The Morning Briefing: New Republican House Majority Is a Driverless Clown Car

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Top O’ the Briefing

Happy Wednesday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Layton clammed up whenever his mother got some wine in her and began ranting about his “descent into taxidermy.”


The red trickle Republican majority in the House of Representatives has finally arrived, ladies and gentlemen. Everything is going to be better now, right? We finally have some leverage to push back against the Democrats in the Senate and White House. Can’t we all just feel the freedom again?

No, I’m not concussed. I just felt in the mood for some sarcastic levity because reality is so obnoxious right now.

Matt covered the shenanigans for us yesterday:

Update 5:58 p.m. ET: The House has adjourned after failing to elect a Speaker of the House. The third vote saw 20 Republican votes against McCarthy, not 19. The House will reconvene on Wednesday at noon and try again.

Update 4:05 p.m. ET: Kevin McCarthy has just lost the second round of voting for House speaker, falling short by the same number as the first vote. While multiple alternative candidates shared a cumulative 19 votes in the first round, in the second vote, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) received all of the 19 votes. Democrats once again voted unanimously for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. The latest vote will certainly put pressure on McCarthy to step aside for a consensus Republican candidate.

In case you’re wondering just how dysfunctional the House Republicans are, that is the first time this has happened in a hundred years. There have been rumors in recent weeks that the GOP in-fighting would resolve itself in time to elect McCarthy speaker. Those rumors were all coming from McCarthy supporters, of course. Their optimism seems to have been unfounded.


The conservative opposition to McCarthy doesn’t appear to be wavering. In fact, they might be becoming more resolute, maybe even a little chipper. Bob Hoge writes over at RedState that Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is even annoyed by where McCarthy is working from:

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz decided to play hardball Tuesday evening, writing to the Architect of the Capitol that Kevin McCarthy should not be allowed to occupy the physical office of the Speaker of the House considering that he just lost three consecutive votes for the position:

That doesn’t bode well for a Republican lighting of the unity candle and a Kumbaya moment anytime soon.

If this is what winning feels like, I really don’t want to go through losing ever again.

Gwendolyn wrote a post yesterday that perfectly illustrates the hot messiness of this situation:

Republican stalwart Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) pulled no punches Tuesday on Newsmax as he weighed in on the tumultuous House Speaker fight. “I voted in support of Kevin McCarthy,” said Garcia. “I think he’s earned it. I think he’s been working his tail off the last several years to get us here.” While that may be so, in the wake of triple failed votes, Garcia lamented that “Day One of being in the majority feels an awful lot like being in the minority. It’s very frustrating.” Frustrating is an understatement. Is this the type of GOP leadership Americans voted for in November?

One wonders if, with at least nineteen House members still holding out, the GOP can expect anything positive to come from these failed votes. “We frankly, just have to make it rain longer than these nineteen folks can tread water,” Garcia said.


Both sides are digging in. Super good to know.

Normally, I’m a huge fan of congressional dysfunction. This is embarrassing, though. At this point, I’m not sure any of the potential alternatives to McCarthy would be much better. Well, Jim Jordan would be interesting, so it’s good to see the breakaway faction unite around him. Garcia thinks that the pro-McCarthy people can wait out the rebels. That doesn’t really sound like a strategy that’s going to win over the people who are adamant that McCarthy not get the gig.

The Democrats are loving this, I’m sure. I bet the McConnell/Romney GOP squish wing in the Senate is probably enjoying it as well.

One wonders just how effective whatever might emerge from this standoff will be in countering the Democrats. Can they come together and focus on fighting the Dems or will internecine squabbles be the norm?

One thing is certain: there isn’t much that’s grand about the Grand Old Party these days.

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