In a blistering opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal on Saturday morning, the editorial board hammered House Republicans for turning their takeover of the House in the midterms election into a circus as members battle over who will be the new Speaker.
With their slim majority margin — due in great part to the failure of the so-called “red wave” to materialize in the November midterm election — presumptive new Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is finding it impossible to get the 218 votes he needs to move on from being House Minority Leader.
As the WSJ editors point out, there is little difference in the policies espoused by McCarthy and his detractors and the battle is not only a waste of time but evidence that the House Republicans are bound and determined to screw up their success at becoming the House majority.
In a word, the editors called un-named GOP House members “dimwitted.”
After writing, “A handful of other backbenchers say they’ll also oppose Mr. McCarthy, which could lead to multiple ballots and perhaps even a Democratic Speaker,” the editors added, “What’s bizarre is that the dissenters don’t have major policy differences with Mr. McCarthy or a plausible alternative candidate for Speaker. Mr. Biggs has no chance. He and his rump group also don’t seem to have any constructive reason to oppose Mr. McCarthy beyond a desire to grab the media spotlight or blow everything up.”
They continued, “… a narrow GOP majority of only 222-213 requires a leader who can enforce party discipline. That’s how Nancy Pelosi has been able to govern with the mirror-image majority in the last two years. Too many House Republicans are too dimwitted to understand the uses of power and how to wield it. They’d rather rage against the machine to no useful effect.”
Also swept up in the WSJ editorial attack are the Republicans in the Senate who are working on an omnibus deal with the Democrats that the editors said is not helping McCarthy’s cause.
“[Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP don’t trust that Mr. McCarthy can deliver in January, or so they say. They won’t even give him the chance,” they wrote before adding, “Senate Democrats and the White House will have a united front and could roll over a divided GOP.”
The editors then lamented, “The GOP dysfunction since Election Day won’t matter if it teaches Republicans that their only chance of influencing policy is to stay united. On the evidence so far, however, Republicans are the gang that couldn’t shoot straight—except at one another.”