In a move that shocked pretty much everybody, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the person who the vast majority of people assumed was going to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House, has abruptly withdrawn his name from consideration just hours after assuring people he was confident of victory as he headed into the GOP conference concerning the speakership.
Where this leaves the GOP is anyone’s guess, but the general consensus is that they’re in shambles. It’s entirely possible a different “establishment” candidate announces their intention to seek the position, but the vote has been postponed until further notice.
What seems to have happened is McCarthy lacked the 218 votes needed to win, so instead of suffering that embarrassment he decided to remove himself from contention.
Of course, this begs the question: who could get those votes?
Well, rumors have it Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the only person most within the party believe currently has enough support to get to the magic 218 number. There’s one big problem with that, however; Rep. Ryan wants nothing to do with being Speaker of the House. As someone who clearly has his sights set on the White House in the future, he’s well aware that being House Speaker in a ridiculously unpopular Congress probably wouldn’t be good for that goal.
In fact, Ryan just issued another statement reiterating that he will not be a candidate for House Speaker. Unless something drastic changes or he gets convinced otherwise, I don’t believe he’d change his mind on that.
What this all boils down to is that the Republican party is being held hostage by the so-called “freedom caucus.” It’s a group of around 40 or so far-right House members who are the folks who’ve supported such issues like shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. They’re also the same people who continue to believe raising the debt ceiling is about new spending when it’s just a procedural movement that allows the government to pay out money it’s already agreed to spend.
In other words, this “freedom caucus” is comprised of the members of our government who have absolutely no idea how our government works.
So, now what?
Well, either Republicans find a “consensus” candidate who can get the 218 votes needed to win or the House is left in turmoil considering these far-right radical candidates for speaker don’t have the votes needed to win.
The bottom line is, this is really bad for the Republican party. This is as close to an “internal civil war” as we’ve ever seen. They’re now literally having to scramble to try to find anyone who they think can get the 218 votes needed to win. Basically what this “freedom caucus” has done to the GOP is what they want to do to the entire country – tear it apart.
But Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. They sold their souls to the “devil” known as the tea party hoping it would help them defeat President Obama. Turns out, the tea party didn’t take down Obama – but it does seem to be destroying the Republican party.