Kevin McCarthy came up short once again on Thursday as he lost the eleventh House vote to elect a new speaker in what has now become the longest speaker contest in 164 years.
Each failed vote only increases pressure on McCarthy to end the impasse, but it is unclear whether he will be able to pull it off as the situation grows increasingly dire for his future political prospects.
Even after proposing major concessions to his hardline conservative opponents late Wednesday, the California Republican has still not yet been able to lock in the 218 votes he needs to win the gavel. The longer the fight drags out, the more dire it becomes for McCarthy’s future, as it risks further defections and a loss of confidence in the GOP leader.
My overall thought on this kerfuffle is that the longer the House is not passing bills, the better. Especially in light of the fact that we have divided government and no conservative legislation would ever pass into law, it’s better that they just sit back and do as little damage as possible. That is preferable to another bipartisan Trillion-dollar spending fiasco.
On the politics, I certainly see both sides. There is nothing that requires a congressman to vote for something they don’t want even if a majority of their colleagues disagree. Each one was elected by their constituents and has a duty to vote their conscience. If they don’t want McCarthy, so be it. I question their sincerity or the ideological or political underpinnings of their decision, but it’s theirs to make.
On the other hand, in a caucus with a narrow majority, I can see the argument that 90% of the caucus wants this guy as speaker, so the remaining 10% shouldn’t be too douchey by defying the wishes of the majority of the caucus.
Democracy is messy. It’s supposed to be. The system is designed so that broad consensus must be reached before doing important things. I much prefer a dogfight where elected representatives are fighting their causes instead of blind following of leadership like we have seen so often recently as these same legislators spent our grandchildren’s wealth and ignited an inflation nightmare.
This is going to be how this Congress will work. The Republicans will not be able to pass much legislation as small factions hold out for various reasons. But since no conservative legislation would make it into law anyway, I can live with that. Brutal stalemates for two years would help heal this country.