Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Sid Salter: Hard Road Forward for McCarthy

 American citizens last week learned a new phrase in the nation’s political lexicon, one not heard 14 consecutive times on Capitol Hill since before the Civil War: “No person having received a majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname, a speaker has not been elected.”

With much dignity, House Clerk Cheryl L. Johnson recited that phrase 14 times after each failed vote on McCarthy’s path to finally winning a majority on the 15th vote. When Johnson was finally able to report the results of the 15th vote that elected McCarthy as the new speaker, the chamber gave her a standing ovation.

Without that threshold being attained, the 118th Congress could not be sworn into office, form committees, or begin the business of governing. That was the practical impact. But the political damage to the Republican Party who saw the speaker’s choice derailed by a group of backbenchers and political showmen from within their own party was nothing if not embarrassing and harmful.

The GOP rump group, a minority of around 20, could not begin to elect a speaker from their ranks. But they could block the process for the Republican House majority and force McCarthy to substantially weaken the position of speaker and his own ability to negotiate across the political aisle with Democrats moving forward.

It was the most protracted battle to elect the U.S. House Speaker since 1859 when it took 44 ballots to elect Republican William Pennington speaker – and the toughest fight since 1923 when it took GOP Speaker Frederick Gillett nine ballots to be reelected to the post.

After the 15th ballot, Johnson was able to announce: “The Honorable Kevin McCarthy of the State of California, having received a majority of the votes cast is duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.

After the four-day political bloodbath that McCarty navigated to win the speakership, McCarthy rapped the gavel and deadpanned: “That was easy, huh?”

During his time a Republican Leader, one of McCarthy’s key staffers has been 2008 Mississippi State University alumna Natalie Buchanan Joyce, a Madison native. Joyce serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Member Services for McCarthy.

In that capacity, Joyce served as a liaison between McCarthy and GOP members dealing with their chairmanship appointments and committee assignments. While serving as the GOP Leaders, McCarthy visited MSU to deliver the keynote address when former Third District U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper donated his personal and political papers to MSU’s Mississippi Political Collection in Mitchell Memorial Library.

MSU’s Mississippi Political Collections provide access to materials from national, state, and local lawmakers, politicians, activists, judges, and researchers – including the papers of the late U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis, the late U.S. Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, former U.S. Rep. Mike Espy, and a host of other policymakers.

McCarthy’s support in Mississippi’s congressional delegation breaks predictably along party lines. Not only were McCarthy’s concessions in the Speaker’s race politically costly to the operation of the House under his leadership, but they came at a time when the GOP is seeking to plot a course forward in the aftermath of the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump.

The 2022 midterm elections saw voters send mixed messages. While the predicted “red wave” in favor of the GOP failed to materialize, voters did given Republicans a means to impede the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden. With narrow Democrat control of the Senate and narrow GOP control of the House, the likelihood of the political needle moving dramatically from current policies between now and the 2024 elections are slim.

While Speaker McCarthy’s initial agenda is focused on spending cuts, increased border security and fighting so-called “woke indoctrination” - the split leadership of Congress would indicate that any real movement to the center or compromise with Democrats will be difficult if not impossible for McCarthy to navigate.

One key early indicator of McCarthy’s impact in Mississippi will be new Fourth District GOP U.S. Rep. Mike Ezell’s committee assignments.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

It’s easy for McCarthy and the Republicans. Just follow the constitution. Work for the good of the people and not the 1% and globalists. Focus on food, energy, and defending our strategic industries from China.

Stop the traitorous democrat party from stealing more of our constitutional rights!

And for the love of all that is Holy, don’t attend the WEF at Davos! It’s a really bad image!

Anonymous said...

The Republican Party is imploding, good work Donald.

Anonymous said...

I’m curious to see how Republican voters react when the people they voted for start taking away their Medicare and Social Security benefits to fund further tax loopholes for their ultra wealthy donors. Republican voters are already accustomed to voting against their own self interests, so it may be the same song and dance, but things may be different when it directly affects their livelihoods. Scary times ahead, this country is a mess with no clear direction forward.

