The midterms did not produce the tsunami or red wave that most people predicted. The Republicans did not achieve the majority they hoped for, and the Democrats still controlled the Senate. In the House, we have a slim majority of 222 Representatives; slim but still a controlling majority. All the Republicans had to do on Day 1 of the session was have a vote, elect Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, take the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi, and get to work. Simple? Yes. Could they get it done? Hell, NO.
Kevin McCarthy did not succeed on the first two ballots. Before casting a third, futile vote, the House adjourned for the day to go into council to negotiate a resolution to the demands of a block of Republicans preventing a successful vote. There have been over 20 concessions by McCarthy, but not enough to swing their votes. They are holding out for more and the Party hostage. When McCarthy directly confronted Perry, the de facto leader of the holdouts, and asked him exactly what they wanted to end this fiasco, Perry had no answer.
Kevin McCarthy may not be the perfect choice for Speaker. Many would prefer a more conservative leader, but McCarthy has proven himself effective as Minority Leader. He oversaw recruiting strong candidates and raised millions of dollars for the 2020 and 2022 elections. He even raised money for those who are now trying to undermine him from taking the gavel. The longer this stalemate goes on, the more embarrassing it becomes. If the Republicans are not careful, the House could elect Hakeem Jeffries, the Progressive Representative from New York, who could garner enough votes to become the Speaker.
The 20 GOP representatives who voted against McCarthy are Biggs, Reps. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Josh Bechreen of Oklahoma, Michael Cloud of Texas, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Eli Crane of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Bob Good of Virginia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Andy Harris of Maryland, Ana Paulina Luna of Florida, Mary Miller of Illinois, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Chip Roy of Texas, Keith Self of Texas, and Byron Donalds of Florida.
Most of these Reps are unknowns and lower-tier Congressmen. Their efforts are seen as self-serving by narcissistic individuals grasping at a way to improve their notoriety. That may work for them, but that notoriety may be negative if this goes on too long. They are playing into the hands of the Democrats, who must be enjoying every minute of the Red Dysfunction. McCarthy needs to convince sixteen of these twenty to change their votes. I do not see that happening.
The best scenario at this point may be to convince Jim Jordan (R-OH) that he is the right man to solve this situation. Jordan is, in my opinion, the strongest Republican in the House. He is my choice to run with DeSantis for the White House in 2024. He claims he does not want the job, but it may not be his choice.
Whether McCarthy, Jordan, or some compromise Republican, we need to end this game of chicken before the Republican majority is led by a Democrat Speaker. The voters will never forgive them if this happens. This outcome would be the worst-case scenario and kill any chance of the Republicans making gains against the Progressive Biden agenda.