But if not, the debate will be vigorous, not personal.
Kevin McCarthy was elected as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on the 15th ballot late Friday night (Wisconsin time). Six holdouts voted present, thereby lowering the winning threshold to 216 to Hakeem Jeffries’ 212. After an nearly physical tussle between the execrable Matt Gaetz and Mike Rogers of Alabama. In a rare instance of common sense, Blaska was beddie bye at that unholy hour like many of you, we suspect. But we caught up this morning with the Speaker’s address to the House upon election at 12:15 our time and must say, it is one of the finest addresses we have encountered. It deserves be shared.
McCarthy vowed that the Republican-dominated House would conduct its business in full view of the American public. (One wonders why was the news media complicit in congressional secrecy — until one remembers their partisanship.) Congress, McCarthy promised, would wield the “power of the purse and of the subpoena” to unravel the bug-out in Afghanistan and the origins of Covid. It would hold hearings at the porous Mexican border because “answers are not always found in Washington.” It would defund the Democrats’ additional 87,000 IRS agents because government should help people, not hurt them. It will explore the political weaponization of the FBI — which as great a threat to our democracy as anything that happened on January 6, 2021.
Beyond the litany of to-do’s, McCarthy analyzed the famous painting that hangs in the Capitol — a picture of a general who, to that point, knew only defeat: George Washington crossing the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776 on the way to the nascent nation’s first victory. The new Speaker drew attention to the others in the boat — among them a Scotsman, an African-American, a woman, a farmer, and a native American. Historically accurate? Probably not. But very much resonant with the aspirations of a new nation, McCarthy said.
McCarthy may be California, but his California is not San Francisco or L.A. but hard-working, unglamorous Bakersfield in the agricultural Central Valley, a country-western music shrine indebted to Buck Owens, whom McCarthy quoted. Destination of the Great Depression Oakies. He closed by saying that one thing to know about the new Speaker, “I don’t give up easy.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line: We cannot understand the hardheads in Wisconsin who suspect Kevin McCarthy and WI Assembly Speaker Robin Vos as, somehow, secret Democrats. (Some, like Bill Elmhorst, even blame McCarthy for the loss of the Senate and Vos for Tim Michels’ crash and burn in the governor’s race!) Nor are the 15 roll calls to elect the Speaker near the disaster the MSNBC pundits wish it were. What will be remembered is if Republicans can perform good governance. If words matter (and do they ever!) America is off to a great start!