Opinion: The deal McCarthy reached was an inexplicable act of self-destruction

Editor’s Note: Charlie Dent is a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania who served as chairman of the House Ethics Committee from 2015 to 2017 and chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies from 2015 to 2018. He was a political commentator for CNN. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. see more opinion on CNN.


The fascinating spectacle of the House speaker election exposed the rift and dysfunction in the Republican convention in the House. Fortunately, it ended after four days and 15 votes.

Charlie Dent

But it’s worth noting that the Speaker’s vote is the first – and often the easiest – order of business. Judging by how difficult it is for Kevin McCarthy to get the votes needed to be a speaker, there will be plenty of tough and protracted battles to come.

After McCarthy debunked some of his original holdings, his fate finally fell to Representative Matt Gaetz, who found himself incurring indignation from his GOP colleagues, including including the understandably frustrated Representative Mike Rogers, who angrily confronted the Florida congressman in the closing moments of the 14th vote.

While congratulations go to Speaker McCarthy, the role has been significantly undermined by the reported concessions he made during this unsightly political retreat. Apparently, hardliners have demanded that McCarthy and most of the House GOP convention demand more than a pound of meat, which would make administration extremely difficult.

It begs the question: Is surrendering your way to victory really winning? And when will this appeasement end, as it only strengthens this extremist faction?

First, a bit of recent history is to explain the dynamics of the House Republican convention.

Anyone surprised by this week’s dysfunction should not have; The GOP House conference has become increasingly dysfunctional over the past 13 years. The chaotic plots the world witnessed this week are simply a continuation of the dysfunction that began after the Tea Party swept the House of Representatives in 2010.

Former Speaker John Boehner and Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and later Speaker Paul Ryan, all are tormented by a rejecting wing of their own party about simple problems of governance. Funding the government, preventing default on the full confidence and credit of the United States, providing emergency aid for states and communities devastated by natural disasters, and the re-licensing of essential programs have turned into dramatic, dangerous battles.

McCarthy led throughout this period and knew the dangers of dealing with this fringe group that wanted to sow chaos in Congress. In fact, some of the figures behind this week’s chaos were among the group that beat McCarthy back in 2015 when he last tried to be a speaker (and failed). Torture the Republican leader in the House and hostage taking on the Republican agenda has become a despicable strategy for these crazed agitators.

So here we are in 2023. Dissenters are still digging in – the only difference now is that there is a smaller ruling majority. In fact, there really isn’t a dominant GOP majority, and the world will soon learn that.

A paradigm shift long overdue. The pragmatic and rational Republicans, who were enraged by the concessions McCarthy had made to Gaetz and his associates, were forced to adjust course and change momentum.

In this case, retribution is a dish that is best eaten while hot. It’s time for rational House Republicans to push back and use their leverage — starting with the rules package. They should give the chaotic caucus a taste of their own medicine and say no until their reasonable demands are met.

They will do it themselves – and McCarthy – is favored by withdrawing some of the rules that the speaker agree in his erroneous agreement. It is not smart to give in to hardliners by allowing a single member to call a vote to remove the speaker; The same goes for adding Freedom Caucus members to the House Rules Committee.

The hardliners also secured a promise that a McCarthy-linked super PAC would not interfere in secure, open GOP primaries. Why empower the fringes further in a way that only creates more members of Congress who don’t care about running? These are unexplainable self-destructive behaviors.

It’s time to stop feeding alligators. Reasonable Republicans must stand up, fight, and resist. Two people can play this game. If the diabolical demands and tactics of the chaotic caucus weren’t enough to upset them, see Gaetz’s following quote: “I’ve run out of things I can even imagine asking for.”

Rational House Republicans need to protect themselves from the deal McCarthy agreed to in his quest for his own coveted hammer. Major legislative battles are looming and Republicans will need all the procedural tools they have to keep the country on track and out of the hole, or worse. The worst rule change recommended is in order.

And if there aren’t enough GOP votes for a more sensible package of rules, it’s time to try something new – bipartisanship. In this case, rational Republicans should reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to secure enough votes for a package of rules to push back some of the demands of the Democrats. hardliners.

The House’s ability to function is at stake. America’s authoritarian opponents around the world point out that democracy is outdated and unable to meet the needs of its people. It’s time to prove them wrong by destroying the extremists within ourselves who deny the results of free and fair elections and want to ravage America’s sacred temple of democracy. .

It’s time for rational Republicans in the House to make their stand.


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