Anonymous said...

What's your problem with a group of 20 exercising their power in a constitutional republic to force changes in how the House operates? Those changes that McCarthy could have agreed to in private put the American people's interests ahead of the speaker, the Republican party, the uni-party and the deep state (I realize there's a lot of over-lap there).

Hurray for a group of people that will stand up and fight for us! Sadly Michael Guest is a good RINO.. talks a lot but doesn't stand up for us when it counts.

BTW, the dems could have stopped the process before McCarthy caved... If 30 or so dems had voted present instead of for Jeffries, McCarthy would have been elected sooner before the rule changes were agreed to...

Thank God for the 20 and thank God the dems were not wise enough to thwart their efforts!

Anonymous said...

It doesn’t seem too hard to me. Pass a bunch of messenger bills that will die in the Senate and launch a bunch of congressional investigations that nothing will ever come from. What’s the hard part? Basically nothing will happen for the next two years. It makes you wonder what all the hoopla about taking so long to elect a speaker was about.

Anonymous said...

"But the political damage to the Republican Party who saw the speaker’s choice derailed by a group of backbenchers and political showmen from within their own party was nothing if not embarrassing and harmful." So the old saying "one person one vote" doesn't count in the house? Also, name calling is not helpful.

Anonymous said...

The Republican Party isn’t imploding. What is happening is that Uniparty is dying. The Right will no longer tolerate GOP RINOs. If you want to be a democrat then go be a democrat. Stop calling yourself a GOP Republican because you live in a majority Republican district, then going to DC and voting with the democrats.

Anonymous said...

Y’all have been trotting out that tired “the Republicans are going to take away your benefits” lie since the Reagan administration.
It doesn’t work. Give it up!

Anonymous said...

Mostly, the GOP20 killed Pelosi's power binge and returned the House to Regular Order. Additionally, they weakened the RINOs and empowered a more frugal approach to spending bills: no more omnibus pork bills, for example.
Plus, term limits will get a floor debate and vote.

Anonymous said...

January 11, 2023 at 1:12 PM, you are correct. The slow witted dems have used the repubs are pushing grandma off the cliff for forever.

The ignorance, or is it propaganda, in the article is staggering. If there isn't a way to challenging the majority in the legislation process, you have true democracy.

True democracy is simply mob rule and isn't civilized. We are a supposed constitutional republic, with democratically elected representatives.

What we saw in the speaker election process was a republic at work. Those holdouts, were exorcising the power of the people they represent. The American people are tired of electing two faced people that don't represent their views.

Anonymous said...

I believe Sid is a yellow dog socialist democrat.

Anonymous said...

Everything is going to plan. The foolishness of the Republican party will be on full display the next two years. They can nominate Trump, DeSaints or whoever, Biden and the Democrats are going to run the table in 2024.

Anonymous said...

Bless your heart.

Anonymous said...

@1:12 - so why are the Republicans in congress constantly bringing it up? You must think they are lying. Maybe you think the democrats won’t allow them to get away with it, I hope you are right.

Anonymous said...

Is that true? Or did you see it on CNN?

Anonymous said...

They could start by doing the right thing for once by exspelling Santos. The Independents and republicans with a conscious are watching.

Anonymous said...

Yes, do the right thing, like the democrats do. Everyone knows the democrat party is the moral example that leads.

Hahahahahahahaha, I couldn't type that without laughing out loud.

Anonymous said...

@4:24 - it’s actually true, thanks for verifying.

Anonymous said...

Nobody in either house or of either party has recommended 'taking away your social security and Medicare'. If you think so, post an exact quote or video.

Don't come up in here saying, "I saw it and he said it!"

Don't come up in here saying, "That's what I heard on the news!"

Don't come up in here saying, "Everybody knows that's what republicans want to do."

That exaggerated, twisted made up crap is exactly what gifts Bennie with a lifetime position in congress...All his push-people out there saying, "If you vote for them, they gone take away your benefits and stuff!"

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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