Boots & Sabers

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1915, 05 Jan 23

McCarthy Fails 11th Vote to Become Speaker


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.


1915, 05 January 2023


  1. dad29

    By the way, the debt ceiling (raise to $40 TRILLION) is coming up in February.

    Let’s hope there’s no Speaker until May! Of course, the Feds will keep operating by using incoming revenue to pay current obligations–which puts the lie to their whining about ‘shut down.’

    But if it actually gets to “shut-down”……….so much the better.

    Some spending will continue (SS, Medicare/Medicaid, interest on the debt). Bureaucrats will get their back pay eventually. But if there’s no SPeaker, no House member will be paid. Instead, they’ll feel like hundreds of thousands of citizens felt in the ’08-’10 era.

  2. Merlin

    And we’re down to seven holdouts. Hopefully the last remaining obstacle is for McCarthy to put all those concessions in writing, sign his name to the document, and publish it to the world. Shine a little sunlight on the whole process.

  3. dad29

    McCarthy to put all those concessions in writing, sign his name to the document, and publish it to the world

    Six-pack of Sprecher’s says he’ll NEVER do that–or if he does, he’ll ignore it.

  4. Merlin

    >Six-pack of Sprecher’s says he’ll NEVER do that–or if he does, he’ll ignore it.

    Depends on how badly he wants the position. RNC/GOPe sure appears to lack the juice to threaten, shame, or otherwise coerce their way to control. I’ll admit I certainly didn’t expect such stiff resolve from the principled few. Using truth to play absolute scorched-earth, smash mouth politics was unexpected. They may yet go down in flames, but at least they seized their only real opportunity to effect change. Had they just gone along for the ride they would have been ghosted before McCarthy finished his first cup of coffee.

    This makes AOC and her squad look like preschoolers. I wonder if everyone’s favorite bartender is taking notes.

  5. MHMaley

    The House is burning and the bystanders are praising the arsonists as “principled “ individuals “

    Having their asses handed to them in the easiest midterms in history has taught them nothing .

    2 Years of not governing followed by 2 years of massive government as GOP winners in Biden districts get wiped out

    Liberals are thanking the GOP in advance .

  6. Mar

    “Six-pack of Sprecher’s says he’ll NEVER do that–or if he does, he’ll ignore it.”
    Another thing I miss from Wisconsin. Sprecher.

  7. Mar

    Oh, MHMaley, pipe dreams, wet dreams.
    Lots of dreaming hoping reality, but in the end, it’s just a dream.

  8. Merlin

    Well, well, well. The sun continues to rise. Go figure.

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