Select Page

McCarthy Strikes Out in the First Inning

McCarthy Strikes Out in the First Inning

Tuesday was the day that two events traditionally take place – at least for the past 100 years.  The party in control of the House elects the new Speaker, and the newly elected members get sworn in – with families in the photo ops.  Neither took place.

That is because the heir-apparent to the speakership – at least in his own mind – did not get the required number of votes.    Leading up to the balloting, it was generally reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarty may be five votes short of the request number of 218.  In the final days leading up to the vote, there was a speculated increase in the “no” voters.  However, no one predicted that 19 House members would vote for Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan instead.  

To be perfectly clear, Jordan is in no way in contention for be Speaker.  He just represented the protest vote.  The House took three votes – and McCarthy lost in all three.  In fact, the “no” vote ominously increased to 20.

McCarthy had wanted to keep voting, but virtually every member of the body yelled “yea” to a motion to adjourn until noon the next day.

To understand what may happen in the future, you need to know two things about the election of the Speaker.  The Speaker is elected by the ENTIRE body – Republicans, Democrats and independents. And the Speaker does not have to be a member of the House – as long as the person meets the age requirement.  There was even silly talk about electing Trump as Speaker – or slightly less silly, former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Traditionally, each party puts up a candidate for Speaker.  Traditionally, the majority party sticks together and defeats the minority party candidate.  Not this time.  In fact, the Democrat candidate – New York Congressman Hakeem Jefferies — garnered more votes than McCarthy, but not enough to become Speaker.

It is generally reported that McCarthy needs 218 votes to become Speaker – but that is not an absolute.  If some members do not show up for the vote – or if they only vote “present” – the number needed goes down.

Knowing that they do not have the votes to elect the Speaker, a few Democrats could vote for McCarthy in the belief that he would be a besieged and ineffective Speaker.  And they would not be wrong.

The problem for the Republicans is … if not McCarthy, then who?  Who could get the required number of votes?  If McCarthy continues to fall short, at some point, a viable name will emerge.  But that could be after several more ballots.

The other option is McCarthy — realizing he ain’t ever going to get the required votes – withdraws his candidacy.  For all concerned, I think that would be the best option.  But then again, I have frequently written my hope that McCarthy would not be the new Speaker.  My choice was – and it — Louisiana Congress Steve Scalise.

If McCarthy does get elected Speaker, it may be the result of political skullduggery.  What if some Democrats vote for him – or if a bunch of Democrats votes “present.”  McCarthy would achieve his ambition, but he would be arguably the least powerful … the least popular … and the least effective Speaker in American history.  He could be that anyway.

Facing multiple votes, McCarthy said he would not care if he held the record for the most votes – just as he noted he holds the record for the longest speech in Congress.  Why he would brag about that is inexplicable.  If he wants to set the record number of votes, the speakership will be in doubt for a long time.  That record was set in 1856 with 133 votes over two months.

McCarthy did not wait for the vote.  He moved all his files and other “stuff” into the Speakers Office.  Some may see that as optimism, but to me, it is arrogance – and another example of why the GOP can do better than McCarthy.

Some see the situation as chaos – and even a failure of democracy.  Personally, I see it as democracy in action.  Those seeing the chaos then to be those on the left who like certainty in choosing powerful leaders and dominating political discourse.   (Hmmm.  Why did the January 6th Committee pop into my mind?)   We already have too much power-driven policy in Congress.  It is reassuring to see some good old fashion political mud wrestling.

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. Tom

    As an Independent / Unaffiliated voter, it’s fun watching this whole SOH thing play out for the GOP. Newt G had an interesting commentary where he thought what that group of up to 20 is doing is ridiculous as he asserted the little petty type of issues within the GOP are not nearly the issue as the left wing elephant sitting at the doorstep awaiting to take power. He’s right. But I do enjoy the horsetrading and haggling being presented to We The People, its interesting. I do wonder if they should employ a baseball rule of three strikes and your out.

    I think Scalise would be a good choice as well. Have you heard of any Las Vegas odds on him? I might like to place a wager, but his odds appear to be slipping!

    Here is the most recent that I have from As of 9:00 a.m. EST this morning, McCarthy had seen his odds cut back to -120, or an implied 54.5% chance, while Scalise was given +180 odds, or an implied 35.7% chance. By 10 AM EST, those odds are now -150 for McCarthy, or an implied 60% chance, while Scalise sits at +200, or an implied 33.3% chance of becoming the next Speaker of the House.

