Opinion Piece By Donna Westfall – January 2, 2023
On January 3rd, a new Speaker of the House is to be selected. As many of you already know, Nancy Pelosi was the first woman ever elected to that position. She served far too long in that position with a resounding number of boasts and gaffes. She’s the 52nd Speaker and exiting that position at the age of 82. One of the most disrespectful being when she tore up President Trump’s State of the Union speech on February 4, 2020. What audacity!
Now we come into a new era with Pelosi out of that chair and out of being in position as third in line for the Presidency. All we have to worry about today is what happens if Biden is out of office and we’re stuck with Vice President, Kamala Harris? Ugh! One would hope for impeachment, but since the Democrats seem very good at holding the line, it’s success would be questionable.
We’ve seen our country go down the tubes from day one of Biden’s entry into the White House. I’m not hopeful that it’s going to get any better in 2023.
Will we have any better chance at turning our nation around with Kevin McCarthy as the 53rd Speaker of the House? Let’s take a look at the man.
Who is he?
First of all he’s a Californian serving District 23. A state that was once so great but now seeing more and more flee to other states. He was born in Bakersfield and represents District 23. I used to call Bakersfield the armpit of California. No longer. With the damage done to San Francisco by Nancy Pelosi, we now have a new armpit.
According to Wikipedia: “The current district includes parts of the southern San Joaquin Valley, the Tehachapi Mountains and southern Sierra Nevada, and the northwestern Mojave Desert. It comprises most of Kern County and portions of Los Angeles and Tulare counties. Cities in the district include Porterville, Ridgecrest, most of Bakersfield, and part of Lancaster. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of R+12, it is the most Republican district in California and the second-most Republican district in a West Coast state, behind only Washington’s 4th district.”
“Following the 2020 United States redistricting cycle, the district is anchored in San Bernardino County, and also includes parts of Kern and Los Angeles counties. It is mostly within the Mojave Desert. Cities in the new 23rd district include Victorville, Hesperia, Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Twentynine Palms, Big Bear Lake, California City, Loma Linda, Yucaipa, southern Redlands, and small portions of Highland and San Bernardino.”
The population of the 23rd district as of 2021 is approximately 771,000 with a median income of $66,000.
Compare that to our own 2nd District Congressman, Jared Huffman, with 718,000 population with median household income of $86,000 according to the 2021 US Census Data. That income hardly applies to Del Norte County which is about half that amount.
McCarthy has voted along Republican lines. Nevertheless, today’s NY Times article by Branden Buck, called it pretty accurately when he wrote that a group of Republican misfits vowed to vote against McCarthy.
Here’s why. Let’s look at his voting record. In the 117th Congress he voted against the Build Back Better Act which I renamed the Build Back Broke Act. But it passed by 220-213. He voted against Trump’s first Impeachment but it passed by 232-197. After January 6th, he voted a 2nd time against Trump’s impeachment HOWEVER he made it very public that Trump should have accepted his share of the responsibility for the violence and was in favor of censoring him. He also accepted that Biden won the election.
Just a reminder. Of the ten Republican’s that voted to impeach Trump, four retired rather than face re-election. Four lost in primaries to Trump-backed opponents. The remaining two: Rep David Valadao, narrowly won this election with 51% of the vote and here’s the background. It is said that McCarthy convinced Trump not to endorse any other challengers in the primary because of the district’s battleground status. The district has become more blue. The other Republican to win re-election having voted for Trump’s impeachment was Washington’s 4th District, Dan Newhouse.
What has to happen for McCarthy to win the vote for Speaker of the House?
218 votes to win. Usually. This could change. How? Depending upon how many don’t show up to vote.
Five conservative Republicans have vowed to not vote for McCarthy. Who are they are why are they against him?
1.) Rep Matt Gaetz of Florida.
2.) Rep Andy Biggs of Arizona
3.) Rep Ralph Norman of So. Carolina
4.) Rep Matt Rosendale of Montana, and
5.) Rep Bob Good of Virginia
In early December, they laid out their list of demands they want from the new Speaker, not specifically naming McCarthy.
- Restore any member’s ability to make a “Motion to Vacate the Chair” and force a vote on removing the Speaker. Former Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a founding Freedom Caucus member, helped propel former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) toward retirement by making a motion to vacate the chair in 2015.
- Require at least 72 hours from release of final bill text before it gets a vote on the House floor.
- Bar House GOP leadership and leadership-affiliated PACs from getting involved in primaries. The McCarthy-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund was active in many House primaries boosting McCarthy-friendly candidates in the 2022 cycle.
- Increase the number of Freedom Caucus members in committee chairmanships and on the House Rules Committee.
- Decline to raise debt ceiling without a plan to cap spending and balance the federal budget in 10 years.
- Do not “return to the blind embrace of earmarks.” The practice of directing federal spending to a specific recipient or project was brought back in this Congress as “community project funding” after a decadelong ban. The House Republican Conference last month overwhelmingly voted against an internal proposal to ban the practice.
- Use “must-pass” bills like the annual defense authorization bill and the farm bill as leverage to secure conservative priorities and “check the Biden administration.”
- Create a “Church Committee”-style panel to target “weaponized government.” While McCarthy and House Republicans have promised extensive investigations into the Biden administration and alleged politicization of federal agencies, some, like Roy, think the plans do not go far enough.
Numbers 5 and 8 have my attention. We NEED to watch that debt ceiling and start turning things around. In a single word: accountability- we don’t have it anymore. Our tax dollars are being spent for anything and everything. In today’s news, Covid money has been re-directed to pay for abortions. And then there’s our FBI that has overstepped their role in downplaying attacks and investigations against pro-life groups while prioritizing the arrests of peaceful pro-life advocates instead.
I would imagine McCarthy has been very busy these days working on concessions.
There’s a nine seat Republican majority. Let’s assume that no Democrats support him. He could still win with loosing 4-8 Republican votes. Even Trump has thrown his support behind McCarthy.
Gone are the day’s of Democrats and Republicans working together to bring our nation closer. Divisiveness seems to be the order of the day. It would take a miracle worker to turn our nation around. I don’t see McCarthy as a miracle worker but, is there anybody in the House these days that would or could fit the bill? Are there any Winston Churchill-like American politicians out there?
Tomorrow should prove to be a very interesting day.