The second effort to replace Speaker Kevin McCarthy just ended in failure.
The level of chaos and self-inflicted damage caused by the eight traitorous Republicans who worked with Democrats to sabotage their own party continues.
There is a dangerous war against Hamas in Israel, a continuing war in Ukraine, a growing threat from China, a continuing collapse along the Southern border, and continuing price increases making life unaffordable. Yet, the House of Representatives is currently ungovernable because of the short-sighted, clueless behavior of eight of its most naïve members. They claim to be Republicans but have consistently proved they are anarchists.
They took the first historic step of vacating the speaker’s chair (over the desire of 96 percent of Republican members) without having a clue as to what would come next.
Now we know.
Speaker McCarthy was—and is—the strongest Republican in the House. He did the right thing for America in keeping the government open. (Given the tragic terrorist assault on Israel, it looks more and more like it was the right thing to do.) McCarthy was willing to stake his place in history on being a patriot first and placating a handful of Republicans second.
Does anyone think America would have been better off if McCarthy had kowtowed to the gang of eight? I certainly do not.
But what do we do now?
Majority Leader Steve Scalise had the first opportunity to replace McCarthy. He recognized that while he could get a majority of the House Republican Conference, he could not get the 217 votes needed to win on the floor. (There are currently vacancies which make 217 the necessary number instead of 218.)
Then, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan took his chance to try to become speaker.
Jordan is a great competitor (156 wins and only one loss in high school wrestling, two-time NCAA national wrestling champion). He works hard and is a serious conservative who can calmly collaborate with a wide range of people.
He seemed to have more momentum than Leader Scalise and took the nomination to the floor.
Today, he got 200 votes—but not 217. In fact, Scalise got seven votes, former Speaker McCarthy got six votes, former Congressman Lee Zeldin got three votes and four other members got one vote each.
Jordan can come back for a second round, but it is not clear that he would even keep the entire 200. There are some indications his vote would slip (unlike McCarthy who kept 200 solid voters through 15 rounds until they finally worked out the majority).
The world is moving on. Israel is about to launch a massive ground offensive into Gaza. Hezbollah and Iran may react by widening the war. The war in Ukraine continues. Illegal immigrants (including terrorists and criminals) continue pouring across our southern border. Domestic criminals continue to get bolder. Drug overdoses continue to kill Americans in horrendous numbers. The Biden administration spending policies continue to drive up inflation.
The House must get its act together.
A large military aid package is going to be sent up by the Biden White House. In the case of Israel, it is going to require rapid passage.
The deadline for keeping the government open gets closer every day.
If the House Republicans cannot resolve the speakership in the next few days, they may be better off to empower Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry with the job of running the House through at least the end of the year.
America does not have the luxury to stand by and allow a handful of destructive Republicans—or even the legitimate ambitions of good people—to keep the system from working.
If a permanent solution is not available in the next few days, a temporary solution to January 1, 2024, may be the answer. Let people calm down. Tempers can relax. A lot more thought and conversation can work toward a long-term solution. (Meanwhile, the loudmouthed chaos agents will immediately become less important.)
Under any circumstance, the machinery of constitutional government must move forward.
Speaker Pro Tempore McHenry is a lot better solution than gridlock and chaos.
He should be empowered this week, and let’s get on with the peoples’ business.