by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
After four years of legislative malfeasance by Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic myrmidons, the Republicans will soon have a 222–213 majority in the House of Representatives. It should be obvious to the meanest intelligence that, to accomplish anything useful with such a narrow majority, the House Republican Conference has to close ranks and prepare for a war with a radicalized Democratic minority that will continue its ongoing effort to undermine the will of the voters.
The new Republican majority will get its first chance to present a unified front on Jan. 3, when the House meets to elect a new speaker to replace Pelosi. Yet a small cadre of GOP opportunists vows not to vote for the only realistic choice — current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). On Nov. 15, the Republican House Conference elected McCarthy to be its nominee for House speaker. He defeated his only challenger for the gavel, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), 188–31. The latter nonetheless insists he will challenge McCarthy again in January.
Aside from Biggs, McCarthy’s loudest critics are Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.). The GOP majority is so narrow that, if they remain intransigent, it could prevent McCarthy from becoming speaker of the House. To prevail on Jan. 3, he must garner a majority of those voting in the full House, and he won’t get any Democratic votes. All of this would be less perverse if McCarthy’s GOP critics backed a viable alternative. …
… Moreover, while McCarthy is hardly above criticism, he has been a far bigger asset to the GOP than many conservatives seem to realize. He has, for example, been a remarkably prolific fundraiser. Indeed, without his PAC money, there probably would be no Republican majority next year.