McCarthy's Exit Sparks Liberal Schadenfreude and GOP Disarray
By Amanda Teuscher | Oct 08, 2015
At about noon today, political Twitter and news junkies were offered a gift: Representative Kevin McCarthy, the presumed successor to House Speaker John Boehner’s throne, abruptly withdrew from the leadership contest.
McCarthy’s election was by no means certain—just yesterday, the conservative Freedom Caucus decided to back Representative Dan Webster instead—but things were looking pretty good for the California Republican. “How the dusty, deep red Bakersfield, California, shaped his life—and might shape his speakership,” said the subtitle for a Politico magazine story posted today, anticipating the outcome of today’s Republican conference vote (which Boehner has now postponed).
There’s been a few ideas as to why McCarthy made the sudden decision to drop out of the race, from unsubstantiated rumors of an affair to the Freedom Caucus decision. And of course, there was McCarthy’s ill-advised comment last week, which seemed to acknowledge that the Benghazi committee was a political tool meant to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The decision left some Republicans “audibly crying” in the cloakroom and gave liberal observers cause for glee.
Clinton demonstrated her own delight in the news, by posting this video:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 8, 2015
Journalists and Twitter users highlighted the chaos of the Republican Party and its failure of leadership, and some typically wild speculations:
Rep. Peter King tells me that members are crying in cloakroom, unable to handle the unrest and confusion. "A banana republic," he says.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 8, 2015
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) October 8, 2015
So... who's gonna steer this clown car? http://t.co/YDkL1s5nS0
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) October 8, 2015
So add "preventing McCarthy from becoming speaker" to the list of conservative Benghazi committee wins
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 8, 2015
Jason Chaffetz says he's still running for speaker and is presenting himself as a consensus choice.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2015
Poor Boehner browsing pontoon party boats and getting the news.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) October 8, 2015
Maybe Kevin McCarthy concluded that he didn't want to be headmaster of the world's unruliest kindergarten class.
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) October 8, 2015
(from right to left: dropped out, lost in primary, won't run) pic.twitter.com/Pf155KJyYW
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 8, 2015
Pelosi on speaker race: "I’m sure they’ll find somebody who is capable of accepting the honor."
— Lauren French (@laurennfrench) October 8, 2015
Thanks to McCarthy, the Benghazi investigation finally uncovered the truth! Unfortunately, it was the truth about the Benghazi investigation
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) October 8, 2015
— House Democrats (@HouseDemocrats) October 8, 2015
But John Nichols of The Nation had a particularly stirring condemnation of the GOP and the politics of “no” that have led to the party’s unsurprising disarray:
But the greater surrender is that of the Republican Party. It has given up on a premise as old as the party itself: that Republican speakers (like the best of Democratic speakers) would lead the whole House and seek to keep the chamber functioning. … But [Boehner’s] tepid regard for governing was too much for his caucus. And for a party that has no real need for a speaker of the House because it has lost interest in what Republicans historically understood as governing.