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Today is the day. We will see Kevin McCarthy either become Speaker of the House or see a compromise candidate come forward for the second time in less than a decade to take over where McCarthy expected to be.
There has been a lot of ink spilled over the McCarthy vote coming today. One of the more interesting developments came yesterday morning when it turned out there weren’t just five Republicans who were guaranteed “No” votes, but another nine who felt McCarthy hadn’t conceded enough to conservatives – from lowering the threshold for voting to remove a Speaker to allegedly offering to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.
This morning, Fox News reporter Chad Pergram has an interesting tweet from Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry.
GOP PA Rep Scott Perry on Fox: Kevin McCarthy has known for months he doesn’t have 218..but he has dragged..the conference..the Congress and the country..to the brink
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 3, 2023
This is probably one of the most important points that could be brought up, and it’s very indicative of what bothers a lot of conservatives about a McCarthy Speakership – he has been acting like he’s entitled to the job and has really done nothing to actually earn it other than wheel and deal his way to the top.
The entire D.C. establishment – from Republicans to lobbyists – has been preparing for a McCarthy speakership. And there are a lot of people on board with this, including major conservative voices like Mark Levin and Charlie Kirk, along with Congressional conservative favorites like Jim Jordan. The leading class of Republicans and conservatives have decided that they’ve just got to have a smooth transition to leadership rather than fight to make sure that they use their (slim) majority in the most conservative way possible.
But the work to actually secure the votes didn’t start until very recently. Because he just assumed he would walk into the Speaker’s office, he didn’t put in the work to get there. That is a big indicator of the entitlement mentality a lot of our elites have. They just assume the position they want will be theirs, and he didn’t actually put any work into securing it. He just thought he deserved it.
He already moved his stuff into the office, for God’s sake.
— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotnbc) January 2, 2023
But, it’s that entitled behavior – McCarthy’s assumption that the job should just be his – that should raise all sorts of red flags. When a politician acts like they deserve the job just for being next in line, it’s no wonder that people would be skeptical. McCarthy hasn’t shown he will move the ball down the field for conservatives. As Erick Erickson pointed out this morning, McCarthy has consistently turned to Democrats for votes to get appropriations bills across the line, propping up big Washington spending.
Ending McCarthy as Speaker would be the most disruptive, upending way for conservatives to destabilize the establishment that bets on Washington spending. McCarthy, as Republican Leader, has never actually passed an appropriations measure to fund the government without relying on Democrats to get him and his big spending across the finish line.
Ending McCarthy’s chance to be Speaker is the ultimate conservative act. Many want to know the replacement. It actually does not matter as much as making sure it is not McCarthy. And no plausible alternative is going to step forward until McCarthy is beaten because, again, all of K-Street, the establishment, and the media mouthpieces humping McCarthy’s leg would just destroy them.
It appears that a handful of conservatives are picking up on that and the fact that McCarthy’s political career has been more professional ladder climber than conservative stalwart. They want to disrupt things because they are taking the Trump-era mantra of “draining the swamp” and running with it.
That would indeed be highly disruptive of the status quo in Washington D.C., and it would scare the ever-loving hell out of the Democrats and the lobbyists. Does the GOP need a plan aside from “Stop McCarthy”? No. They didn’t when they stood up to him seven years ago, and the party went with Paul Ryan – not the most conservative stalwart, either, but had a strong enough grasp on conservative policy that he got the Trump tax cuts across the finish line.
That’s the key here for the GOP. They need to show they can stand up to the Establishment and force the Establishment to move to the right. You don’t need to have a viable alternative. You just need to force the party to change.