Leadership End Game: Anyone but McCarthy

By the end of this week we will know if there is any constructive purpose to the existence of the House Freedom Caucus. If they can’t block the less articulate version of John Boehner from ascending to the speakership they as might as well close up shop.

As we noted last week, the problems with the Republican Party run far deeper than the woes of John Boehner. They certainly will not be solved with this leadership election. But one thing is clear: The GOP base is demanding a change in course, and simply promoting another rung of repudiated leaders—the deputy arsonists of Boehner’s five-year inferno—up one notch on the totem pole will not satisfy those demands. An outcome that allows McCarthy and Scalise, baggage and all, to climb the ladder of leadership is unacceptable.

So what is the end game? There are, after all, only a few dozen conservative members and they lack the votes to elect one of their own to the speakership.

Conservative members must understand that this was never about electing one of their own. It’s about using their leverage to overrule the next in line and force a complete change in leadership, however imperfect the new candidates might be. With more than 30 members committed to opposing McCarthy, the House Freedom Caucus can use its leverage to veto this colossal mistake.

It is quite clear that McCarthy will garner well over 124 votes in the conference election on Thursday, securing a majority of the GOP conference in support of his election on the House floor. But given that all the Democrats will presumably vote for Pelosi, if all of the Republicans who vote for Jason Chaffetz or Daniel Webster in conference commit to doing the same on the House floor, McCarthy will be denied the majority. This will have the effect of delaying the election and adding another dimension of significance to this race. As conservatives, we all understand that choice and competition perfect the outcome, and by making it clear that the“next in line” is unacceptable, the Freedom Caucus can open the door for even more candidates to toss their hats in the ring, lay out their vision for the House and what issues are important to them. A drawn out speaker election, no matter the ultimate result, is a win for conservatives who wish to be heard.

At this point, chaos is our best friend. No conservative believes that we are one leadership election from the Promised Land. What ails this party cannot be cured without electing a principled and fearless conservative to the presidency. But for now, the least we can do is elect a vanguard until 2017, someone who will focus on issues conservatives care about and who does not owe his position to the existing corrupt system, but to the conservatives who created a path for an unlikely upstart.

Some conservatives believe Kevin McCarthy will toss them a few bones as it relates to “process” rules in return for obtaining their support. But how could the man who artfully worked the existing system to his advantage—who thrives off the power structure we seek to upend—ever work for us?

What sort of insanity has possessed those who would give McCarthy and Scalise, the very leaders who shepherded the Planned Parenthood funding through the House, an immediate promotion?

House conservatives were elected for a reason and it’s time for them to use their leverage to fulfill the mandate from their constituents to change leadership. If they think McCarthy qualifies as change they will learn the hard way from their voters that he is merely a cloddish version of everything they despise in Washington. (For more from the author of “Leadership End Game: Anyone but McCarthy” please click HERE)

Watch a recent interview with the author below:

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.