Over the last several days, America has been watching with interest what’s happening in Washington, DC. The political winds are blowing, and to many, it appears to be abject chaos as the new Republican majority struggles to elect a Speaker of the House. The media and some conservative leaders argue that the 20 Republicans standing firm against Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) nomination are making buffoons of the GOP.
I would argue this process hasn’t done that. Instead, the buffoonery has been going on for the last fifteen years within the ranks of House GOP leadership. For all to see, 20 Republicans are dug in and staunchly opposing McCarthy’s pursuit of the gavel. They don’t appear to speak in total unanimity over their opposition. While there is some overlap in thought, each member has their reasoning.
Still, there is a much deeper philosophical issue at the core of the opposition. Does a small percentage of Congress have a right to override the will of the majority of members? This is an absurd argument. For one, conservatives weren’t making this notion last year when one person, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), single-handedly killed the massive Build Back Better proposal by the far left. Instead, many conservatives praised him.
I’ve only heard one person articulate it well, and it’s former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). On Wednesday, he argued that the minority had every right to block the nomination for the Speaker. He’s right. The reason is that everyone must consider who these individuals work for… do they work for Republican Party, House GOP leadership, or their constituents?
It’s important to remember that these individuals have repeatedly campaigned since 2016 on draining the swamp. Now, they feel there is an opportunity to do something about it. Remember, from 2017 to 2018, the majority in the GOP ranks, especially among the leadership, did little to hold the bureaucracy accountable or work with President Donald Trump to give him more tools to clean it. Some believe it’s stronger than ever under President Biden.
Kevin McCarthy has served in the House GOP leadership for 14 years. Chaffetz noted that within conservative circles in the lower chamber, there has been a distrust of him for some time. The former Congressman stated that the GOP leader has made terrible decisions, demeaned conservatives in the past, and is a hardcore opportunist who will say or do anything to obtain the prestige of the gavel.
To complicate matters, this group is demanding House rule changes that would end the practice of bringing legislation and budget proposals to rank-and-file members for a vote with virtually no time to review or debate their merits on the floor. It seems to me this is a good first step in forcing Congress to do its job and is a worthwhile pursuit. Ramrodding 4,000 or 20,000-page bills through the House with only two days to look at them before a vote leads to all kinds of corruption. In most instances, it’s uncovered months or years, even decades, after the fact.
On Tuesday, Chaffetz tweeted that McCarthy already went back on his word to them.
On Wednesday afternoon, Chaffetz sat on a Fox News panel discussing the politics of the process as McCarthy lost the vote for a fifth time. Some on the panel suggested the Speaker nominee could cut a deal with Democrats. Chaffetz responded if he did that, it would only confirm the suspicions of the minority opposing him. In response, he said it would unleash a tidal wave of disapproval from Republicans who turn on him in greater numbers. While that is highly unlikely to happen, the point is that if McCarthy pursued that tactic, he would be directly aligned with those who, for the last several years, promoted far-left legislative proposals, spent trillions of taxpayer dollars, of which much has gone to waste, and forced lawmakers to vote on legislation that they didn’t even know what was in it.
This is the work of the swamp in Congress.
Regardless of how one might feel about the 20 people blocking McCarthy or the process, the even larger question is, is their blockage absurd, considering the majority wants him to serve as Speaker? The simple answer is no. It’s not absurd. No more than a single Senator blocking legislation he or she doesn’t approve.
These individuals are only accountable to their constituents who voted them into office. If McCarthy doesn’t have the votes, he can try to wear them out and drag out the show. If they don’t relent, someone has to rise to the surface that could garner 218 votes to become Speaker.
In reality, this is what our Republican democracy looks like. It’s new to us but not to American history. It’s a proven process. The bottom line is that every vote in the House requires a majority. McCarthy doesn’t have it as of now. Will he succumb to the demands of the 20 who hold his fate?
The bottom line is this is our form of government at work. They are debating and voting. I find it refreshing that they must reach a consensus through negotiation instead of brute political force.
Hopefully, in the end, Congress and America will be better off thanks to this standoff, and Americans will learn more about civics.
The Conservative Era, Copyright 2023