It Doesn't Matter Who Becomes the Next House Speaker

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

King Pyrrhus of Epirus taught us a profound lesson that can be applied in many facets of life. In politics, however, his tale provides an even deeper level of understanding given the times in which we find ourselves today – especially when it comes to the fracas over the position of House Speaker.


Pyrrhus, a brilliant military commander, deployed his army to fight on behalf of the city of Tarentum (modern-day Italy) in its military conflict against the Romans. Thus, the Pyrrhic War (280-275 B.C.) began.

The King wielded his considerable military force against the enemy and won the initial battles of Heraclea and Asculum, but the victories came at a devastating cost. Pyrrhus lost a significant chunk of his forces, including many of his commanding officers. He was quoted as saying, “Another such victory, and we are undone.”

Despite his great victories in battle, the losses his army sustained weakened his position to the point that Rome eventually defeated him at the Battle of Beneventum in 275 B.C. He was forced to return to Epirus with his tail between his legs as his remaining army licked their wounds. This is where we get the term Pyrrhic victory – a triumph that takes such a damaging toll on the supposed victor that it is tantamount to defeat.

This is where Republican voters who are truly conservatives find themselves with the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). After he was removed from his position due to a collaboration between Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), eight other Republicans, and all the Democrats in the lower chamber (four were absent), speculation ensued as to who would be the next one to wield the gavel.

Those supporting McCarthy’s removal cited a litany of failures – especially when it came to holding the line in the face of a government shutdown and bending to the will of the Democrats. He also failed to pursue the agenda he promised to members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Indeed, it was only a matter of time before the conservative faction attempted a coup of sorts.


But what happens now?

Currently, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) have thrown their hats into the ring, and there will likely be even more GOP lawmakers who vie for the position. McCarthy indicated that he would not run again, so regardless of how this goes, the next speaker will be someone different.

But the question Republican voters should be asking: Will it even matter?

There is a decent chance that McCarthy will be replaced by someone who leads just like him, meaning there won’t be any real positive change forthcoming. But, even if Republicans chose the most principled conservative to lead, it still would not matter. This is why I do not care about who occupies the speaker’s chair going forward.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who is skeptical about this whole debacle. My colleague Thomas LaDuke wrote a piece in which he noted that the next speaker will face the same criticisms that McCarthy faced and argued that “no matter who is going to sit in the speaker chair, the same reasons given to get rid of McCarthy will be used against that person” and that the individual “will be equally despised.”

Later in the piece, he noted that folks who are applauding this development “have not fully thought out what needs to be done here.”

The quick little hits and quotes on the platform formerly known as Twitter, YouTube Rumble, or even Facebook are all neat and nifty.

Yet not one soul yesterday talked about the reconciliation process and the overall outlook with continuing resolutions and negotiations with a Democrat-led Senate. No one talked about the $33 trillion in debt, a pimple on the you-know-what compared to the obligations that the government is going to have to start paying out much sooner rather than later.


The reason I refer to this story as a Pyrrhic victory is because conservatives haven’t won much by getting rid of McCarthy. Remember, it was mostly Democrats who voted in favor of Gaetz’s motion to vacate. The overwhelming majority of Republicans voted to keep McCarthy where he was. To put it simply, there will be no significant positive change from this. Indeed, it could even make the issue worse for Republicans, especially if it leads to losing the House in the 2024 election.

The swamp machine is far too entrenched to let a little thing like the removal of a House speaker threaten its mission to maintain a status quo designed to keep certain people in power. The establishment remains undefeated, and even if former President Donald Trump is placed in that position, as some have suggested, the wrecking ball he would introduce to the situation would not be damaging enough to unseat the powers that be in Congress and other areas of government.

Let’s face it. Our federal government is hopelessly corrupt and has been for decades. It’s not changing anytime soon, no matter which politicians are switched out for others. Even the most well-meaning freedom-loving elected official is impotent when it comes to affecting real change. The machine is too strong at the federal level in 2023.

This is one of the millions of reasons why I constantly preach about the need to begin the process of change by focusing primarily on shoring up our local communities. This is an area over which we have more direct control. It is a way to create a bulwark against the overreach of the federal government. When you have local and state level officials who take seriously their obligation to defend our Constitutional rights, then perhaps at some point, reforming – or doing away with – the federal government might just become a realistic proposition.




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