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Kevin McCarthy may not be the next House Speaker

Kevin McCarthy may not be the next House Speaker

Prior to the 2022 Midterm Election, virtually every politician, pollster, and pundit in America said two things with certainty – Republicans would take control of the House and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be the next Speaker.

While I did not entirely disagree with those prospects, I had written several commentaries explaining my opinion as to why I did not believe he was the best choice.  I based it on a number of fumbles – small and large. 

I believe his flipping and flopping have hurt his credibility – the one asset no political leader can afford to lose.  I thought he mishandled the response to the Capitol Hill riot … the Liz Cheney defection …  and the formation of the Speaker Pelosi kangaroo Select Committee.  He is not one of the most powerful salesmen on the political soapbox.

McCarthy was able to get himself to the top post in the Republican House caucus.  That is a noteworthy accomplishment.  But that is playing the insider game better than others.  Being Speaker, you must have outside game talents — the power of public persuasion over internal political gut combat.  McCarthy just does not have it.

My personal favorite for Speaker is Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise – but there are others who could fill the position.

Well, the 2022 Midterm Election did not go as McCarthy would have liked.  If Republicans had picked up 30 or 40 seats – as had been expected early on – McCarthy would probably be sailing into the Speaker’s office without a doubt.

McCarty’s problem is that there are several of his members who are not keen on him as Speaker.  McCarthy would have easily staved off a tempest-in-a-teapot rebellion from those associated with what is known as the Freedom Caucus.  But with the margin so close, they can exert significant influence by withholding their vote – preventing McCarthy from getting the 218 Republican votes he needs to become Speaker.

The word out of Washington as of this writing is that McCarthy does not have the votes.  Some think he will eventually get the votes, but only after making serious concessions to the Freedom Caucus.  That usually means committee chairmanships, support for favored legislation, and even help raising campaign money.

But for the first time, there is serious doubt being expressed that McCarthy will be able to get those 218 votes.  You have to keep in mind that a lot of votes that McCarthy would have gotten when he was a potential slam dunk winner may slip away.

Ironically, Democrats could come to McCarthy’s rescue – believing that he would be the weakest and least effective Speaker.  Unlike the Minority Leader position – which takes a majority vote of the PARTY, the Speaker is elected by a vote of the entire house.

Traditionally, the minority party does not meddle in the election of a speaker, but today’s Democrats have been cynically willing to break tradition for political gain.  We saw how Pelosi used (abused) her power to kick Republicans off her one-sided Select Committee – and how Democrats spent $100 million dollars on Republican primary candidates they considered to be the weakest opponents.

Congressman Andy Biggs does not equivocate.  He says that McCarthy “does not have the votes” – and that the wannabe Speaker is in denial.  He said the Minority Leader is “getting ahead of himself” when he talks about what he will do when he is Speaker.

It is increasingly possible that the selection of the Speaker will require many votes over several weeks. There has not been such a contentious Speaker battle in more than a century.  If McCarthy does not secure the Speakership in the first couple of votes, it is likely he never will.

In my opinion, that would be a good thing.

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. Ted

    Virginia Foxx would be a great choice

  2. Bubba Love

    Jim Jordan for house speaker.

  3. Rick

    Those that run the show from behind the curtain will install the one they want and can fully control.

  4. MikefromTexas

    Shame the republicans don’t have the balls that the dems. have. We need a person to treat the dems like they treated the republicans.

  5. Frank stetson

    We called him Mitch……

    And Kevin ain’t no Mitch, he ain’t even Nancy.

  6. Ac

    For every prognostication the devil is in the details called variables. Meaning unpredictability. One better not bet the farm on Kevin not becoming Speaker. Given the Republican caucus’ unruly membership, back room scheming, guid pro quo shenanigans, and penchant for grandstanding by more than a few members, it’s a scramble. We will know for certain after the dust settles.
    A more assured certainty, if McCarthy does squeak through with political wrangling, his ability for leadership will become apparent straight away. Minority Leader of his caucus, McCarthy fumbled the reins driving that wagon. Keeping a rocket ship like the USHR on course is far and aways above his present rank. Second Lieutenant rank does not prepare one for the Four Star General’s duties and responsibilities.
    Larry, you are not a fan of Speaker Pelosi, but you have to agree she had to be of the Four Star General type in character and grit. Kevin is no Nancy. Nor is anyone in the Republican caucus.
    As the House stands at present, the coming two years are going to be bumpy.
    Interesting times for punditry riding the American political pendulum.

    • larry Horist

      Ac … I would totally concede that Pelosi was a very skilled and effective Speaker.. Unfortunately, from my perspective, I wish she was less effective …lol. It is all abut the issues. I would not giver her a four-star rank on character. I think some of those money deal with her husband have come to the edge of illegal conflict of interest — if not crossing it.

