Kevin McCarthy might not want to grab for that Speaker’s gavel just yet.
With election results still trickling in, and the balance of power still to be decided in both the House and the Senate, talk among many in the GOP and conservative media has turned to whether or not the current leadership should remain in place. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in particular, seems to be in the sights of the conservative wing of the party, with The Washington Times reporting yesterday:
The House GOP’s smaller-than-expected majority increased leverage for the chamber’s arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus to demand concessions from Mr. McCarthy in exchange for support in his speakership bid.
Freedom Caucus member Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) says Republicans “have to have that very frank discussion. Going forward, I don’t know who’s going to end up being the leader. But if it’s Kevin McCarthy, he’s going to have to be far more, a little far more, tough than he has necessarily shown.”
McCarthy has been in this exact spot before with the Freedom Caucus, which blocked his attempt to become speaker back in 2015 in favor of Paul Ryan. Fast forward to 2022: Republicans seriously underperformed in the election and are looking at a razor-thin majority in the House. This, the Freedom Caucus argues, will require a leadership team that will aggressively combat the radical, destructive Biden agenda while also pursuing economic and immigration policies that will benefit American families.
“… I think Americans want us to actually bring the budget under control, they wanted to secure the border, they want us to just find a way to reduce oil and gas prices, attack inflation, all of that. And you can’t do that by being a passive sideliner or sitting there acquiescing to the Biden administration or trying to get along, you’re going to have to be tough.”
Tucker Carlson cast the accountability net ever wider on his show last night, and included Senate and RNC leadership in his call for a complete overhaul of the leadership structure of the Republican Party. Despite saying that the current leaders are likely “nice people,” Tucker tore into all of them for accepting tens of millions of dollars in donations to “paint the map red” and failingly spectacularly.
More from Tucker:
“The people whose job was to win and did not win should go do something else now, we’re speaking specifically of the Republican leadership of the House and the Senate and of the RNC.”
The underwhelming showing by the GOP this cycle is all the more frustrating, Tucker argued, because the party had Joe Biden’s terrible agenda against which to run. The election results, in essence, gave the president the green light to move forward with his terrible policies.
Tuckers also noted:
“No one should ever be rewarded for failure. If there’s a truly conservative principle in life, it’s the principle of meritocracy. You reward excellence, you do not reward mediocrity.”
For his part, Kevin McCarthy is reportedly making a lot of phone calls and meeting with fellow Republicans to whip up support for his pending run for Speaker. It is not yet clear if the conservative wing will get concessions and promises in return for throwing their support behind him
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Kevin McCarthy’s 2022 reelection bid and has voiced his support for McCarthy becoming Speaker if the GOP does end up winning the House. No other Republicans have announced a run for the speakership … yet.