The following is an excerpt from Jim Newell | September 29, 2015 | Slate.com |
The post–John Boehner shuffle in the House of Representatives is beginning to take shape as an outline of the future GOP leadership structure started to emerge on Tuesday. First, the current majority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, is not facing any serious challengers for the speakership. (No offense meant to his one declared opponent, Rep. Daniel Webster, the third-term Floridian who’s reportedly distributing copies of his “Widgets, Principles and Republicans” treatise in an effort to woo colleagues.)
The race to replace McCarthy as majority leader is setting up to be more of an entertaining spectacle. Since McCarthy is probably not conservative enough for the same members who just claimed John Boehner’s scalp, House conservatives would like one of their own as the new majority leader. But who is acceptable? They have been fickle about this. Rep. Steve Scalise, the current majority whip, is running for the job. Recall that Scalise was installed to the leadership last year as the supposed leadership liaison to the conservative flank. (You may also remember Scalise for his great survival skills.) But now conservatives may be looking for someone else. How about Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price? He earned the endorsements of well-respected conservative Reps. Paul Ryan and Jeb Hensarling on Monday—enough for the Washington Examiner to report that conservatives might throw their support to McCarthy for speaker if they got Price for majority leader. But that was Monday. By Tuesday morning conservatives were talking up Rep. Trey Gowdy as the One True Conservative who could save America as the House’s second most powerful figure. As chair of the select committee on Benghazi, Gowdy has already been tasked with dragging out an investigation into Hillary Clinton through November 2016. Is it really worth plucking him away from that important task? By Tuesday afternoon, he had decided no. So now, the far-right flank will have to rally around some other previously unexamined vessel of pure, uncut conservatism.
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