Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Secret Ballots

San Jose, CA- Tomorrow, in the chambers of the Republican Caucus in The House of Representatives, the secret balloting will begin on who will replace John Boehner after his surprise resignation from being Speaker of the House. This is sort of like the primaries, with the general election happening later on, with the full House, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

The winner of the secret ballot will most likely have the near-universal backing of the Republicans later on when the full house votes. However, even though upon emerging from the War Room the house GOP will probably be an almost united front, for the time being the battle will rage behind close doors.

There are three candidates to succeed Boehner to the third highest office in the land. The winner will be two heart beats away from the presidency, and all the power that that entails. The candidates are the Heir-Apparent Kevin McCarthy, from the 23rd district of California. He has already gotten himself into trouble over comments about politicizing the Benghazi Hearings concerning Hillary Clinton's possible mistakes and errors in her handseling of that situation.

The second one is Jason Chaffetz, from Utah's 3rd district. He has his own battle with the Secret Service after that embattled group leaked information that he tried to join the Service several years ago before being turned down. Chaffetz has said he does not expect to win. Daniel Webster from Florida's 10th district rounds out the numbers. He has very little support.

In the early 1990s, when Newt Gingrich was speaker, the office was powerful, as Gingrich was almost considered by some a second US President. He had massive clout, causing Clinton huge headaches. Even with a Democratic President, the Speaker then was able to not only keep Clinton from getting a good deal of what he wanted, but also to pass legislation Republicans desired.

In the years since then however, the office has fallen into disrepair. Boehner has been barely visible, and unable to work with the media to get his message across. None of the candidates look to be much of an improvement on Boehner, and McCarthy, who will probably succeed him, is already embattled.

The dream candidate would perhaps be someone like Paul Ryan, with large name recognition, progressive, pro-life, fiscally responsible conservative principles, real ideas as to what needs doing and with an obvious knack for working the media. But Ryan isn't running, of course, McCarthy Webster are. Ryan should run, but its unlikely he will. McCarthy now needs to be certain that Ryan is on the new leadership team, and that the modern Republican Party is represented. That is a lot to hope for from a man who seems to think he lives in House of Cards, and at one time locked the doors of his California office, (the office which was supposed to be open to the public) because he didn't want anyone who disagreed with him talking to him.

McCarthy is a Republican from California, not only an endangered species, but also not the heartiest and most progressive group of the Republican Party. One can only hope that he becomes betters once he gets in, but that is a lot to ask for. At best, he won't get any worse.

Andrew C. Abbott

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