The start of a new session of the U.S. House of Representatives is a long-standing tradition that takes place on the day of January following a general election. On this day, members of the House come together to begin the process of organizing and conducting the business of the chamber. And good lord what a clown show this year's session has been.
It has been fascinating to watch the mainstream media's attempts to understand the reasons behind the dispute between Representative Kevin McCarthy, the supposed leader of the House Republicans, and the approximately 20 members of his own caucus who are blocking his ascension to the position of House speaker. While the situation is certainly not amusing, it is somewhat intriguing to see how the media has tried to make sense of it. Let me break it to you: There is no sense. What we are seeing is the downside of a party composed of fascist trolls. And this is not the first time we are being allowed a glimpse behind the facade of the GOP:
On January 3rd, 2021, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, made a bid to be voted as the new speaker of the House. His efforts were unsuccessful, as he was unable to secure the necessary support from his colleagues. This was a surprising turn of events, as McCarthy had been widely expected to win the speaker-ship, given the Republican Party's minority status in the House. However, a group of conservative Republicans, known as the Freedom Caucus, refused to support McCarthy, citing concerns about his leadership style and commitment to conservative principles. As a result, McCarthy was forced to withdraw his bid for the speaker-ship, leaving the House without a clear leader. This has led to uncertainty and infighting within the Republican Party, as members scramble to find a new candidate who can unite the caucus and lead the party forward. Many have criticized McCarthy for his inability to secure the support of his colleagues, arguing that it demonstrates a lack of leadership and vision. Others have blamed the Freedom Caucus for being too inflexible and unwilling to work with McCarthy. Regardless of the reasons for McCarthy's failed bid, it is clear that the Republican Party was facing a leadership crisis at a time when it is already facing significant challenges, including the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol and the back then looming impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
And it seems that Republican history is repeating itself in 2023. Until a presiding officer is selected, the House will be unable to carry out its crucial responsibilities, such as overseeing national security, examining government wrongdoing, and enacting laws. This will result in a halt in Congress's operations. And Kevin McCarthy has dramatically failed on three consecutive days and 11 votes to gather the required majority to be elected Speaker of the House. Something unique in American history in around 164 years thanks to a group of trolls dubbed "Taliban 20" by Team McCarthy. A significant number of the individuals in this group, whose size has ranged from 19 to 21 depending on the vote, belong to the House Freedom Caucus, a group consisting of some of the most conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives. They share geography too as they are dominated by southerners, mainly from Texas, Florida or Arizona. This group is opposed to McCarthy because they believe he will hinder their ultra-right-wing agenda battling President Joe Biden ignoring the fact that all they currently battle is themselves and the GOP in total.
"the best season of cspan … ever" - Jon Stewart
The Republican Party's inability to choose a speaker also brings former President Donald Trump back into the public eye. After initially blaming Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021, McCarthy's relationship with Trump experienced a temporary rift. "You've got to call these people off. They're your people." McCarthy demanded of Trump during a phone call, according to Congresswoman Jamie Herrera-Beutler. "Well, Kevin, I guess they are just more upset about the election theft than you are," Trump replied. However, McCarthy has since become a vocal defender of Trump who is currently unable to wield the same level of control over the Republican Party as he once did and linked his own political significance to McCarthy's success or failure. How this is ending? The voting has once again adjourned. A number of "Never Kevins" - notably Matt Gaetz of Florida who today voted for Donald Trump - just a day ahead of the anniversary of the Storm of the Capitol, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Lauren Boebert of Colorado - have been clear that no amount of compromise will change their minds on opposing the California congressman.
The members of the House of Representatives will continue voting until they reach a decision. In the past, the election for speaker has taken the longest in 1856, when Nathaniel Prentice Banks won after receiving a plurality of votes from members, rather than an absolute majority, after a whopping 133 ballots. It is possible that the current vote for speaker could go on for days or even weeks. One unlikely option to resolve the stalemate is to follow the example set in 1856, where lawmakers passed a resolution allowing a speaker to be chosen by a plurality vote instead of a simple majority. However, this would be a risky move for the Republican House leadership, as a divided Republican vote could lead to the leader of the Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries, being given the role of speaker. The resulting divisions within the Republican Party and the events that may follow could make their House majority unworkable. A clear signal that the self-radicalizing clown show called GOP is not capable of governing.