  7. Tom

    I agree with you Larry. Not only does he not have the skills necessary to work and sell GOP principles and programs across the aisle, I really do believe that back when he appeared to be a slam dunk and did nothing to explain GOP platform and just kept drilling down on investigations and impeachments, this harmed him and the GOP. I believe it was one of the two reasons, the other being Trump and MAGA rhetoric that caused several good GOP candidates to lose their contest because it turned off more people than it energized – including me. And yes you are correct, he seems to be a bit of a wet noodle, flip flopper, and a bit of a suck up when it is in his best interest to further his career.

    You bring up a good point that Dems might come to his rescue because he is the weaker of their enemies. I do believe a party that pays for commercial airtime for their weaker enemy opponents might just go this far! It is very plausible! Steve Scalise from LA or possibly Jim Jordan from OH. I do not keep up with this much but do feel certain that there are better choices than Kevin McCarthy.

  8. Joseph S. Bruder

    McCarthy wants the Speakership so bad that he’ll do anything, and that (rightly) included criticizing Trump for his Jan 6th actions, but then flip-flopping and embracing Trump in order to keep his approval. It shows him to be duplicitous and conniving, rather than being a true leader.

    I would disagree with two points – first of all, Cheney did not defect from the Republican Party. The Republican Party left all morals and traditions behind to follow cult leader Trump. She just didn’t follow the Party when it changed course.

    Secondly, the opposition Party doesn’t usually “meddle” in the selection of the Speaker because it CAN’T. That sort of thing is usually handled behind closed doors and the opposition has nothing to do with it. In this case, it’s clear that McCarthy doesn’t have the support of all the members, and Republican margin is thin. If 10 members decide they want to back someone else, and it’s acceptable to Democrats, then it’s perfectly acceptable for Dems to vote for that candidate. Tell me with a straight face that Republicans wouldn’t do it if they had the chance…

    I’ve heard Liz Cheney’s name floated as a possible Speaker. The Speaker does not have to be a member of the House. She’s certainly got Conservative credentials, and (being the daughter of Dick Cheney) she probably has dirt on enough Reps to be able to twist arms. She has shown she can work with Democrats on the 1/6 Committee, and she seems be one of the few Republicans not in the thrall of Trump. I think she’s pragmatic enough to know she won’t be able to get ultra-conservative legislation to Biden’s desk, but can compromise enough to get bipartisan support on legislation that might pass in the Senate. Legislation that McCarthy manages to ram through without Dem support will be DOA in the Senate.

    Democrats might support her, because she probably won’t allow any Republican witch hunts against Hunter Biden or any silliness proposed by Taylor-Greene about impeaching everyone in the Democratic Party. There might be some horse-trading going on to get Dems on to key committees (or even let Dems have a majority in a couple, like Energy, Environment, and Science-related committees) in return for their support. The Republican margin is thin enough that they’ll have to work with Democrats to pass anything, and I don’t see McCarthy with anything but a complete adversarial role. Cheney, if she’s honest and fair, could actually turn the House back into a working body.

    If they choose McCarthy or another Trump-fluffer as Speaker, the entire term will be a failure, and Republicans will get defeated en-masse in the next elections. Or they can pick someone respectable, who will try to actually accomplish something. But Republicans are good at shooting themselves in the foot…

  9. frank stetson

    McCarthy lost it long ago becoming a fervent Trumplicant. Then again, hard to find an candidate that’s acceptable to Larry’s party that isn’t. It will be hard for anyone to control the Republican House, too many extremists, too many looking to make their bones, too many looking for media moments.

    As the new leader takes command, remember AOC and the squad and how they entered the House loaded for bear and how Pelosi herded them into the chamber like sheep. Mitch did the same in the Senate. Pelosi was an old school master of that, Schumer is not so much so, yet he has the experience. So, it will be fun to watch and see whether they go investigation crazy, or focus in on the wins.

    As an aside, the other day I read a FOX piece demanding investigations and answers as to why non-sanctioned covid remedies were not allowed since they work, then as to why masks even mattered since they don’t work at all, and then to investigate why vaccines were needed since they do not work. If the new House goes that way, it will certainly not end well. I find it amazing and almost criminal that FOX would even entertain such a story with so many falsehoods easily dumped on by looking at the evidence. For example, yes, the vaccines do not protect 100% against infection, they did in the beginning, but not after the variants. All was explained. The vaccines did and do protect us better from severe outcomes. Again, the evidence is out there, it is clear — the unvaccinated have the highest risk of severe outcome. And while they are not the leading percentage in the current death toll, that isn’t because they fare better, there’s just less cases and less death altogether. BUT if they catch it —- the statistics are clear.

    If the House looks at shit like that, it will not end well for your party in 2024. The Speaker choice is very important to all of us.