Playbook: “Kevin McCarthy’s reign as House speaker is finished. But the chaos and infighting that plagued his brief tenure isn’t. In fact, it might just be beginning.”
“As it stands, the plan is straightforward enough: Take a week, elect a new speaker, and roll merrily along. Acting Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, McCarthy’s hand-picked interim caretaker, told fellow House Republicans behind closed doors last night that he plans to hold a candidate debate Tuesday, with votes to follow Wednesday.”
“We can tell you this morning, there isn’t much sense inside the House GOP that it will be able to heal its bitter divisions and coalesce around a new speaker anywhere near that soon.”
Punchbowl News: “Without a speaker, the chamber won’t be able to advance its legislative agenda. Thus the House’s top priority will be to choose a speaker. Remember, this is the first time in history that a speaker has been ousted in the middle of a congressional term. We are, once again, in unchartered territory.”
“There’s no timeline by which Republicans will pick – and more importantly, elect — a new speaker. Several House Republican lawmakers and aides have suggested that the chamber should recess to give GOP lawmakers time to figure out who they want to lead the chamber. Or who can get the job.”
“Every Republican who might consider a run for the office will be looking to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy could run again, despite today’s stunner.”
“There’s no House speaker, Republicans are tearing each other to shreds over Kevin McCarthy’s ouster and another shutdown deadline is less than six weeks away — with no leader in a strong enough position to guide the party through,” Politico reports. “The history-making spectacle that played out on the House floor Tuesday amounted to ‘stepping on a rake’ heading into an election year, as one Republican lawmaker put it.”
“Senate Republicans are watching the rebellion against Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the House with serious alarm and are concerned over what the chaos will mean for the GOP’s brand in the 2024 election,” The Hill reports. “GOP senators are worried about the party’s ability to govern over the next 13 months and whether they’ll be able to avoid a government shutdown later this year.”
Yesterday’s vote to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was truly historic but also entirely predictable. Every single Republican speaker since the Tea Party emerged in 2010 has been run out of town. The same populist forces that drove John Boehner and Paul Ryan into retirement — and were given actual power by Donald Trump — have now taken their latest victim.
Dozens of articles this morning describe the House Republican caucus as “ungovernable.” That’s true because there’s no longer any ideological consistency across the party. For all of the problems of the Democratic Party, there is an ideological line from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Both are committed to the party’s goals of trying to use government to improve the lives of their constituents.
The news media focuses on their differences, of course, but their voting records still show a great deal of overlap. That’s not true of the Republican party anymore. One side of the party is committed to the traditional Republican goals of low taxes and conservative social policies, but the other side just wants to tear it all down. There’s no reconciling these positions. Trump has mostly kept the party together through a cult of personality. But if his grip on the GOP weakens — or he leaves the scene — don’t be surprised to see the breakup of the Republican Party accelerate.
Ron Brownstein: “The fall of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy today demonstrated again that the one sin that cannot be forgiven in the modern Republican Party is being seen as failing to fight the Democratic agenda by any means necessary.”
MCCARTHY IS NOT RUNNING. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he will not run for House speaker again. Said McCarthy: “I will not run for Speaker again. I’ll have the conference pick somebody else.” The House is done for the week and there will be no more votes.
“Kevin McCarthy became the shortest-tenured US House speaker in 147 years on Tuesday, ousted by Republican hardliners who toppled him with a rarely used maneuver that had never before succeeded,” Bloomberg reports.
New York Times: “With the GOP base increasingly hungry for insurgency and confrontation, Mr. McCarthy found himself out of step, a problem that is likely to plague any candidate who tries to succeed him…”
“For Mr. McCarthy, who practiced a management style of doing and saying pretty much whatever it would take to get through the day, tomorrow finally arrived.”
John Harris: “McCarthy’s ouster is dramatic evidence, if redundant, about the state of the modern GOP. A party that used to have an instinctual orientation toward authority and order — Democrats fall in love, went the old chestnut, while Republicans fall in line — is now animated by something akin to nihilism.”
“The politics of contempt so skillfully exploited by Donald Trump is turned inward on hapless would-be leaders like McCarthy with no less ferocity than it is turned outward on liberals and the media.”
WHO IS RUNNING? Punchbowl News: “Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s stunning downfall at the hands of hardline conservatives has set off a chain reaction inside the upper ranks of the GOP conference. The only spot technically open right now is speaker, but that could quickly change.”
“House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has already made an extensive round of calls seeking endorsements for speaker. He’ll meet with the Texas Republican delegation today (other candidates may, too). The 25 Texas votes are the biggest prize out there for House Republicans. Scalise already locked up the endorsement of Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX).”
“Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the powerful Judiciary Committee chair and a conservative favorite, is making calls and sounding out supporters. It could get very interesting very fast if Jordan, who is aligned with McCarthy and being pushed by some of his allies, enters the race. A Jordan-Scalise speaker race would be one for the books.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has begun calling Republicans seeking their support to become speaker, Punchbowl News reports. Scalise began with some hardline conservatives who opposed McCarthy, then has moved on to key Republican delegations including Texas and Florida.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is having conversations with House GOP allies as he seriously entertains a bid for speaker, Politico reports. “Jordan, who once challenged McCarthy for the speakership before becoming his biggest defender among conservative hardliners, has grown in popularity with the conference in recent years, but some centrists and rank-and-file members may be cool to the idea of his ascension given his role in helping force out former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).”
