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McCarthy living up to my expectations … unfortunately

McCarthy living up to my expectations … unfortunately

Shortly after Republicans took control of the House, I expressed my opinion that Kevin McCarthy was not the right guy for the job of Speaker.  I based it on two negatives.  That he is not good at messaging and not the best political strategist on the scene.  His rather dramatic flip-flops suggested fluctuating pragmatism over principle.  My personal pick was Congressman Steve Scalise – but there were others I would have supported over McCarthy.

While I strongly disagreed with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it would be difficult to argue that she was not a strong leader.  In terms of Republicans, the best role model was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich has the two traits that McCarthy lacks.  He was brilliant at messaging and understood political strategy.  It was Gingrich who brought forth the successful Contract with America that gave the GOP control of the House.  He is the primary reason for reforms in the House (since reversed by Pelosi) and the balanced budgets of the 1990s.  While those budgets were approved by President Clinton, it is the exclusive authority of the House to propose the budget.

In the 28 years since Gingrich was elected Speaker in 1995, Democrats (Pelosi) have held that position for only eight years – with Republicans changing Speakers five times.  Succeeding Gingrich as House Speaker were Republicans Denny Hastert, John Boehner and Paul Ryan – all of them more powerful than McCarthy.

McCarthy’s weakness as a leader was evident in the fact that it took 14 roll calls for him to eke out the bare minimum votes to be elected Speaker.  It also required him to make a number of major concessions that would weaken his ability to function.  He even had to agree to a trapdoor provision that could have him removed as Speaker at any time.

Pelosi had the power to discipline members who fell out of line – and she knew how to use it.  With McCarthy, such power is trumped (no pun intended) by the trapdoor provision.  The power polarity is reversed.  A handful of members have the power to discipline or punish McCarthy.

One cannot deny that McCarthy has a certain facility in the insider game – or he would not even have become Minority Leader and Speaker.  Unfortunately, he has no talent for getting his issues across to the public.  He always seems to be on defense rather than offense.  A good Speaker needs to be a … good speaker.

There is a reference in the Bible asking who would heed “an uncertain trumpet.”  McCarthy is that uncertain trumpet.  Whether that trapdoor is triggered, McCarthy should retire after one term and allow the GOP – if they hold the House – to elect a new Speaker.

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. Dan tyree

    We need to give McCarthy a much larger majority to work with.

  2. frank stetson

    Tell me that the pod people have not replaced Horist with AI……

    Bravo, I said this about McCarthy on day one. And given the initial vote, did not really expect much. You just left one problem out: no one else wants the job. Would you? These people are bat shit crazy dysfunctional and often without a clue. The current budget thing is laughable except for the potential ramifications on ordinary citizens of their Quixotic quest to end the DOJ case against Donald J. Trump. That said, McCarthy does not have the chops for the job.

    Before Trump, I had said Pelosi’s time had come, it was time to breathe new life into the Democratic House, time to exorcise the old school. After Trump, I thanked God she was there. Lesson to the kids: old time politicking, behind the barn deals, firm hand on the wheel, still important in the House, double important in the Senate. R’s have 6 newbies in the 118th, D’s have two, one of whom is Fetterman who has some legislative chops. R/D 5/4 newbies in the 117th and 6/2 in the 116th. That’s a lot of newbies although a few have some experience like Rick Scott.

    But look how Pelosi handled the squad compared to McCarthy. They were loud, mouthed off immediately and quickly — for some reason — turned down the volume fast. Pelosi. In the Senate, Schumer is meh, McConnell is amazingly strong as was Reid before him. Skills matter. McCarthy has few. You brought up Gingrich, I agree, but you left out his demise upon meeting the Teflon revenge raider — Ali Bill Clinton. Bill had the amazing ability to remained untouched and even get you back later without you seeing it or many others noticing it. All we know is it took decades for Gingrich to make it back to FOX and Starr —- oh my, the guy had to die to be noticed again. I marveled at Clinton’s ability to float like a butterfly but sting like a bee. Never seeing anything like it, Johnson smiles down in appreciation from heaven.

    Hats off Horist, on this one, you are indeed the “new Charles Krauthammer” perhaps with a little G. Will on top!

  3. JoeyP

    Without PRAGMATISM, you may NOT get your principles. You must work with others

  4. mike f

    Larry, The point you are missing in this post is that the GOP in congress (particularly in the house) is ungovernable. Sure, Kevin is not a very sharp or talented guy. Both Boner and Ryan decided they had had enough of the people they had to deal with in the house, and arguably the Republican members of congress have gotten much worse since then. You praise Newt-what an awful person to hold up as a role model for the GOP! And therein lies the problem with the current Republican Party-character no longer matters, simply toeing the party line and espousing whatever the current catchword to “own the libs” is all that matters to Republicans-yourself included. There were two members of the last Congress who at least had some dignity (and intelligence), but because they dared to oppose your POS President, so they were destined for the cutting room floor. They had beliefs that most of the rest of us that oppose the current batch of Republicans: character matters. Unlike the rest of you spineless vegetables, they were not afraid to voice those opinions. So, what you end up with is a ship of fools-who can argue that Marge, Lauren, Matt, Paul (and so many others) are the dumbest people to be elected to congress. And yet those are the people that are calling the shots. Until you (and the rest of the Republican party) wake up and realize you cannot continue to elect idiots, Congress will continue to be ungovernable when Republicans are in the majority-no matter who sits at he Speaker’s desk….

    • Dan tyree

      Marjary Taylor Green would make it great speaker.

      • Mike f

        MTG is a worthless POS that should embarrass every thinking republican-woops, that’s an oxymoron, there no longer any thinking republicans…