Kevin McCarthy Is Preparing to Go on Offense Against His Own Caucus

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Kevin McCarthy is poised to become the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It is, to be sure, a position he has long sought to attain, and there has been no shortage of political maneuvering to get there.


There is a group of five Republicans who have taken the position of “NeverMcCarthy” and are vowing to vote against his Speakership. They see McCarthy as someone more devoted to power than conservatism, and they believe he’ll be a little too quick to cave in order to “get things done” and, thus, secure his legacy.

Those five Republicans – Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Bob Good, Ralph Norman, and Matt Rosendale – have been under attack from conservative leaders on the right outside of the political class, like Mark Levin, Will Chamberlain, and Charlie Kirk. They are blasting the move as a threat to securing the House for Republicans, and they are encouraging those five to back down.

My colleague Mike Miller has some good thoughts on all this, by the way.

McCarthy has long wielded a lot of influence among the upper echelon of the GOP. He moves his allies around like chess pieces and can control the narrative coming out of D.C. with surprising ease. He has spent a very long time aiming for the top and, despite a hiccup in 2015 when he was poised to become the Speaker but backed out at the last minute, he has been be on track for a very long time. But when things stand in the way of that, he goes all-out in taking on those who oppose him.

Kevin McCarthy
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

According to Axios this morning, McCarthy is preparing his latest all-out assault against people on his own side who oppose him – particularly the five Republican holdouts.


House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is pivoting to more aggressive tactics to buoy his bid for speaker — beginning with 54 defiant “Kevin Only” statements of unqualified support, provided first to Axios.

The big picture: Some of them say they’re a hard “no” on anyone besides McCarthy — and won’t vote for anyone else on the first ballot or the 100th ballot.

Why it matters: McCarthy allies are trying to capitalize on growing GOP frustration with five House Republicans holdouts who, if they stuck together, could deny him the gavel.

  • “Kevin gave them an opportunity to negotiate in good faith,” a McCarthy adviser told me.
  • “Now there’s going to be more of an effort to expose the craziness of what they’re doing.”

McCarthy’s quest for power will likely not result in failure. He will be the Speaker of the House. But should he be?

The very same problems that Republicans are having with the RNC can be seen in the House. Leadership hasn’t really changed in six years and since 2016, the party has been losing elections and every policy victory that the Republican Party has had, save tax reform early in Trump’s term as president, was gotten through executive action.

All the while, the House GOP has been floundering. They have been led by multiple, contradicting voices and very little clear messaging from the top. As much as McCarthy can use powerful allies to get his message out, he is struggling to get the people he doesn’t control consistently in line. That’s paved the way for Democrats to control the narrative coming out of the chamber, and not just because they’ve been in power.


So, just like the question of whether or not the RNC is capable of fixing its problem so long as Ronna McDaniel is still in charge there, the same questions need to be asked for McCarthy and a Republican-controlled House. McCarthy was largely hands-off in the 2022 races, and because of multiple issues like candidate quality and messaging, he barely has a majority going into 2023. Does the House have the ability to move ahead into the future with the same ineffective leaders of the past controlling it?

I am not convinced. McCarthy is more willing to fight members of his own caucus, and apparently do so publicly enough that it’s getting reports in the media, than continue to work with them. The holdouts want to be able to initiate a new Speaker vote if McCarthy errs, and he isn’t agreeing to it. He’d rather die on that hill than agree and make it a point not to go squishy on conservatives.

That right there should be a big red flag.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos