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McCarthy’s departure is a great opportunity for the GOP

McCarthy’s departure is a great opportunity for the GOP

The current situation in the House is something between chaos and hysteria.  For the first time in American history, a Speaker of the House was ousted – and it came by the action of a small group of members of his own Republican Party.

How is it possible that eight out of 432 current members of the House can so dramatically overrule the majority?  It is simple.  They cannot.  They had to have the support of the entire Democrat membership.  Speaker McCarthy was voted out by a coalition of Democrats and a handful of Republicans.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi – who was not present for the vote – had said it is up to the majority party to elect a Speaker.  That may be her partisan opinion, but it is not true.  A Speaker of the House is voted upon by the ENTIRE body.  It is only a matter of pragmatic politics that comes from the majority based only on the votes of the majority.   In the name of solidarity, Democrats proved the most votes against McCarthy.  Even many Democrats believe that was a mistake.

According to McCarthy, Pelosi had promised him that if there was a Motion to Vacate, Democrats would have his back.  Apparently, that changed when McCarthy blasted Democrats on the Saturday before the vote.  Even the Democrat members of the Problem Solvers Caucus turned on McCarthy.

That is significant since it puts into the proper light the role of the Democrats.  Some of them could have crossed over to vote for McCarthy.  Why should they?  They readily conceded that the ousting of a Speaker would create chaos.  It would hold up the important work of Congress in solving critical issues.  It would put the future of funding for border security and Ukraine in question.  It would signal instability to American adversaries overseas.

They could have prevented all that.  Rather than avoid such negative outcomes, however, the Democrat caucus voted in lockstep to help create the chaos.  They put aside the needs of the nation to be able to create a POLITICAL problem for the other party.  But that is to be expected.  That is politics Washington-style.  I have no doubt Republicans would have done the same thing if the situation was reversed.  It is just that we should not be fooled into believing that such Democrats’ action was in the best interest of the nation.

While McCarthy’s ouster was historic, it needs to be kept in mind that he agreed to the rule that one member can call for the chair to be vacated.  That was historic, too.  In that past, only the leaders could make a motion to oust a speaker.  That was the rule under Pelosi – and the rule when Speaker Cannon called for a vote on his own leadership in 1910.  Under the new rule, any member could move to Vacate the Chair.  The fact that McCarthy agreed to it is another example of his boneheaded thinking.

Anyone who has followed my commentaries knows that I have never been a McCarthy fan.  At the time of his election as Speaker, I opined that he was not the right guy for the job –saying he lacked the strategic and communication skills necessary for the job.  The controversy and the resolution of the latest potential government shutdown was mishandled – another example of McCarthy’s failed leadership.

The fact that the faction led by Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz was successful does not mean that I am an admirer of his motives and actions.    The fact that he was largely right about the decades of dysfunction does not mean his crusade against McCarthy was the correct course of action – especially when it appears that much of the motivation was Gaetz’ personal animus against the Speaker.

Though I was not a fan of McCarthy, I accepted that the issue of Speaker was settled until the next Congress convenes in 2025.    And it should have been.

The reason that did not happen was because of an insane rule that one member of the House can force a vote on the speakership at any time for any reason.  It becomes a viable weapon when one party holds the majority by the slimmest of margins – in this case five votes.  Imagine if it was only a one vote majority.  A Matt Gaetz-type would not even have to find allies.  When the House reconvenes under the gavel of a new Speaker, the elimination of that rule should be one of the first orders of business.

In this moment of high tension, Democrats, Republicans and the media are all seeing a future of chaos and dysfunction in the House.  They say that the Republican Party will pay dearly in the 2024 election.  House deliberations will be chaotic until then.  Some wonder how Republicans can even elect a Speaker.  One reporter went so far as to say that the Republicans may never be able to elect a Speaker.  That is just hyperbolic sensationalized nonsense.  But that is the atmosphere of the moment.  It will pass.

The hyperventilating folks are ignoring the possibility that the Republican House members may elect a Speaker in short order – maybe even on a first ballot.  That prospect increased when McCarthy wisely took himself out of the running.  The fact that Congressman Jim Jordan and Scalise have both announced plans to run suggests that it may take more than one ballot.

For those who favor more than two viable political parties should learn from this situation.  In essence we had three interest groups, and it was necessary to create a governing coalition.  When that fails, the leader falls.  That is what happened to McCarthy.  He could not win over the opposition group in his own party – and he could not win over a handful of Democrats.  He could not put together a coalition.  Multi-party systems are by nature unstable.

It is more than a year before the American people head to the polls to elect a President and members of Congress.  By then, the commotion of the moment will be beyond even the rearview mirror. The more important issues will be on the voters’ minds.  The outcome of the 2024 elections depends on future events – not the present or the past.

