Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Last Call For Speaker McCarthy

In the battle of I Dare You To Call My Bluff under the House GOP Clown Show Big Top, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz gets the last laugh as Kevin McCarthy's speakership goes down in infamy and up in flames.

Kevin McCarthy will not run for speaker again after the House ousted him from the top leadership post in a historic vote on Tuesday, a move that threatens to plunge House Republicans into even further chaos and turmoil.

The House will now need to elect a new speaker. There is no clear alternative to McCarthy who would have the support needed to win the gavel, but the race for a potential successor is already underway.

The vote to oust McCarthy and his decision not to run for the speakership again marks a major escalation in tensions for a House GOP conference that has been mired in infighting – and it comes just days after McCarthy successfully engineered a last-minute bipartisan effort to avert a government shutdown. No House speaker has ever before been ousted through the passage of a resolution to remove them.

“I don’t regret standing up for choosing governing over grievance. It is my responsibility. It is my job. I do not regret negotiating. Our government is designed to find compromise,” McCarthy said at a wide-ranging press conference Tuesday evening.

McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju he “might” endorse a successor and did not say whether he would remain in Congress. “I’ll look at that,” he said when asked.

A number of House Republicans are said to be considering jumping into the race for speaker. It’s a scramble as House Republicans do not have a plan nor are they unified behind a candidate.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who has been the No. 2 Republican, has started reaching out to members about a potential speakership bid, according to a source familiar.

Immediately following the vote, GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, a top McCarthy ally, was named interim speaker and the House went into recess as Republicans scrambled to find a path forward. The House is expected to stay out of session for the rest of the week, and Republicans are expected to hold a speaker candidate forum in a week.

The effort to oust the speaker was led by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz and comes as a bloc of hardline conservatives continued to rebel against McCarthy, voting against key priorities of GOP leadership and repeatedly throwing up roadblocks to the speaker’s agenda.

A few observances:

Our old friend The Odious Patrick McHenry is now in charge of the circus, but I don't see how anyone has the votes for Speaker right now. Maybe that changes next week, or maybe McHenry stays because nobody else wants the job. It's all off the map now.

Hell, it may take 45 days to come up with a Speaker. Democrats need to point this out on a daily basis: the House GOP is full of children who are going to destroy the country if they are allowed to continue.  This chaos will continue until Republicans are removed from power.

Finally, I'm almost impressed that McCarthy made it this far. I honestly thought he was going to be ousted after the debt ceiling mess, but Gaetz and company chickened out. They didn't this time. As I predicted, the shutdown was avoided, and McCarthy is gone. At this point all other bets are off.

Red State Dead, Redemptionless

The post-Obama era red state wave across the Midwest and South over the last decade has turned back decades of progress for tens of millions of Americans, including life expectancy numbers that are plummeting like rocks in the ocean, and there's no better example of how Republicans are killing their own constituents than Ohio.

Americans are more likely to die before age 65 than residents of similar nations, despite living in a country that spends substantially more per person on health care than its peers.

Many of those early deaths can be traced to decisions made years ago by local and state lawmakers over whether to implement cigarette taxes, invest in public health or tighten seat-belt regulations, among other policies, an examination by The Washington Post found. States’ politics — and their resulting policies — are shaving years off American lives.

Ashtabula, Ohio’s problems stand out compared with two nearby counties — Erie, Pa., and Chautauqua, N.Y. All three communities, which ring picturesque Lake Erie and are a short drive from each other, have struggled economically in recent decades as industrial jobs withered — conditions that contribute toward rising midlife mortality, research shows. None is a success story when it comes to health. But Ashtabula residents are much more likely to die young, especially from smoking, diabetes-related complications or motor vehicle accidents, than people living in its sister counties in Pennsylvania and New York, states that have adopted more stringent public health measures.

That pattern held true during the coronavirus pandemic, when Ashtabula residents died of covid at far higher rates than people in Chautauqua and Erie.

The differences around Lake Erie reflect a steady national shift in how public health decisions are being made and who’s making them.

State lawmakers gained autonomy over how to spend federal safety net dollars following Republican President Ronald Reagan’s push to empower the states in the 1980s. Those investments began to diverge sharply along red and blue lines, with conservative lawmakers often balking at public health initiatives they said cost too much or overstepped. Today, people in the South and Midwest, regions largely controlled by Republican state legislators, have increasingly higher chances of dying prematurely compared with those in the more Democratic Northeast and West, according to The Post’s analysis of death rates.

The differences in state policies directly correlate to those years lost, said Jennifer Karas Montez, director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies at Syracuse University and author of several papers that describe the connection between politics and life expectancy.

Ohio sticks out — for all the wrong reasons. Roughly 1 in 5 Ohioans will die before they turn 65, according to Montez’s analysis using the state’s 2019 death rates. The state, whose legislature has been increasingly dominated by Republicans, has plummeted nationally when it comes to life expectancy rates, moving from middle of the pack to the bottom fifth of states during the last 50 years, The Post found. Ohioans have a similar life expectancy to residents of Slovakia and Ecuador, relatively poor countries.