  2. Paul

    Tell us what do the real people, the voters , think.
    We should be first on the list and let it be noted if we get another Ryan then I will not vote for any Repubs anymore.

  3. frank stetson

    Funny that you use the baseball metaphor, I was there too:

    Here we are at the first game of the season, the crowd is anxious to get the new year underway. We got committees to assign, investigations to start, subpoenas to issue. And Santos. Up to the plate comes House star Kevin McCarthy. Kevin is a pitcher best known for taking his players off the field against the 1/6 commission. He forfeited the game and badly wants a rematch.

    Here’s the first pitch of the season —- and it’s strike one, two, three strikes and sit-down Kevin, you’re out! OOH! In the stands, disgraced demagogue Santos Clause sits by himself in the kiddee section shedding some tears. Apparently he has illegally bet, big time, on the game.

    Wow, turns out this is a game of the century. Never has a speaker been shot down so many times. It’s hysterical history time!
    Next up to pitch is Matt Gaetz, a pedo sex trafficker pitcher from Florida, the felon-voting, harvesting ho State, with broad Maga fan support. He wants Jim Jordan to pinch hit for Kevin. He wants it bad. Jim’s not even underage and Matt still wants him. More than he wants a HS senior on her prom night. At the end of his animated, bloviated soliloquy of suck up, he renders a heartfelt homage of “thank heaven for little girls” complete with French accent. Gaetz then goes gung-ho with his famous under-age slider pitch and Kevin is out again.

    Next up to pinch hit for Kevin (and Matt loves to pinch hitters) is Jim Jordan who says: “I support Kevin and it ain’t because I like him. He deserves this job.” He then thanks Paul Ryan for his sage advice. And Kevin steps up and is knocked down and out for the third time. A record has been set. History has been made.

    On the popular vote, it appears the Republican House has chosen a Democrat, three times. I think it’s rigged.

    And then it’s time to call it a day; after all, the first day of Congress is like returning to college in the Fall: you bring the family to see the place, you rekindle old acquaintances, meet some new ones, take some selfies, show the kids the floor and your office, and look what you got instead: a lot of fidgety kids who just want to get the hell out of there, go home and get some take out. Apparently, that’s true for Republican Representatives too.

    Thus ends the first day of this Congressional session, a Congress without a Speaker, a Congress that absolutely gets nothing done except baying at the moon. At least for the first day. Only 729 more to go. Such a long season.

    • Tom

      LOL, Very good Frank! I enjoyed it! Looks like inning two happened today. Same result. I am wondering what you think: should I have used a baseball metaphor, or, a boxing metaphor? I suppose either would be appropriate. LOL Either way, lets enjoy the show!

      Larry mentioned Scalise. From what I hear on news interviews with GOP tonight, many consider Scalise to be part of the problem. They cite that they are not allowed to have a vote and that Scalise and McCarthy prevent dialogue from occuring outside of committee and if you are not ranking in the committee you do not get a vote. Who would have thought that!!!????

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      In the background, I hear MTG screaming “I gotta know right now! Will you love me forever.” And Kevin will be waiting for the end of time…

  4. frank stetson

    On this one I just grab the popcorn, fat free butter, sit back and watch the show. Oh yeah, and a giant Bee’s Knees.

    Of course, I truly feel sorry for you objective, freestanding, Independent types who can’t have a dog in the fight; or in your fake Southern version, no dog in the hunt. The rest of us are either crying or laughing. A few says it’s a good thing. I say they should work the weekend to make up for missed time.

    Now they, actually we since we are paying for it, but they took a break until 8 because a good, taxpayer supported, pizza party always makes the day go better. Better yet, they ordered crabs. It’s DC afterall, gotta go native. I also went to the Capitol today, to remember those heady days of protest and fun, the barriers, the flagpoles, ah, the memories. And there, hidden in plain view, under Pelosi’s desk, I saw a bright shiny object. It was a ring, not a ring but the ring. The ring of the vote, and on the inside was inscribed:

    “Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul”
    which was part of a longer passage, which really roughly translated says:

    Three ring votes made for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords with faces cast in stone,
    212 ring votes for Mortal Men who are all doomed to die,
    A pack of trading cards for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the Land of Mar A Loser full of top secrets and lies
    One King to rule them all, One King to find them,
    One King to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
    In the Land of Mar A Loser where the top secrets lie.