Sean Hannity: “Sources telling me at this hour that some House Republicans have been in contact with, and started an effort to draft former President Donald Trump to be speaker. I have been told that President Trump might be open to helping the Republican party — at least in the short term.”
LOL. First, it won’t happen. Being speaker requires hard work, and intelligence. We have just seen what happens to a Speaker who does not do the work, lies to everyone and is dumb. Second, if it does happen, it would immediately destroy all Republicans in competitive districts everywhere. So please proceed, Governor.
PETTY REVENGE ON THE DEMOCRATS. “As one of his first acts as the acting speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry ordered former Speaker Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol hideaway office by Wednesday,” Politico reports.
“Republicans — McCarthy — are taking revenge for Democrats voting with eight Republicans to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the speakership.”
“Expect more of this, GOP sources tell us.”
Pelosi commented to NBC News: “This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition… Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems to be important to them.”
“Republicans in the Problem Solvers Caucus are weighing quitting the bipartisan group after Democrats opted against helping former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) keep his leadership position on Tuesday,” Axios reports. “GOP members in the group are furious at their Democratic colleagues who voted to remove McCarthy. The Republicans say he was punished for “doing the right thing” after advancing a stopgap funding bill on a bipartisan basis.”
“Frustrated members said that Democrats in the group, which is aimed at finding bipartisan solutions, sparked chaos for political gain despite many Republicans in the group having faced primaries for crossing the aisle and taking difficult votes.”
DEMOCRATIC REACTION. Washington Post: “Some Democrats pitied him and all his efforts to appease a group of intransigent right-wing radicals. But they said he had to pay a price for making so many promises and backing away from them.”
“They recalled how, immediately after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, McCarthy blamed President Donald Trump and called for an independent commission to investigate, only to throw his support behind Trump after he left office and to oppose a deep investigation.”
WHO IS ACTING SPEAKER PATRICK MCHENRY? A bigoted c***, that is who he is.
REACTION TO GAETZ. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) told CNN that he expects a resolution to expel Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) from the GOP conference to come up. Meanwhile, Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) added: “I’d love to have him out of the conference. He shouldn’t be in the Republican Party.”
Politico: “They left the House chamber last night furious after Gaetz led seven other GOP members — and Democrats — to eject former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from his leadership post.”
“They called Gaetz divisive. Disrespectful. Selfish. No other Florida Republican voted to oust McCarthy.”
“Florida’s GOP delegation see Gaetz as carrying out a personal vendetta, accusing him of an overzealous bid for attention and of trying to position himself to become the state’s future governor.”
REPUBLICAN REACTION. “House Republicans were distraught, furious and concerned for the future of their party after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced he won’t run for speaker again after being ousted on Tuesday,” Axios reports. “Several Republican lawmakers suggested it will be a challenge for any would-be McCarthy successor to unify the fractious conference he failed to tame.” Said Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD): “Frankly, one has to wonder whether the House is governable at all.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Scripps News that he opposed Kevin McCarthy “when it wasn’t cool, years ago.” He also blamed Donald Trump for putting McCarthy “into that position.”
Washington Post: “Americans are more likely to die before age 65 than residents of similar nations, despite living in a country that spends substantially more per person on health care than its peers. Many of those early deaths can be traced to decisions made years ago by local and state lawmakers over whether to implement cigarette taxes, invest in public health or tighten seat-belt regulations.”
Washington Post on Special Prosecutor Jack Smith: “The unrelenting aggressiveness that is his greatest strength is also Smith’s greatest weakness.”
“Alongside his legal victories — and there have been many in three decades of prosecutorial activity large and small (he once nabbed a birthday party clown turned stickup artist dubbed the Lotto Bandit) — his willingness to push into areas that more risk-averse prosecutors would not have touched has undone him more than once. In some of his biggest cases — going after senators, a governor, a notorious cop killer — he reached for an outcome that he could not achieve.”
“Fulton County prosecutors are floating plea deals to a number of defendants in the election interference case involving former President Donald Trump,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. “At least a handful of the now 18 defendants have received offers from the District Attorney’s office — or prosecutors have touched base with their attorneys to gauge their general interest in striking a deal for a reduced charge in exchange for their cooperation.”
“It’s common for prosecutors to float plea deals to lower-level defendants in large racketeering cases as they home in on their biggest targets.”
New York Times: “No one close to Mr. Giuliani has suggested that drinking could excuse or explain away his present legal and personal disrepair. He arrived for a mug shot in Georgia in August not over rowdy nightlife behavior or reckless cable interviews but for allegedly abusing the laws he defended aggressively as a federal prosecutor, subverting the democracy of a nation that once lionized him.”
“Yet to almost anyone in proximity, friends say, Mr. Giuliani’s drinking has been the pulsing drumbeat punctuating his descent — not the cause of his reputational collapse but the ubiquitous evidence, well before Election Day in 2020, that something was not right with the former president’s most incautious lieutenant.”
“Now, prosecutors in the federal election case against Mr. Trump have shown an interest in the drinking habits of Mr. Giuliani — and whether the former president ignored what his aides described as the plain inebriation of the former mayor referred to in court documents as ‘Co-Conspirator 1.’”