Apparently, Acting Speaker Patrick McHenry immediately ordered Pelosi and Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer evicted from their private voices in the Capitol Building.  McHenry is an ardent supporter of McCarthy who showed his anger when he slammed down the gavel after announcing the vote.  Evicting Pelosi and Hoyer was a needlessly petty action by one member with the temporary power to be … petty.

The Republican Party has an opportunity to elect a popular Speaker with both the strategic and communication skills to unite the Republican Party and the nation.  Last January I had hoped that the House GOP would elect Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise as Speaker.  I hope they will seize that opportunity again.

Scalise is very popular with virtually all the McCarthy members.  Following the vote that ousted McCarthy, Gaetz said that he could vote for Scalise – among other members.  South Carolina Democrat Congressman James Clybourn pointed to Scalise as a person his side could work with.  That sounds like a lot of potential respect and unity.

When the Republican caucus meets next week, we should already have some indication of their intentions.  I hope that Scalise is number one on that list of potential Speakers.

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.

7 Comments

  1. Tom

    I think you got this one right Larry. Good article. I do disagree mildly on one small point you make when you say, ” The outcome of the 2024 elections depends on future events – not the present or the past.” We Independents/Unaffiliated Voters want a government that works and delivers results for the greatest number of people and does the most good for the greatest number of people, and that includes future generations.

    If a speaker is elected quickly and with a significant majority, then we will not weigh this eviction very much and will look at it as a means to a better more results oriented working across the aisle government.

    If a speaker is not elected quickly and there are many votes that take days that turn into weeks, we will view this as dysfunction and inability to coalesce around a center. This will be important in a Biden-Trump rematch where we may vote Trump and then view the Dems as the party of unity (as shown by the speaker vote against McCarthy) that can put the brakes on Trump. This would set us up as the voice of moderation that would determine the 2028 election results. We are watching!!! Again, most of us hope both parties will offer another choice but this strategy is a reality.

    Again, congrats on getting this one accurate with no detectable spin. I await Frank’s informed response!

  2. Mike f

    Sorry Tom, there was spin in this post too. McCarthy repeatedly showed that he didn’t really believe that agreements with democrats were worthy of any respect. Larry blames dems for McCarthy being sacked-perhaps he should reevaluate that position and blame McCarthy’s stupidity. Yes, the dems could have backed him as he alleges Nancy told him (does anyone really believe Larry has the inside info on what nancy might have told McCarthy-this was certainly never public info). So dems could have prevented his sacking-but why should they after the jerk blames them for the potential shutdown? Time to roll the dice and possibly get someone who might be more honest in his agreements..

    • Tom

      Yeah that’s the way I feel Mike f. There is probably much we do not know about McCarthy. I heard him spew against Dems on Fox Sunday Morning with Shannon Bream and CBS Face the Nation. I was kind of surprised he did that. That plays into Larry’s point about not being a strategic thinker.

      Larry did blame the ouster on both parties (which in my belief is true but unwise) when Larry said, “… Speaker McCarthy was voted out by a coalition of Democrats and a handful of Republicans.” I suppose he could have left Dems out of it but it would appear that since the whole block with no deserters voted to oust McCarthy. And of course McCarthy himself is to blame as well. He seemed to waffle a lot on several agreements. So I am cutting Larry a break on this one and see it that he did not spin, he was inclusive which is ok by me. But I do get your point!

    • larry Horist

      Mike f … Come on, man. Up your reading skills. I spread the blame for the McCarthy ouster in all directions — including McCarthy himself. It is one thing to spin. It is quite another to deceive. And the alleged conversation between Pelosi and McCarthy was reported in the media. It was apparently similar to a promise she gave Boehner when he was elected Speaker. Perhaps you dozed off during the new I made the point about Democrats since most of the reporting implied they had no role to play. Face the facts, Democrats provided the majority of votes to oust McCarthy. And frankly, I have no problem with the minority party voting for a majority party speaker. I believe in the Constitution … and the Speaker is elected or not by ALL members of Congress.

  3. Frank stetson

    How’s that “opportunity” going for you?

    Sydney Powel’s available

  4. Frank stetson

    Now Republicans are getting death threats from Republicans for the speaker vote for Jordan. They sent an eviction notice to one’s state office; that’s pretty good actually.

    Is the “opportunity” the art of eating your own?

    Kind of like eating your own dog food, but skipping the food and eating the dog.

    I noted some time back your party was falling apart, hope you can bring it back, but you have a ways to go, and at this point, any speaker you select will not move you forward towards that goal. The good news is you are fractured; will take 2024 to move forward and begin to toss these Trumplicants in the Dempsey Dumpster.

    Let the moderates rise and the Trumplicants fall.

    • Dan tyree

      Awww. They don’t mean it

  1. Frank I can’t understand what’s wrong with MAGA. You idiots on the left are satanic bastards out to destroy patriots.…

  2. Don’t tell me nout proof. I’m too Young to need proof. I don’t need no stinkin proof. We all know…