Incredibly, there are reports that Kevin McCarthy may be interested in becoming speaker again. While he has not explicitly said so, some of his supporters are planning to nominate him at the closed door party meetings and he has not asked them to refrain.
A bloc of Kevin McCarthy’s most vocal GOP supporters, many of them centrists, are vowing to nominate the former speaker to return to the job and support him for as long as they can.
Three House Republicans involved in the effort to return the gavel to McCarthy — which is flaring up just a week after his historic ejection — say they expect dozens of colleagues to initially vote for the Californian during this week’s internal conference debate over speaker candidates.
Their plans depend on whether McCarthy is nominated, as expected, and may prevent either of the declared candidates to replace him — Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio — from garnering a majority on the first ballot.
After POLITICO’s initial report published, McCarthy publicly asked supporters not to nominate him. Several GOP members involved in the effort, however, have said they received no direction to stand down.
I do not see this happening. After his ignominious exit, why is McCarthy even allowing his allies to float this idea? Is the man a glutton for punishment? Is he so incensed at being the first speaker to be removed that he is determined to salvage his name?
In order to prevent a repeat of the embarrassing 15-ballot and deal-making marathon that put McCarthy into office in January, that played out in public in all its glory, this time the plan is to do everything behind closed doors within the Republican caucus and put it to a vote on the House floor only after the party has found a candidate that can garner the required majority of 217 votes from among the 221 Republicans, since there is no way that the 212 Democrats are going to vote for any Republican for speaker.
But that will only happen if one of the two current candidates Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan withdraws in favor of the other and if they can get the support of at least some of the eight or so extremists who brought McCarthy down. The party may also try to reverse the rule that any one member can bring forward the motion to vacate, the procedure that was used by Matt Gaetz. He is likely to insist on his demands being met. They will also have to get an agreement on what to do about the budget that is due on November 17th, that was another major cause of McCarthy’s downfall. Jordan has said that he would support another stopgap measure to fund the government until April but the question is whether it will be a ‘clean’ continuing resolution or contain the kinds of other things that Gaetz and others are demanding and did not get with the earlier CR which led to their decision to oust McCarthy.
Complicating matters is of course serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) interfering in the process. He first offered to come to Washington, DC to help in the process, something that must have struck Republicans (other than the MAGA nuts) with horror at the thought of the supreme chaos agent wading into an already chaotic situation. But SSAT seems to have walked that idea back and endorsed Jordan. Since the balloting within the conference is secret, this might be a good indication of SSAT’s actual clout within the party, since Scalise has long been seen as next in-line to McCarthy and hence the party establishment candidate, although his views are extreme. If he gets more votes than Jordan, that will make things interesting.
That is a lot of stuff for the fractious party to agree on and while it seems unlikely on the surface for agreement on all these issues to be achieved easily, political horse-trading can sometimes produce surprising results, especially since the party knows that its has become a laughing stock and needs to get its act together quickly if they do not want to become even more ridiculed.