    Vote Donald Sauron Trump for Speaker

    Burma Shave

    • Joseph S. Bruder

      Dems will not break ranks and vote for McCarthy or any other far-right speaker. The Dems have become the party of discipline, the Democratic Party that Nancy built. It’s more likely that the Republicans will somehow screw up and a Democrat will end up being speaker, and Republicans may try to vacate the chair, but won’t have the votes.

      Until then, Nancy has left the Republicans a priceless gift, a little shiv in the back: the current defacto Speaker, the Clerk of that House that runs things until Republicans get their shit together, is a black woman Democrat. Those old white Trumpian racists must LOVE that!

  5. Tom

    Again, very humorous. I might remind you though that humor has no party affiliations. I am enjoying it too. Do not be broken-hearted for me because I get to chuckle at both parties. Yeah I bet they did not order pizza two days in a row! Probably soft shelled crabs since DC is in MD. Not sure but I do not think soft shelled crabs are in season now, usually its May to September – that’s when you pile into Capt. Joe’s Crabs and Seafood down on the dock!

    For some reason, McCarthy does not see any urgency to appointing a Speaker. If I remember 9th grade Civics class, no business can be conducted without a speaker because the speaker is needed to swear in the new congress persons. And a new congress is needed to pass bills and spend money. But Mitch and Joe got together in Kentucky today on Mitch’es 1.7 Billion dollar bridge. Now we know why Mitch voted for the bill, and probably talked others into voting for it. Good deal for all of them.

    • Sam

      Just so they don’t end up with Jeffries. He wants to be the next token

  6. Joseph S. Bruder

    So, Larry gives up on coward Kevin McCarthy and throws his support to Steve Scalise. This is the guy who gave a speech speech in 2002 to a white supremacist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and once described himself to a reporter as “like David Duke without the baggage”. The inability of the House Republicans is not a failure of democracy, it’s a failure of the Republican Party. The rot goes deep.

    This is no “imaginary Larry” here, he’s showing us his true colors.

  7. Renee Palmer

    Jim Jordan, would be a Great choice …. He Would NOT be Bullied , like I believe kevin mccarthy
    would crumble easily ….
    what Gall to have moved his stuff into the Speaker of The House Office like it’s a done deal !!
    arrogant jerk… can you imagine him being 3 rd in like for the Presidency !!

    • larry Horist

      Renee Palmer. I think Jordan would be a great speaker — but pragmatically, he could never get the vote. I still see Scalise as the best compromise candidate. Ironically, it is McCarthy’s arrogance that has put him in this pickle.

      • frank stetson

        Pragmatically, I think he does not want the job. It killed John Boehner, one of the few Congressmen neve to take an earmark, now that’s conservative ethics, and got elected over and over, now that’s popular amongst conservatives. It then killed, in short order, Paul Ryan, author of Trump’s tax cuts, how much more conservative can you get?

        I think Jordan concludes his power base is just fine, why take the grief of that job, with so little more to add to his power base.

        I am sure he would win as easily as McCarthy, all you have to do is click your heels three times and give away the store to these seven people vowing to skewer them later.

        What they need is a strong woman: Pelosi never had these issues.

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        That would be the same “coach” Jim Jordan that ignored the school doctor raping over 100 kids at Ohio State, rather than put a stop to it. Yeah, that’s the perfect attitude, just right for Republican House leadership!

        Again, Larry shows us his true colors. Support the Party, no matter what the individual members do.

  8. Tom

    Looks like we are at lest in the fourth inning! Three votes per inning!

  9. Frank stetson

    I think they are losing productivity and having less votes today.

    Like the Phoenix they have climbed out of the pandemonium ashes of chaos by discovering the nomination stump speech to pretend to nominate someone who can’t win, but allows them to talk ad nauseam about what they want Congress to do when they grow up. Free tv time to bloviate away.

    I think they owe us two days pay.

    Soon they will break for dinner. That’s 400 some odd congresses; figure two staffers each; hello dominoes, can i get pizza for 1,000? Yeah, bill it to john w public. .