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With McCarthy’s withdrawal for speaker post, House GOP is a mess

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California surprised everyone this afternoon by dropping his bid to replace John Boehner.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy surprised everyone this afternoon by dropping his bid.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who was presumed to have at least enough support to become the Republican “nominee” for the speakership (but great uncertainty whether he had the votes to actually become speaker), surprised everyone this afternoon by dropping his bid.

The news leaked out by texts sent by members of the House Republican Caucus who were in a closed-door meeting to start the process of choosing their candidate speaker.

“For us to unite, we probably need a fresh face,” McCarthy told a media scrum in the halls outside the meeting.

OMG. I really had not intended to write about this speaker thing every day, let alone twice a day. And I’m really in no position to speculate on what will happen next. But having obsessed on this in the last two posts, I had to at least put up this update.

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I’m really glad my post of this morning included this paragraph:

NBC quotes one unnamed Repub member of the House who says, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get a speaker until the next Congress.” The handicapping will change every day, until it doesn’t.

At the moment there is no announced plan for a process to get back to the business of picking a speaker. House Republicans were said to be in “total disarray.”

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post writes:

There is a revolution happening within the Republican Party right now. The establishment’s hold on power is more tenuous than it has been at any time in recent memory. There is no one currently in office that can claim with any credibility that he or she speaks “for” the party as a whole.

There is a still a speaker of the House, John Boehner, who has announced his plan to retire but recently postponed its effective date, and there is still a deadline  of Dec. 11 when a stopgap spending bill expires, and, as the New York Times writes, “Without congressional action, much of the government will shut down.”

Politico reports that there is talk of finding someone to fill the speakership on a temporary basis, and the names of those mentioned include Minnesota’s John Kline. Here’s that paragraph:

Meanwhile, House Republicans immediately began floating a number of names as potential caretakers. One is retiring Minnesota Rep. John Kline, a close ally of Boehner who is chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee. A spokesman for Kline did not rule it out, saying in a statement that the congressman “is confident House Republicans will select someone who can do what’s best for our country and this institution.”

Politico also said “Others are talking about trying to persuade Boehner to stay until 2016.”