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Kevin McCarthy’s leverage just slipped even further away

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Kevin McCarthy has humiliated himself repeatedly in the last few weeks by struggling to gain the votes he needs in the House to become speaker. With whispers that the GOP might try to vote for someone even worse to take his position – McCarthy made the mistake of publicly flailing that he doesn’t have nearly enough votes to gain the speakership. This is probably the worst move he could make because in trying to appease the more insane members of his party, he’s basically telegraphed that he’s weak – not just to the Republicans but to just about everyone who was on the fence.


You know how Mitch McConnell likes to always announce that he’s doing something terrible whether or not he actually has the votes to do that thing and everyone panics? McCarthy did pretty much the exact opposite of that – revealing that he has zero leverage. If there was any doubt that he had it, that went out the window too as Congress made a last minute decision on raising the debt ceiling.

Obviously, if McCarthy wanted to do anything with his power, it would be causing a government shutdown over the deficit after taking over the House in January – but now he’s lost his chance to do that and Senate Republicans like Lindsey Graham and Richard Shelby are treating him with disdain accordingly as Congress gets ready to adjourn for December – openly saying that McCarthy should keep the government funded. There’s a remote possibility that McCarthy will never get the votes and someone else will end up house speaker – but even if McCarthy does get the votes he needs, it seems doubtful that he’ll last in the position of speaker for very long.

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