Analysis: Why Kevin McCarthy has already failed his first big leadership test
James’s words ran through my head over the past 24 hours as it became more apparent that House Republicans Leader Kevin McCarthy of the Republic of California was not really the one to make a decision about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green’s past extremism and intolerance. Georgia congressmen should be removed from the work of their committee.
“I spoke to leader McCarthy this morning, and it is clear that there is no option to hold a floor vote on the resolution to remove the rape,” Hoyer said in a statement after the meeting. “The Rules Committee will meet this afternoon, and the House will vote on the motion tomorrow.”
Which means that, almost certainly, the fate of Greene’s committee service will be left to the Democratic House majority – taking McCarthy out of the picture entirely (or mostly).
In short: By refusing to make a choice on Green’s fate, McCarthy made a choice. And that’s one of the many consequences – none of them bodes well for the Republican leader.
Later Wednesday afternoon, McCarthy sought to portray his inaction as some sort of decision – and blamed the Democrats for not ending the situation.
“I understand that Marjorie’s comments have left many people with deep wounds and, as a result, I offered Majority Leader Hoyer a way to reduce temperatures and address these concerns. Instead of coming together to do so , Democrats are choosing to raise the temperature. McCarthy said in a statement, “taking unprecedented steps to seize his partisan power about the work of the second-party committee,”.
McCarthy, as many of his Republican colleagues over the past few days, tried to argue that comments from Greene’s past were comparable to comments made by Democratic members, including Rep. Ilhan Omar. But this is the first kind. Green’s comments are far more offensive and extreme than what these Democratic members say.
What happened here is simple. McCarthy is stuck between the Republican establishment wing (represented by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, most notably) and the Trump wing, of which Green is a prominent light.
He is paralyzed because of a) he does not want to make a big loss of the party’s big donors (who have McConnell and against Green) and b) he knows that is a big part of his house conference. Laine, ideologically and tonight, McConnell with Greene or Liz Cheney with Wyoming Rep.
McCarthy needs major donors to finance the midterm campaign of 2022 that he hopes will bring Republicans back to the majority and propel him to the speaker’s job. And / but he needs the support of the Trump wing – as indicated by Green – to wind up as speaker, and not face a challenge from the likes of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and some other Trump Republican members.
And so, he did not know which side to take. So he took neither. And in doing so, both sides of the equation almost certainly had to pee.
Green would have wanted to punish the uh, liberal demands for McCarthy’s rejection. The establishment would see McCarthy’s non-choice as not only an indication of his responsibilities as a leader within the party, but would miss an opportunity to put Trump (and his allies) in the GOP’s rear-view mirror.
This is an infallible defeat for McCarthy. He looks completely innocent and without conviction. And taking all of this forward, McCarthy’s fencing and passing responsibility on the Green issue will likely complicate his efforts to lead the conference on other thorny issues going forward.
Leadership is not about passing Rs. And that’s exactly what McCarthy did here.