It only took three days and fifteen ballots for Rep. Kevin McCarthy to emerge as the newly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. He seemed to revel in his victory, reminding us all that it’s not how you start the race, but how you finish. Spirited Reasoners wonder how much of the store’s inventory Mr. McCarthy was forced to hand over before the hostage-takers finally released him. He was finished all right.
Imagine how you would feel if you attended a job interview and your future boss demanded that you get down on your hands and knees and polish his shoes if you really wanted the job. Would you really agree to that sort of demand? Or would you walk out, assuring yourself that any job that required a sacrifice of your self-respect and human dignity could not possibly be worth the price in the long run?
As we have seen in previous postings, these types of questions are often more intriguing than the answers.
Here are a few more questions:
- Will the right-wing hardliners force another vote on the speakership, just to test their power? After all, one of the concessions they reportedly exactly from Mr. McCarthy was his agreement to allow a vote of no confidence in his leadership if even one hostage-taker demands it in the future. See, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/01/07/the-shakespearean-tragedy-of-kevin-mccarthy-00076762
- Will they succeed in blocking future increases in the national debt ceiling, thus potentially plunging our economy and the dollar into another crisis? One would hope that a pathway remains for moderate Republicans to join with Democrats to avert such a catastrophe. Time will tell.
- Will they make good on their threats to trash the findings of the January 6th Committee? They will undoubtedly try, but one wonders (a) whether they can cobble together a majority of House votes to succeed with such a resolution and (b) whether the American public will ever forget the persuasive images and testimony they have already seen and heard.
- Will they move forward with their threats to impeach President Biden and other members of the administration? Probably. But again, they will need close to 100% participation from members on their own side of the aisle. Even assuming they manage a successful impeachment vote, there is approximately zero chance any trial in the Senate would result in the 2/3 majority necessary to convict.
- Will they move forward with their investigation of Hunter Biden (and anyone else they view as a political enemy)? Probably. But at some point, even the so-called Freedom Caucus must begin to realize the limits of political theatre.