Did Steve Scalise just shiv his boss?
Hoo boy, this is not the voice of confidence in a leader. A month ago, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), told Fox News that he was fully supporting his leader’s bid for the speakership. “He’ll win,” the Minority Whip and number 2 in leadership told Fox News. This week? Eh, not so much. Maybe there could be someone else who could do the job. Three guesses who.
CNN asked Scalise, given the ongoing drama over McCarthy’s fight, if he might just emerge as an alternative. A loyal lieutenant would have said something along the lines of “Kevin McCarthy will be speaker, no ifs, ands, or buts. I look forward to serving under him.” Is that what Scalise said? Nope.
“No, I’m not going to get into speculation,” Scalise said. “Obviously our focus is on getting it resolved by January 3. And there’s a lot of conversations that everybody has been having, Kevin, surely, with the members who have expressed concerns.” That statement is emphatically not a “no.”
The vultures are circling.
The hardliners are also absolutely digging in. On Tuesday, it was Rep. Andy Biggs, former Freedom Caucus chair, announcing that he was absolutely going to challenge McCarthy on Jan. 3. Wednesday, it one of the absolute “no” votes for McCarthy, Montana’s Matt Rosendale, writing an op-ed to detail his grievances against McCarthy. He also might just be teasing his own bid for the post.
“We need a drastic change in Washington—that starts with electing a Speaker who is dedicated to restoring the House rules and can stand up to the White House and Senate,” he proclaims. “While Kevin McCarthy served as minority leader, I urged him to leverage our “must-pass” bills, like the federal and defense budgets, to prevent and change bad policies,” Rosendale says, but instead McCarthy “squandered every opportunity to protect Americans from woke policies and advance conservative values.”
Then, like its just an aside that doesn’t really mean anything, but here it is for people to think about: “Having served as the Majority Leader in the Montana State Senate, I know what an effective, functioning legislative body looks like. This isn’t it.”
Uh huh. You just happen to have the leadership experience you’re calling for? How convenient.
As of now, how this all turns out is anybody’s guess. McCarthy has just a four-vote margin here and there are four absolute “no” votes as of right now. He needs one or two of those four to agree to vote “present” so they aren’t actually voting against him. The deeper these guys dig in, the unlikelier that becomes.
Now that we’re moving into the “hey, I could do it” phase of things, McCarthy’s window is closing even more. (Though why anyone would want this job remains a mystery. In fact, that should be a disqualifying hurdle: if you think being in charge of this mess is a good personal decision, you are not capable handling of the responsibility.)
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