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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Fall of Speaker McCarthy

  Zachary B. Wolf at CNN:

Kevin McCarthy is House speaker no more. After angering GOP hardliners with a spending bill to keep the government funded last week, McCarthy was voted out of power on Tuesday.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, filed what in the House is known as a “motion to vacate” and Democrats declined to rescue McCarthy’s speakership. The Californian lost the support of eight Republicans, becoming the speaker with the third-shortest tenure. He said Tuesday evening he wouldn’t run again.

The first “motion to vacate” vote in more than 100 years and the first to succeed, it leaves the House in chaos

Joseph Postell of Hillddate:

WOLF: Why is this the first time this happened since 1910?

POSTELL: Strictly speaking, this is the first time the so-called motion to vacate or motion to declare the speakership vacant has been brought up … to get a vote on the floor since 1910. … So in that way, this is only the second time this vote has actually proceeded.

WOLF: But Cannon (unlike McCarthy) was never in danger of losing his job, right?

POSTELL: In fact, Cannon actually called for the vote. He was the one who asked for it. That’s the big difference here is that Cannon brought the vote on himself to make the point that the people who opposed him were playing opportunistically. In that way, he actually did it as a sort of principled show of leadership, whereas, obviously, this has been more forced on to (McCarthy). So that is a significant difference.

The broad outlines of what happens in 1910:

There’s a Republican Party, internally divided between progressives and conservatives. So similar, except the lines of division today are obviously very different.

Joseph Cannon was a conservative speaker who basically thwarted the progressive wing of his party, and that wing really couldn’t move to the Democratic Party because in 1910, the Democratic Party was no more progressive than the Republican Party and, in fact, was probably less progressive. So really, all they could do was fight their party from within.

In 1910, the speaker was basically a czar. So really, the difference here, I would say, is that Cannon was a czar and McCarthy is not.