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Don’t Buy the Establishment’s Spin on the House Speaker Fight

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s of publishing time, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has lost five six votes in his bid to be House speaker and there seems to be no end in sight. There are around 20 Republican holdouts in the “never McCarthy” camp, and they’re showing no signs of budging.

Former President Trump’s last-minute endorsement failed to move the needle toward McCarthy, which led Rep. Lauren Boebert, one of Trump’s most staunch supporters, to admonish him on the House floor. “Let’s stop with the campaign smears and tactics to get people to turn against us, even having my favorite president call us and tell us ‘We need to knock this off,’” Boebert said on Wednesday. “I think it actually needs to be reversed. The president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy that, ‘Sir, you do not have the votes, and it’s time to withdraw.’”

Meanwhile, Republican establishment types are running around with their hair on fire, shouting about unity and warning that Republicans will pay a steep price unless they can show a united front in the early days of their House majority.

Hogwash.

McCarthy currently has 201 members on his side, which means he’s in the catbird’s seat. Among those 201 members, many have been promised plum committee assignments or other leadership roles, and they are not likely to risk his ire to support a weak minority candidate. At the end of the day, I think we’ll end up with McCarthy as speaker.

But no matter what happens, the beauty is in the process. If he wants to sway the 20 dissenters, McCarthy should show a path forward that could result in real change in the way the House conducts its business. He should commit to transparency and rules reform that will stop the practice of pushing through mammoth spending bills one minute before midnight at the end of the congressional session. Unfortunately, he’s shown no indication that he wants to change the status quo, and the 20 holdouts know that. So let’s have that fight.

In the meantime, enjoy the process, and thank God that you live in a country where we settle these things with words and not guns.

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