McCarthy’s Weakness

Politics | 0 comments

Edit: Sep 30 2023 Update

McCarthy made a shocking decision today, governing over keeping the gavel:

But McCarthy shocked his party — and most on the Hill — by deciding to put a “clean” bill on the floor that could be enough to doom his speakership. The short-term funding patch that passed includes none of the GOP’s spending cuts or border policies. The only addition: $16 billion for disaster aid sought by the White House.

[It] passed the 45-day stopgap funding patch, 335-91, with help from more than 200 Democrats and 90 Republicans voting no. It’s an unexpected move that is certain to accelerate a far-right rebellion aimed at taking his gavel.

This increases his odds of keeping the speakership: an attempt to strip him of it was certain, with this bill he may peel off enough Democrats to keep him in the seat.


Kevin McCarthy’s major weakness isn’t that he can’t quite find a political fit for who he is, nor is it the sense that he keeps track of which way the winds blow.

His problem is that he likes and wants his job, and everyone knows it.

Speakership under a Republican Party is a special place in hell. There isn’t anybody that’s particularly happy with any decision you make, ever, and a plurality of your peers don’t care to help you keep the gavel.

A speaker needs every vote to remain speaker, he or she can lose precious few. This allows any small band of party members to make life impossible for whatever reason. They don’t like the politics of a deal, they don’t like you, it’s Tuesday.

But this trick only works when you have something to lose. This was Paul Ryan’s strength: he genuinely didn’t seem like he ever wanted the job. He trounced his opponents in every primary and general election from 1998 forward. Want to take the gavel away? Have at it. Who wants the job anyway (answer even at the time: Kevin McCarthy).

And so Ryan’s indifference or perhaps antipathy towards the speakership insured that he kept it.

McCarthy has the exact opposite problem. His love for the gavel ensures its loss.

For whoever wants to keepeth their job, must foresake it.

A contrarian might say that Pelosi proves me wrong. I disagree, Pelosi is fortune enough to have Trump as a foil, the most unifying figure in Democratic Party history.

We basically run a coalition government without the efficiency of a parliamentary system.

Paul Ryan

It’s the case for both parties — but one of the coalitions is willing to stick together, at least until the opposition is truly failing.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.