Monday, January 9, 2023

Blame "Moderate" GOP House Members for Speakership Fiasco, Not MAGA Representatives

It took 15 ballots to elect a speaker of the United House of Representatives. Much of the blame for the fiasco that played out over several days was aimed at the extreme-MAGA representatives who held out against voting for, now, Speaker Kevin McCarthy.  That blame is misplaced.  The blame should instead be laid at the feet of the rest of the GOP conference, the representatives who thought it was a good idea to make concession after concession to the MAGA crowd in order to make McCarthy speaker.

I have to question any member of Congress who thinks McCarthy actually has such good leadership skills that no better option was available.  McCarthy had proven himself to be not particularly bright, a spineless, shape-shifter without any core beliefs other than he should be Speaker.  McCarthy fancies himself a "leader" when in fact all he does is to try to find out which way the crowd is going so he can sprint out in front of it.  There are plenty of people who in Congress who have better leadership qualities, but members of the GOP conference insisted it had to be Kevin McCarthy or bust.  And they busted.  The Republican Party now has a Speaker that has been totally stripped of power to do his job, all because the crazy MAGA-wing refused to vote for McCarthy until he was completely neutered as a leader.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy

It didn't have to be that way.  There was an easy way out. The GOP conference could easily have put the MAGA reps in their place by simply cutting a deal for a few Democratic votes for Speaker.  It wouldn't have taken much.  Increased Democratic membership on the committees might have been enough to do the trick.  Republicans would have still run things in the House with such a deal.  Now that McCarthy has given the MAGA crazies everything they want, they will be running the House of Representatives, not the 95% of Republicans who voted for McCarthy through 15 votes.

McCarthy proved he didn't care about anything other than his having the title of Speaker.  His ambition, while foolish, is understandable.  I don't blame him or the MAGA House members who were simply acting as crazy as ever.  They were just being who they are. 

Rather, I blame the Republican members of the House, the ones often mislabeled as "moderates" because they are not entirely MAGA crazy.  They surely knew that McCarthy's quest was foolish and his concessions would hurt the GOP's ability to run the chamber.  Yet they did not look for alternatives to McCarthy's cutting deals with the crazy caucus.   

The American people deserve better.


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