets House conservatives maximize there leverage, and also puts one of their own in a very viable position to succeed McCarthy; either in the future, or sooner, if he somehow messes up. The threat of a “Motion to Vacate” will always be available.

Again, if McCarthy seems somewhat acceptable to House conservatives, whereas Scalise seems odious to most of them; then shouldn’t the main effort be made to replace Scalise?