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DAY ONE: The Circus That Is The Republican House Speaker Leadership


Turns out, the hardest part wasn’t getting the gavel back into Republican hands … it was deciding who gets to hold it.

When you have only a narrow margin of victory in the House, that makes leadership negotiations that much more difficult. It only takes a handful of disaffected members to derail the process.

And that is exactly what happened on Day One of the 2023 House Leadership vote. After three different votes, McCarthy still fell short of the majority he needed to kickstart the process of committee assignments and actual oversight over things like the border, FBI abuses, and evidence of political corruption as seen in Hunter’s laptops.

Democrats were unanimous in their support of Jeffries, but their minority status makes it impossible for him to get enough votes for the gavel. Even so, factions on the Republicans have left with McCarthy with even fewer votes than Jeffries, at least for now.

The appointment of a speaker is meant to be routine. It’s the first time the speaker vote has gone beyond the first round since 1923.
Republicans have control of the House by a slim majority–222 to 212–but a number of party rebels voted for protest candidate Andy Biggs (R.,Ariz) and other lawmakers, including Jim Jordan (R.,Ohio), leaving McCarthy short of the 218 votes needed for a majority.
In the third round of voting, Democratic candidate Hakeem Jeffries of new York secured 212 votes, McCarthy had 202 votes, while 20 Republican rebels chose Jordan, despite the Ohio representative himself backing McCarthy in a bid to unite the party.

We’ve got some clips to make sense of what exactly happened.

Here was Jim Jordan making his case for why McCarthy should be nominated, and why Republicans can’t afford to mess around and waste time in determining a leader.

Matt Gaetz used that speech as a rationale for why Jim Jordan should, himself, be House Leader rather than the man Jim stood up to support.

Tucker Carlson made his case for why chaos at this point is not the end of the world.

On the other side of the ledger, there are specific claims by multiple people that the real demand being made by the holdouts has to do with who gets to run which committee.

Power over committees beyond anything that a speaker has any right to give is among the concessions being demanded.

The Macarthy-or-bust crowd appears to be dug in. The holdouts intend to fight a war of attrition, and the only real leaders they are offering in McCarthy’s place are themselves voting McCarthy.

MTG blasted the holdouts, by name, over their strategy of being unable to take yes for an answer, and reminded them that they wouldn’t fare any better in an ideological purity test than the people they criticize.

In another clip, she claimed that three of these holdouts demanded committee or subcomittee positions as a concession to support McCarthy.

The final word goes to McCarthy himself.

Had leadership been decided on the first pass, committees would be assigned and operational now, and the very first vote would have been to rescind those extra IRS agents.

Instead, we get a neverendum vote until one side or the other finally blinks.

And when, exactly, will that happen?

The answer to that is anybody’s guess.

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Wes Walker

Wes Walker is the author of "Blueprint For a Government that Doesn't Suck". He has been lighting up since its inception in July of 2012. Follow on twitter: @Republicanuck