Posted BY: J. Robert Smith
The speaker’s election isn’t until January, so isn’t it premature to anoint Kevin McCarthy as a speaker? No, it isn’t — unless Matt Gaetz and his four amigos hold tight in their suicide mission. That ain’t happening. Shorting McCarthy of votes might hand the speakership to woke New York Democrat Hakeem Jeffries (Democrats will vote in lockstep, of course). Never count out squishy Republicans doing a stupid thing. A messy fight for the speakership would leave the House in disarray. Not a good start for Republicans.
If the five conservatives who oppose McCarthy’s election — Gaetz, Biggs, Good, Rosendale, and Norman — stand fast, McCarthy would fall a vote shy of election. But at least one of them won’t stand fast. McCarthy will secure that solitary vote. Not all the renegades are going to bag McCarthy knowing that Democrats profit. Some or all five will strike a deal with McCarthy. Concessions won — if they’re the right sort — are good things.
With McCarthy as a speaker, the five — and lots of other House conservatives — will still enjoy a ton of leverage over the next two years. They need to use their power to not just push critical legislation but shape it. The devil is in the details.