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Can McCarthy be House Speaker after Liz Cheney fiasco?

Can McCarthy be House Speaker after Liz Cheney fiasco?

Yes, fiasco. 

There is an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy appears to have missed out on that bit of folk wisdom.

Earlier this year, House Republicans re-elected Congresswoman Liz Cheney to her number three post in Republican leadership.  She had originally attained that office by four years of hard work and unwavering devotion to conservative principles. 

In the closing days of the Trump administration, Cheney expressed her displeasure with President Trump by voting to impeach him for his role in ginning up the protest on Capitol Hill during the presidential election certification process.  All that was known when House Republicans re-elected her. 

That should have ended the issue.  If it had, Liz Cheney would have been a relatively “good soldier” – although no fan of Trump.  Her opinion of Trump is shared by a number of her Republican colleagues. More than are willing to say so publicly. 

At that point, it was up to the voters of Wyoming to decided if Cheney still represented their interests in Congress.  They could make that decision in 2022 – less than two years from now.  In the meantime – and based on her legislative history – Cheney might have redeemed herself among her colleagues and the voters back home. 

What happened next is a bit murky. 

For some reason, McCarthy either decided or was persuaded to re-visit the Liz Cheney issue. This time, he removed her from her leadership post.  She was to be replaced by New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik.

But why?  What changed?  The reason that was floated out for public consumption was that impeachment vote.  But that was taken into consideration when House Republicans re-elected her.  Forcing them to now un-elect her just weeks later has put the entire Republican caucus in the embarrassing position of reversing their votes for no apparent or saleable reason.

There must be more to it. 

One speculation is that McCarthy and Cheney had a classic personality clash.  If that is behind the sudden reversal, McCarthy has put pettiness atop political savvy. And he has unleashed any number of unfortunate consequences.

Rather than a marginally independent member of the leadership, McCarthy has made Cheney a woman scorned – and an instant national celebrity.  In terms of public appeal, Cheney is now the most powerful woman in the GOP.  She has proven that with the surge in her fundraising.  She has become – if not likely – at least a credible candidate for President in 2024.

No longer restrained by the discipline of leadership, she can and has gone full force in her attacks on Trump – taking up the left’s claim that he was responsible for the rioting on Capitol Hill and even using the left’s claim that it was an insurrection.  She sees Trump as not only a threat to the Republican Party, but to the nation, the democracy and the very future of the Republic.

It is the kind of hyperbole in which Liz Cheney could not have engaged as a member of the leadership team.  In a sense, McCarthy has created a political monster for himself.

It would appear – true or not – that McCarthy dumped Cheney in obedience to some secret – or suspected – order from Trump.  Whether it is true or not, Democrats have been able to give the claim political gravitas, much to McCarthy’s detriment.

The only possible positive McCarthy may derive out of this mess is that Cheney’s bitterness may propel her too far. Based on her current statements, she is certainly on the cusp of that possibility.

Liz Cheney has every chance of pushing away too much of the Republican base. 

And she will get no future benefit from the left who finds the current controversy politically useful at the moment.  Cheney needs to get re-elected in 2022 to something if she is to remain politically viable.

Her biggest problem may not be her personal dislike for Trump, but that her current statements – that she would do anything to stop Trump from returning to the Oval Office – aligns her with the most radical left-wing Democrats in history.  Would she really support President Biden for a second term … or the more likely candidacy of Vice President Kamala Harris? 

Both Cheney and McCarthy – and the House Republicans – would have been better off if they had let the initial Cheney election stand and gotten on to the business of the people.  The situation was not broken when McCarthy went to fix it.

So, what about Stefanik?

She is a good congresswoman – not as conservative as Cheney, but still a pretty good legislative record.  She is the fungible pawn in this political melodrama.  With the ousting of Cheney, someone had to be brought up to fill that position.  It could have been one of any number of House members.  For, reasons that generally expressed behind closed doors, she got the job.

There has been a little stir over the fact that she is not as conservative as Cheney.  And that does remove philosophy as one of the reasons for Cheney’s ouster – and loses McCarthy a few points with the more conservative members of his Republican caucus.

House members in leadership play an important role in the Chamber but are not well knowns or influential across the nation.  They are the worker bees of the legislative process.

