Continuity and Graceful Exits


Filed Under Congress on Jun 23 

House Speaker Boehner had to move fast. On the night of Tuesday, June 10 House Majority Leader Cantor lost to David Brat. By Thursday next week, June 19, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy would be the new House Speaker, voted in by GOP House colleagues in a rushed effort to ensure continuity of the current House Leadership. The Speaker ensures the Whip gets the Leadership, and it’s all about experience, fellow House Republicans have been telling the media. There is no doubt that McCarthy, as House Whip, had a few IOU’s he collected on, but time will tell how wise a choice he was. Maybe Boehner honestly felt he had no choice; the party had to vote quickly and move on, avoiding a damaging debate between moderates and conservatives. The problem is, that debate will continue to happen, whether the GOP House leadership wants it or not. Boehner has indicated he plans to hold onto the Speaker’s chair now that his heir apparent, Eric Cantor, will not be around to take it over from him. If Boehner resigns at some point, maybe after the November elections, then Jeb Hensarling may decide to run for the position, according to many. Maybe Boehner just wants a gracious exit from Washington D.C. and is setting the stage for just that. In that case, continuity of House Leadership has little to do with voter concerns – hardly a shock, but at this point couldn’t there be just a little soul searching on the part of the leadership? Debating a platform, even if that debate gets a little ugly, would mean the GOP can take advantage of the midterm elections which seems a whole lot more sustainable than hanging on until November to see which way the chips fall. Does the leadership feel there is no longer enough time to do that? Everything seems a little up in the air on the hill, but on the ground there’s a lot of voters who need to be listened to.