Saturday, October 10, 2015

LA Times" "McCarthy Could Lose" (and He Did)

Apparently, even the Los Angeles Times acknowledges that McCarthy could muck up his chances of winning the Speakership.

How McCarthy could lose the race for House Speaker

I was going to write my thoughts about this LA Times article a few days ago, and then Lo and Behold - McCarthy drops out.

The job of speaker of the House is Rep. Kevin McCarthy's to lose, but a high-profile TV stumble and a last-minute challenge from a popular conservative congressman have threatened his speedy rise.

I spoke with one very partisan conservative about McCarthy's Benghazi flub. "By the time that you get to that level  of leadership, you are supposed to have some kind of political filter," he remarked.


With a preliminary election set for Thursday, McCarthy has all but rounded up the votes to take over once Speaker John A. Boehner steps down at the end of the month.

As the No. 2 Republican, McCarthy, the majority leader, is next in line for the job and, until recently, faced only a nominal challenger.

That nominal challenger was Daniel Webster, and he remains, in my mind, a nominal challenger who does not have enough conservative credentials to become a dynamic and effective Speaker of the House.

But the surprise entry of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) brings a new dynamic to the leadership race.

He's the one for the job although he announced that he would step down from the race of if Paul Ryan entered. Here's to hoping that he does not enter.

The conservative Chaffetz provides a viable alternative for those who are worried that promoting McCarthy would be seen in their home districts as more of the same insiders at a time when constituents appear to prefer outsiders.

Yes! He is conservative. The only reason the Freedom Caucus panned him was that he tried to remove Mark Meadows from his sub-committee chairmanship, but he did not have the votes then.

And he appears to be gaining traction.

How the race has come to this for McCarthy is another episode of discontent in the Republican Party that has played out in Congress and on the presidential primary trail.

McCarthy and Chaffetz in many ways should be natural allies. Separated by just two years in age and their arrival in Congress, they are relative newcomers to Washington, and part of a generation that prefers conflict to compromise.

Both sleep in their offices at night, as they try to prove they haven't succumbed to the Washington's comforts. Friends as they are, Chaffetz headlined McCarthy's annual Bakersfield fundraiser in May.

Yet last Friday, at a fundraising event in New York City, the two men stood "eyeball to eyeball" as Chaffetz told his colleague he was launching a challenge for the job.

Chaffetz puts running the country ahead of friendship. We need more of that kind of leadership and representation in Washington. Even if Chaffetz does not seek the job, a mentality of doing what is best for the country, instead of one's friends, must motivate anyone seeking the Speakership.

"He wasn't happy," Chaffetz recalled Monday, as he outlined his leadership goals in the committee room where he wields the gavel as House Oversight chairman.

Chaffetz readily acknowledges he is late in the race and lacks the sophisticated whip-counting operation needed to pull off a victory. But he believes enough GOP colleagues agree with him that voters want change.

That's the point -- "The voters want change!" Change not only that we can believe in, but that achieves real reforms and brings power back to the states and the people.

"If we just promote existing leadership, yikes, that's going to get ugly for us at home," Chaffetz said. "There will eventually be a realization we better darn well put up a fresh face, somebody who can speak."

McCarthy's allies remain confident he has the majority votes needed to win the GOP nomination Thursday, and the 218 needed to win a House floor vote scheduled for Oct. 29.

Kevin McCarthy out

Reading the above text in light of what happened on Thursday - -LOL!

McCarthy's affable personality, and his prodigious party fundraising, have earned him goodwill among colleagues. They have been supportive, if resigned, despite his sometimes inartful comments.

More good news. Raising lots of money does not guarantee winning anything anymore. Just ask Eric Cantor.

"Certainly he's got the inside track," said Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). "I would be stunned if somebody beat him."

Ribble  must be stunned now, and still stunned as of today.,

But the rise of Republican voter unrest on the campaign trail and McCarthy's gaffe last week regarding a House Benghazi committee has led some Republicans, like Chaffetz, to question whether McCarthy could do the job.

In a TV interview, McCarthy suggested that the House's investigation had succeeded in lowering the poll numbers for the top Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, a comment he later retracted since it suggested the Benghazi inquiry was politically motivated.

The challenge is apparently strong enough that Boehner pushed back Thursday's scheduled elections for offices lower down the leadership ladder. They will be held after the Oct. 29 floor vote for speaker.

That means McCarthy would not have to give up his current job in pursuit of a new one.

Rumors are circling that McCarthy will probably resign from Congress in the next month or two. What is a man to do, once he has the chance of higher leadership, then decides against it? Most Congressman do not content themselves with secondary posts once they have held massive power. Apparently, McCarthy is not even seeking Majority Leader.

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