Kevin McCarthy is not seen as a squish by most. But about 35 Republican House members, most of them in the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus, may not be convinced of his bonafides and also want more power for backbenchers.
They could throw a spanner into McCarthy’s plan to be speaker. Five have come out against him. Two of them can be convinced otherwise with concessions McCarthy has already made and other deals. But there may be enough left, if others join them, to stop McCarthy. The Dems would like nothing better.
Fox: “McCarthy’s margin is significantly narrow. The GOP is expected to wind up with a 222-seat majority in January, compared to an estimated 213 seats for Democrats. If all 435 members of the House are present and voting for the speaker in January, McCarthy can lose no more than four Republican votes. At the moment, there are at least five House Republicans who oppose McCarthy while several others are seen as on the fence.”
The rebels are playing hard ball, publicly. “House Republicans need a leader with credibility across every spectrum of the GOP conference in order to be a capable fighting force for the American people,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. “That person is not Kevin McCarthy.” But cooler heads may prevail.
“Kevin [McCarthy] knows when the time is right to strike a deal,” said a top aide to GOP leadership. “This is all public negotiating right now.”
Democrats would love it if Republicans fought amongst themselves right out of the gate, perhaps relying on some of them for the votes for speaker. The rebels are Trump’s minions and they seem to have their icon’s sense of self-esteem and subtlety. Which is too much and none.
To stop the Biden agenda we need a united effort in the House. The slim margin demands such. By doing the indirect bidding of Democrats rebel Republicans would help Biden pass God knows what and make a bare victory in the House into a definite defeat.
Thus the carping, the kvetching, and the whinging has got to stop. McCarthy got us this majority and if the rebels want to blame someone for the close numbers they can send their master a message via Truth Social.
Democrats and their likely new House Leader Hakim Jeffries are no doubt trembling with glee over Gaetz and his lot. And don’t put it out of conception for the rebels to cut a deal with Dems to get a hardline speaker beholden to Trump. The Dems saw how well that kind of move worked for them in November and would kill to do it again.
If House Republicans have a death wish they will continue to squabble and try to kill the McCarthy speakership. They will pay for it at the 2024 polls.