Battle for the Gavel

By: Lisa Van Houten

As I write this, the fight continues among Congressional Republicans as to who will serve as the Speaker of the House.  Albert Einstein is attributed to saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  Yet Kevin McCarthy continues to hold vote after vote in his quest to become Speaker, despite no change in the needle, other than fewer representatives voting for him.  Kevin McCarthy, with the Establishment fully behind him, acts as if he is due the mantle of leadership.  He has presumptuously moved into the office of the Speaker of the House and, as Frank Gaffney reports, “during a Republican caucus before the first of three unsuccessful votes on January 3rd, McCarthy contemptibly announced that he had ‘earned this G— d— job.’”

The group of 20 Republicans who have refused to vote for the supposed heir-apparent Kevin McCarthy, seeking to make some much-needed changes to the establishment status quo way of doing things in the House of Representatives, have been demonized by their own colleagues and conservative media outlets.  These Freedom Caucus Republicans have been called “terrorists” and “enemies” by fellow House Republicans, while Fox News has been on a crusade to vilify this group fighting for change.  As Gary Bauer reported in his End of the Day Briefing yesterday: “Rupert Murdoch, who contributed to ruining the Conservative Party in England, has ordered his media empire in America – Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post – to go to “DEFCON 10” to defend the GOP establishment.

 “These outlets are now attacking good conservatives who simply want guarantees that Kevin McCarthy understands the seriousness of this moment and will do what is necessary to win.  On Fox this morning, I watched in disgust as the 20 Republicans fighting for those guarantees were called ‘saboteurs’ and even ‘insurrectionists.’”

Even Donald Trump, doing himself no favors with his base, has pressured the holdouts to vote for McCarthy.  And former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has implied they should just get in line and do what the Establishment leadership tells them to do, stating that 10% of House members are “holding the 90% of their fellow Republicans hostage.”  No, this isn’t a hostage situation; this is our Constitutional Republic at work.  The 20 objectors have a right to push for changes and vote for who they think would make the best Speaker.  It’s totalitarian governments that require members to follow the party line and allow no room for dissent.

These 20 Republican holdouts are in line with the conservative base, the people they represent, who are sick and tired of the Establishment leadership aligning more with Democrats than with the conservative principles they spout, but never defend.  We’re sick and tired of massive Omnibus spending bills, pushed through by the likes of Mitch McConnell, filled with pork and Democrats’ wish lists.  We’re fed up with Republicans whose platform states they uphold the Biblical definition of marriage, but then vote for the Democrats’ ‘Dis’-Respect for Marriage Act which affirms gay marriage, opens the door to polygamy, and threatens religious liberty.

Earlier this week, Ron DeSantis was sworn in for another term as Florida’s governor, following his landslide re-election.  In his inaugural speech, DeSantis stated: “We will not allow reality, facts, and truth to become optional. We will never surrender to the woke mob.”

Establishment Republicans could learn from DeSantis’ bold leadership – but they won’t.  Conservative voters have had enough of the status quo GOP which repeatedly surrenders to woke ideology and fails to stand up for conservative principles.  Time after time the good old boy, Republican network has betrayed the voters who elected them.

And that’s what those whose refuse to fall in line with McCarthy and the continued RINO way of doing things, are trying to change.  The underlying issue is, will the Republicans in the House continue to do swamp-like politics as usual, or will they pursue changes that will allow for true conservativism in policy and legislation?  Will we have true oversight and investigations into the corruption that has occurred in the Biden administration and the FBI, or will they be merely show trials with no substance?  As Frank Gaffney pointed out in yesterday’s Secure Freedom Minute, Kevin McCarthy has ties to Communist China and, as Speaker, could neuter the oversight investigations of Communist China ties and influence within our government.

What the 20 holdouts want are changes to the current rules and policies that stifle rank-and-file members, and give all the power to an elite few.  Congressman Bob Goode laid out what some of the commonsense changes those opposing McCarthy are seeking: “We must change how Congress works in order to save our republic. This includes reforming our rules to only bring legislation to the floor that is supported by a majority of Republicans; have single-issue legislation and a minimum time to review bills before voting on them; allow representatives to offer amendments on the House floor; end the vote-buying practice of earmarks; require recorded votes; allow committee members to elect committee chairmen; and restore accountability for the speaker by reinstating the motion to vacate the chair.”

 And Congressman Matt Rosendale also expressed that they’re seeking to “restore regular order and allow every member the ability to participate in the legislative process… requiring legislation to be available for five full days before a vote, banning earmarks so votes can’t be bought, the ability to propose an amendment to legislation on the floor, and streamlined single-issue legislation to eliminate thousand-page bills.”

This is an opportunity to rein in the power held by the elites in the party.  As Frank DeVito, writing for the American Conservative explains, “the current arrangement concentrates a tremendous amount of power in the Speaker of the House and a few key committee chairmen. As the system works now, a rank-and-file member of Congress has virtually no ability to introduce a bill, propose an amendment to a bill, require recorded votes, or prevent a bill from being voted on before the members have had time to read it. We the people elect a congressman to serve our district, but unless our congressman happens to be Speaker or the chair of an important committee, that elected representative has almost no practical ability to legislate on behalf of his district. …

“When the Speaker is so powerful that he can unilaterally set the agenda, hand-pick the legislation that makes it to the floor for a vote, shut down amendments, and rush bills through the voting process at lightning speed, he has little incentive to take the time to listen to and incorporate the will of the people through their elected representatives. That is a problem no matter who holds the gavel.”

The small group of Representatives who are seeking to change this status quo by opposing Kevin McCarthy’s leadership simply want what the voters want – GOP leaders who will stand up to the swamp – not swim in it.   


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