New Orleans – The US House of Representatives continues to be paralyzed, hostage to a rump band of twenty or so who have come together to deny Republican majority leader Kevin McCarthy the speaker’s chair. McCarthy has now endured two days and six votes, while failing to win. My basic view is a pox on their house, if it weren’t for the charade it is making of the US governmental process.
The arch conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is wondering why anyone would want the job. Furthermore, they zing their Republican buddies with having fallen in love with being the opposition party and liking being in the minority where they don’t have to govern and make compromises. The analysis in the New York Times underscores that the real issue isn’t the man (and no one is talking about a woman or bringing back Nancy Pelosi) in the chair, but the fact that the Crank Caucus, as the Journal calls the dissidents, just wants to shrink government, get rid of the income tax, build the wall at the border, eliminate agencies, and fire governmental officials at random and whim.
In one of those reality defying embraces, our hometown editorial page in the New Orleans Advocate Times Picayune argued that McCarthy should not be speaker, because he had already made too many concessions. They cited his willingness to allow the speaker’s position to be put up for grabs when any five elected whacks have an itch. Two things are wrong with their position. One is the fact that it has been reported that McCarthy has now tentatively agreed to let the position be re-voted if even one Congressman has a bad day. The other is their pretense that Louisiana’s own Steve Scalise wouldn’t give up as much, if not more, with a smile on his face to grab the job.
The folks in the highly divided Pennsylvania House of Representatives might have the answer, although I doubt that Congress will learn from it. Democrats won more seats, but Republicans have more live bodies currently in the chairs. Two Republicans nominated a moderate Democrat to be speaker there who claims he will stay a Dem, but not caucus with either, and be independent. I don’t know if that’s going to turn out well, but it’s interesting, and better than the way Congressional Republicans are giving away the farm to their radical faction.
Democrats are holding firm behind New York’s Jeffers as their majority leader. How about finding a moderate Republican who could put together a dozen to twenty votes and pushing him or her into the Speaker’s chair with a solid block of Democratic support? That would be interesting. I don’t know if it would work, but it would be better than living with the deals being made with the election deniers, insurrection supporters, and anti-government Crank Caucus.