The House is immobilized as Republicans frantically try to get their act together in the wake of Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as speaker. With no speaker, the House can’t get anything done—and the House has stuff it needs to get done. That doesn’t mean Republicans are moving quickly, though. You know those anxiety dreams where you desperately need to get somewhere and you’re going to be late, but you keep getting delayed and going off on tangents? The Republican quest for a new speaker is a little like that.
It was reasonable that Republicans didn’t dive straight into a new round of speaker votes immediately after McCarthy was voted out. That would have been a recipe for increased chaos as the variously stunned, befuddled, enraged, or triumphant Republicans tried to find a direction. Now they have two well-known candidates inMajority Leader Steve Scalise and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, yet after their days of breathing time and a long weekend, they’re not exactly rushing.
Monday night they’re planning a closed-door meeting to talk things over, so expect lots of leaks coming out of that. (A candidate forum televised on Fox News had been planned for Monday evening, but that plan didn’t go over well and was abandoned.)
Tuesday at 5 PM they’re planning an internal, for-their-eyes-only candidate forum.
Wednesday they’re planning another closed-door meeting, at which they’ll supposedly vote for a speaker candidate to bring to a full House vote … at some yet-to-be-determined point.
Meanwhile, some Republicans are fantasizing about bringing McCarthy back. “A short window is all we need in the House to reinstate Kevin McCarthy and change the rule,” Rep. John Duarte told Politico, apparently without identifying which Republicans who voted against McCarthy last Tuesday are likely to flip their votes, allowing this to happen quickly.
No, Republicans are getting set to fight out the choice between Jordan, described by former Republican speaker John Boehner as a “legislative terrorist,” and Scalise, who once described himself as “David Duke without the baggage.” It’s quite a choice.
Scalise is a strong fundraiser and he’s on the far right. But the legislative terrorist wing of the House Republican conference is, as McCarthy’s fate reminds us, extremely good at getting what it wants.
A Jordan speakership would mean Republicans had made a strong decision for getting nothing done. Jordan is not a legislator, he’s 50 pounds of ego in a 10-pound bag, specializing in getting in front of cameras and screaming. But Jordan has Donald Trump’s endorsement, and McCarthy staff have reportedly been promoting Jordan in phone calls to Republican members.
The thing is, unless House Republicans suddenly get their acts together in a way we’ve not seen from them recently, it’s going to be at least a few days before we have an inkling which it will be.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.