Days ago, House Speaker John Boehner bowed out as their leader after a papal visit and now House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is reportedly taking himself out of contention for the job.
Herding cats is apparently too difficult...
McCarthy’s announcement is a stunning development despite more than a week full of turmoil surrounding his inarticulate admission that the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s investigation is no more than a political ploy meant to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions — an admission that Clinton and Democrats have hammered nonstop over the airwaves and in Congress...
I previously had an article about the sudden madness due to happen when Boehner resigned, and I was not far off. I had figured McCarthy wouldn't win the Speakership because he was the "conventional" "Establishment" leader left standing... which the rebel Republicans would dismiss because he still would NOT be crazy enough for their taste.
I didn't expect McCarthy's own ineptitude damning himself. As noted in the Salon article, McCarthy had made the gaffe of publicly admitting the ongoing Benghazi investigation was more to weaken Hillary's campaign efforts for the Presidency than for any justice of those killed during that tragedy. It gave Hillary the excuse to play the victim, it justified the Democrats' ongoing argument that this Republican-controlled Congress was more about partisan objectives over genuine governance, and it underscored the overall waste that the GOP House has committed ever since 2011.
And while the notice is also stating the House is suspending the Speakership vote, sooner or later they need to have someone replace the departing Boehner. This is problematic because - with McCarthy out - there is no one left with any reasonable expectation of sanity who wants the job.
Officially two Representatives - Dan Webster and Jason Chaffetz - put there names out there and are expected to stay in the race. Problems with both: Webster is a social conservative of the Freedom Caucus with ties to a fringe religious movement that abounds in sexual hypocrisy. Chaffetz just recently made headlines as the chair of the committee that tried to bash Planned Parenthood and did so in the most gross, ill-informed, over-the-top manner that NO ONE even the Far Right took as legitimate.
So in other words, right now the Republican House may get for its leader a religious extremist who'll push a "women submit" agenda (at the least) or an opportunistic liar still far too eager to pander to those religious extremists anyway. It's not so much a rock and a hard place as it's all jagged ship-tearing rocks.
The delay McCarthy is forcing on the leadership vote looks for all intents an effort to give whatever leadership is left in the Republican ranks to find a "sensible" replacement candidate who can appeal to both the "normal" party members - the ones who DON'T want to commit mass suicide with a debt default or government shutdown - and the increasingly dangerous Far Right "freedom" usurpers causing all this chaos from the back benches.
Thing is: WHO
If you poll the Beltway media elites, they'll all clamor for the likes of Paul "Death Budget" Ryan as the best possible candidate to appeal (to them and them alone, suckas). Thing is, Ryan is proving how smart he is by refusing to put his name on ballot in the first place.
After seeing what happened with Boehner (and now McCarthy), the risk of getting your political career imploded - damned if you refuse to give the Far Right its pound of flesh, damned if you do and the country collapses from their self-destructive path - is much too high.
If you look at the field of House Republicans, too many of the public figures are radicals in the conventional sense - openly hostile to bipartisanship, constantly railing against Obama and Democrats as threats to America's safety, and eagerly pandering to the talking heads on the Fox Not-News channel - that would not appeal outside of their base audience.
We're even hearing talk about the Republicans in the House voting for someone outside of the whole building - legally, there's nothing in the rulebook that says an elephant can't
If the Establishment tries to find someone they can back, the likelihood is growing that enough of the radicals in the House will refuse to support him, leading to a divided House right at a moment - November requires a vote on the debt ceiling, December requires another attempt at a budget deal - where there would be enough chaos that the radicals win their battle no matter what.
It's getting to the point where the only sane move is for enough moderate Republicans to avoid voting altogether, and allow the Democratic caucus to vote for their Speaker candidate as a minority-controlled House (there is a way that can happen). Otherwise they might cross the aisle and vote for Pelosi outright and end this debacle for at least this year. But THAT move would be political suicide for many of those "traitors"... and the Republicans will easily go back into grievance mode - as if they ever get out of that mode even when they're in charge...
Crazy is growing crazier by the day in Congress, people.
This is what happens when the Republican Party let the crazies - the anti-taxers, the religious extremists, the haters, the war-mongers - drive the nation's car. Car hits rail, rail gives way, car flips over cliff, and we're all in the back seat screaming our heads off as the jagged ocean rocks await us below.