Stefanik will do an acceptable to good job in her new position.  But as soon as the Liz Cheney affair moves on to different issues, Stefanik will return to relative obscurity.  She may have now reached the peak of her political career – and that is no criticism.

Unlike Stefanik, Cheney will be one of the most watched politicians in America for the next two years – maybe second only to Trump, himself.

And as far as McCarthy is concerned, if Republicans win control of the House, he is anticipated to be the Speaker.  But even if he is, he will be a less formidable Speaker after his mishandling of the Cheney situation – and she will be around to drive that point home every day.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Ben

    Cancel culture at its finest!

    This is a hoot! Who said republicans aren’t entertaining?

    • Omaha_Guy

      This is not entertaining. A major party’s “protest” was actually an attempt to kill congress people and the vice president. Instead of acknowledging the problem, they are punishing someone who is.

  2. AmeRican Joe

    Liz Cheney deserves to have her own opinions but she has attacked the most successful leadership for political reasons. The Swamp includes Republicans and I am not sure where she stands. Many people believed that the Democrats cheated in the recent elections, the Democrats buy the Teachers Unions & use tax payer money to buy votes disguised as stimulus. If Ms. Cheney focused on the wrong actions of the Democratic Party, maybe it would have been better. What about 40% of all Black Babies are killed by abortion annually? What about Dem support for Iran/Muslims over Jews/Israel? How about removing GOD from our lives? Do you accept not making people responsible for their actions like, crime, looting and burning businesses? How about accepting Antifa and Black Lives Matter peaceful protests that burn down our cities?

    • Anonymous

      Donald Trump is not the most successful candidate ever… he can’t possibly be that. He hasn’t won a popular vote yet, like Cheney.

  3. Hubert Cornwell

    Good for Kevin, Lizzy is a democrat in reality, BEGONE LIZZY- GREAT MOVE…

  4. El Felix

    Larry, only you would suggest that a politician with a 13% approval in her home district and one that is largely loathed by the Republican base maintain her position. Shaking my head for sure on this one.

  5. Hatman1793

    Liz Cheney cannot raise enough money (I don’t believe your fundraising surge) to bail her out of her 1st class cabin on the Titanic. And she has zero chances against Trump if he runs in 2024.

    Cheney can scrum with the phoney fake-news media all she wants, if she wants, & your assertion is true that these “Enemies of the people” will use her to promote Republican dissension on every issue. If Cheney plays that game her political career is doomed.

    Stefanik is the wild card. She voted no on many core T45 America First issues. That’s unforgivable. Perhaps she has made a better choice?

  6. Marti

    Liz Chevy doesnt care about Americans. She cares about war. That’s how the Cheney’s made their money. It’s time to get rid of the Bush rhinos!

  7. Doc

    RINO Liz. Give me a break. People are sick of DC. Left or right. Socialism is a danger to democracy. Division started with Obama. There lies your socialist leader. Who in their right mind thinks voting for Biden was a good thing. He belongs in assisted living. Now the whole damn world is in trouble. You need leadership. In your face leadership. China is laughing. Controlling oil gold and threatening war. Where was Liz? Bashing Trump. Someone China was afraid of. Joe? Liz screwed up for her RINO partners. She’s not the only one that should go.

  8. Don

    Larry, I usually agree with you but not on this one! I’m glad she’s gone!

  9. Ben

    Dang Larry… your batting % isn’t so good lately.
    You are obviously not in touch with the true believers.

  10. Joe S Bruder

    What Larry leaves out of his essay is that Stefanik is a total Trump apologist. She’s right up there with Gaetz and Boebert and the rest of the Q-conspiracy crowd. McCarthy changed his position, from condemning Trump for his role immediately after the Jan. 6th riots, to the now-official “they were just tourists” propaganda of the Insurrection Party. Repubicans are so scared of Trump coming out against them that they will just repeat any lie he tells them.

    Republicans have given up all pretense of trying to lead the country or fix problems, and are whipping their followers into lock-step opposition of anything that might implicate Trump or any of their members. In reality, instead of building up support, they are dooming the Party for the next few election cycles (or just maybe altogether destroying their own Party). They’ve just set up Cheney to go out and start another Conservative Party.