Saturday, September 26, 2015

Who will succeed Boehner for "the worst job in Washington"?

Evidently the guy who is, at least on paper, the least qualified for the job of Speaker of the House: Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy's legislative resume' is thinner than a hair on a mosquito's nose. Here's the story from Steve Benen at the Rachel Maddow Show.

There are all kinds of questions surrounding this story, but near the top of the list is a pretty straightforward inquiry: who in their right mind would actually volunteer for the job Boehner is giving up?

Not only is it practically impossible to lead the current crop of House Republicans, but there’s also the inconvenient fact that recent GOP Speakers tend to meet unwelcome fates: Newt Gingrich resigned in disgrace; Bob Livingstone resigned in disgrace; Dennis Hastert is under criminal indictment; and John Boehner is quitting mid-term.

Already today, we know that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has withdrawn from consideration. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who tried to oust Boehner, said he’s not running, either. Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was going to be Speaker, but his Republican constituents abandoned him in a primary last year.

And that apparently leaves his successor, current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ...

Remember, when McCarthy was elevated to the #2 slot in the House Republican leadership, he’d only been in Congress for seven years – making him easily the least experienced Majority Leader in American history. By one count, during his brief tenure, McCarthy sponsored only three bills, and only two of them actually passed.

One of them renamed a post office.

The other renamed a flight research center.

Now he’s going to be Speaker of the House and second in the line of presidential succession?

The thing is that anybody who succeeds Boehner will be facing the same situation: a divided House driven by right-wingers incapable of passing meaningful legislation relevant to the nation's needs. Here's a story on that from the NY Times. Here are snippets.

... Mr. Boehner’s years in Washington and his resistance to putting government through upheaval over unwinnable policy fights were serious sins to conservatives inside and outside the House who have a strong distaste for government and were eager to push their views to the limit. Those same antigovernment conservative influences have had a notable impact on the Republican presidential primary, moving outsiders like Donald J. Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina to the fore while castigating the Republican establishment in Washington as part of the problem.

The person who replaces Mr. Boehner will face the same situation — a fact that was not lost Friday on House Republicans who seemed to have a bit of a "Now what do we do?" outlook as they absorbed the loss of Mr. Boehner.

"Whoever is in the speaker’s chair has the same mathematics," said Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona.

Whoever takes over will not find the job any easier. In fact, it could be tougher with emboldened conservatives applying tremendous pressure to confront Democrats and the White House more than Mr. Boehner was willing or able to do. And Mr. Boehner, 65, had the stature, relationships and internal support to resist the rebellion until this point; the incoming speaker will to some degree owe members of the right flank for a job that would not be open were it not for them.

Representative Steve Stivers, Republican of Ohio, said, "This gives us some running room to get things done."

But Mr. Boehner’s critics will aggressively resist such a strategy. They see his retirement as a capitulation and a recognition that conservative unrest against the establishment — the nexus of K Street and Capitol Hill that Mr. Boehner represented — is taking hold and that the old guard is on the run.

So the divisions in the House are likely to be at least as deep with a new speaker.

But it could be worse. A lot worse. Really. Think of a GOP ticket with Trump and Carson for P and VP.

No comments:

Post a Comment