Like other hard-hit Midwestern counties, Ashtabula has seen a rise in what are known as “deaths of despair” — drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicides — prompting federal and state attention in recent years. But here, as well as in most counties across the United States, those types of deaths are far outnumbered by deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking-related cancers and other health issues for residents between 35 and 64 years old, The Post found. Between 2015 and 2019, nearly five times as many Ashtabula residents in their prime died of chronic medical conditions as died of overdoses, suicide and all other external causes combined, according to The Post analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s death records.

Public health officials say Ohio could save lives by adopting measures such as a higher tobacco tax or stricter seat-belt rules, initiatives supported by Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican generally friendly to their cause.

“I told the legislature, ‘I’m going to ask you to invest in things where you’re not going to see the results during your term in office and I’m not going to see it during my term in office,’” DeWine said in an interview in the governor’s mansion.

But those proposals have repeatedly stalled in a state legislature controlled by Republicans for 27 of the past 29 years and whose leaders show little inclination to move aggressively now.

DeWine has a “nanny state” mentality, said Ohio state Rep. Bill Seitz, the state House majority floor leader and fellow Republican who has helped block tobacco tax increases amid aggressive lobbying by industry interests. The 68-year-old Seitz, who smoked for 50 years before developing kidney cancer and having a kidney removed this summer, said he’s unmoved by his own brush with the health system — even if it led him to finally kick the habit.

“I’m not going to turn into a smoke Nazi just because I used to smoke and I don’t anymore,” Seitz said.


When I say that Republicans would kill their own constituents if it meant "owning the libs" this is what I mean.  All my life America has been a country where the chief factor in your life expectancy has been the zip code where you grew up. Republicans are just making it worse for entire states.

They're literally killing us, folks.

The Gaetz Of Heck, Con't

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has made his move, filing a vote to vacate House GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy's position that has to take place by Wednesday.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., the Donald Trump ally and conservative bomb-thrower who has been a nagging thorn in leadership’s side, filed a resolution Monday to force a vote to overthrow his political nemesis, Kevin McCarthy, as speaker of the House.

The House must now vote on whether to keep McCarthy on as speaker. It has until Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on the steps of the Capitol, a beaming Gaetz predicted he has the votes to oust McCarthy — as long as Democrats don’t move to save the speaker.

“I have enough Republicans where, at this point next week, one of two things will happen: Kevin McCarthy won’t be the speaker of the house, or he’ll be the speaker of the House working at the pleasure of the Democrats. And I’m at peace with either result, because the American people deserve to know who governs them,” Gaetz said.

During the past two weeks, Gaetz had issued a specific warning to McCarthy, saying he would try to oust him as speaker if he brought a short-term government funding bill to the floor that passed with help from Democrats.

True to his word, Gaetz made the motion to vacate Monday, just two days after McCarthy put a so-called clean continuing resolution, or CR, on the floor to avert a government shutdown, passing it with 209 Democratic votes and 125 Republican votes.

The House floor is normally loud and boisterous. But it was absolutely quiet as Gaetz stood up, buttoned his jacket, approached the well of the House and addressed the chamber Monday evening to announce the motion.

Asked by Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Texas, who was presiding at the time, what his resolution was about, Gaetz replied: "Declaring the office of speaker of the House of Representatives to be vacant."

When he finished after about a minute, there was no reaction from the gathered Democrats or the Republicans as he walked away up the aisle.

So, the question is will Democratic House minority leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries work out a deal to save McCarthy's neck? Steve M. says frankly, no

Until a new Speaker is chosen, the House is unlikely to be in the hands of maniacs:
Under continuity of Congress procedures enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, there is a list of people who can act as speaker pro tempore in an event where the speakership is vacated. This was created in anticipation of a mass casualty event like a terrorist attack, but it would apply if the speakership is vacated. The irony is that list is written by the sitting speaker — so McCarthy knows who is on the list — and it is kept by the House Clerk and only to be made public in the event of a vacancy.This is a list McCarthy compiled knowing it would remain secret until his ouster, so it's unlikely that the list would include Marjorie Taylor Greene or any other bomb-thrower. So if Democrats want to save McCarthy simply in order to keep the House under adult supervision, they should realize that it will probably remain under adult supervision at least through the inevitable multiple votes for a new Speaker.

And they really shouldn't care whether the crazies ultimately win. As I look ahead to 2024, I think it might be bad for President Biden and congressional Democrats that McCarthy and his not-as-crazy caucus keep preventing the country from plunging into utter chaos. If Republicans under McCarthy (and Mitch McConnell) don't appear horribly dangerous, then voters in 2024 are likely to believe they can be trusted to run the country again. That's good for all GOP candidates in 2024, including Donald Trump.

We can have Republican chaos now or worse chaos in 2025 under a reelected Trump and, quite possibly, a GOP-run Congress. I'm in favor of chaos now rather than chaos then.

I have to agree with Steve M. here. Time to let McCarthy sink or swim on his own.
Related Posts with Thumbnails