Both men, House speaker John Boehner and House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, stood behind the pope on Thursday as he prepared to address a joint session of Congress. Boehner cried; McCarthy beamed.
The external contrast reflects a deeper difference between the two most powerful Republicans in Congress. McCarthy is social, upbeat, and optimistic. Boehner, as recently as last week, characterized his job this way: “Prisoners learn how to become prisoners, all right?”
Apparently not. On Friday morning, after Boehner told his conference that he would resign at the end of October, he announced his freedom to reporters. “It’s a wonderful day,” he said. Across town at the Omni Shoreham hotel, the conservative Family Research Council was hosting the Values Voter Summit, and the crowd erupted in cheers when it received the news. Somewhere on Capitol Hill, surely, Kevin McCarthy was smiling too.
Elected to Congress in 2006, the 50-year-old majority leader has risen through GOP ranks at lightning speed, shooting from chief deputy whip in 2009 to whip the following year, before ascending to majority leader after Eric Cantor’s surprise primary defeat in 2014. In a press conference on Monday, Boehner gave McCarthy his implicit endorsement, telling reporters he would make an “excellent speaker.”
In the wake of Boehner’s resignation, McCarthy is thus far the only candidate certain to contend for the speakership. Other names — Jeb Hensarling, Peter Roskam, Jim Jordan — are being bandied about, but none have yet committed to challenging the majority leader. Paul Ryan, who would be his most formidable challenger, has already ruled out a run. It remains to be seen whether a leadership fight will unfold, but if it does, McCarthy will be in it.
During his five years in leadership, Boehner has insisted that the right flank of his caucus was demanding he pick fights Republicans couldn’t win. Both he and McCarthy have emphasized the importance of gaining and preserving a Republican majority over securing ideological victories or putting forward conservative alternatives to Democratic legislation. Conservatives have in turn accused their leadership of caving too easily and even of being a tool of the Democratic party. Texas senator Ted Cruz once said Boehner will “presumably land in a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities.”
Some reports indicate that conservatives, particularly the 40 to 50 members of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus that has made Boehner’s life so difficult, could warm to McCarthy even though he remains ideologically opaque. Why? Surely, the specter of Boehner’s forced resignation, and the role they played in precipitating it, are things they won’t let McCarthy soon forget.
Many of them also owe him thanks for their jobs. McCarthy, whom Boehner appointed the GOP’s chief recruiter for the 2010 midterm elections, helped shepherd 87 new GOP members into Congress that year. A good number of them have contributed to Boehner’s misery: Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin. The list goes on.
No, let’s not give it to another establishment RINO like Kevin McCarthy. Let’s make Trey Gowdy Speaker of the House, or another real Conservative.
While I think the Republicans should send Obama the continuing resolution without funds for Planned Parenthood and let him veto the spending and fight to show that Obama shut the government down, not them, as long as the media is completely on the side of the liberal agenda, fighting any such battle is difficult if not impossible. Of course, if Republicans continue to lose those publicity battles, they will lose the electoral battles and lose legislative control. We saw what that was like.
I don’t know what the answer is.
@Bill #2 –
I don’t know what the answer is either, but the self-inflicted wounds need to stop. When I read this post at Power Line, it makes you wonder what they’re doing there, including those who are the most conservative:
If it’s to move up a rung, or two, in the leadership ladder, then they’re not working for the better of the nation.
There needs to be someone ” fresh”. Mccarthy is no different than boehner. Newt, trey or gohmer would be great choices.
I don’t know enough about McCarthy ‘s voting record or positions yet.
That being said, it almost seems like this is an attempt by the GOP elitists to try to hold conservatives and grass roots republicans at bay, by hoping Boehner’s scalp will smooth things with the base. I think this is another uncomprehendingly desperate gambit.
Trump, for all his vague statements and attention-grabbing schtick, has tapped into the real anger and frustration of the republican base. The sense that the grassroots have of the elitists being disconnected as they roll over time and time again for the ultra leftist insanity of Obama and the persistent acts of bowing down to the disgusting criminal Reid has enraged real Americans who voted for the filthy leftist rot to be cleaned out when they gave republicans control of the House in 2010, and the senate last year. The voters through out Cantor, for crying out loud, yet the elitists want to sneer and call the base vulgar and too stupid to know their own good.
Bottom line, if McCarthy follows in Boehner’s incompetent, Obama-submitting footsteps, the sparks of the current GOP rebellion will fully ignite into a firestorm. The elitists have sold out the base too many times.
Scan down to the graphic.
There are very few members of Congress more Hard-Core Conservative than he is according to what he SAYS.
Now, what has he DONE?
All you need to know is that McCarthy is the chosen lieutenant of the Weeper, a man who was notorious for crucifying anybody in the Party who disagreed with him.