Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) became the first House Speaker ever to be voted out of the position this week, plunging the House of Representatives into disarray and uncertainty.
McCarthy's tumultuous relationship with House Republicans' right flank came to a head on Monday when Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) filed a motion to vacate, initiating a vote to forcibly remove McCarthy from the speakership. During the vote on Tuesday, House Democrats joined eight Republicans to oust McCarthy from his position.
Media outlets across the spectrum spent the week eulogizing McCarthy's short tenure. For many left-rated voices, McCarthy's removal was the inevitable outcome of the concessions he made to the party's more conservative members in January to win the speakership. Right-rated voices often criticized Gaetz's actions while blaming Democrats equally for the turmoil.
Only eight Republicans voted to oust McCarthy. It was House Democrats' complete support for the motion to vacate that achieved the majority. Had Democrats opted to not entertain the motion and vote 'present,' McCarthy would still have the gavel.
This sparked the big question in opinion sections across the spectrum this week: Did McCarthy deserve to be saved by House Democrats?
The general consensus among left-rated voices was a resounding "no." From his flip-flopping regarding Donald Trump's role in the January 6 Capitol riot to his recent call for an impeachment probe into President Joe Biden, McCarthy's recent track record didn't garner him much sympathy in left-rated outlets.
Regardless of whether McCarthy deserved to be bailed out by Democrats, is his removal in the best interest of the American people? According to Matt Lewis (Center bias), Democrats "prioritized partisanship and ‘tradition’ over doing the right thing," opting to fan the flames of chaos instead of smothering them.
If not McCarthy, then who? That's the question many right-rated voices are grappling with. Regarding Gaetz's impassioned argument on the House floor Tuesday arguing to remove McCarthy, Michael Brendan Dougherty (Lean Right bias) wrote, "A great moral crusade for running the House’s business more transparently and balancing the books only works if you have the soldiers to wage it effectively. Without that, it’s just empty moral vanity."
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Snippets from the Center
"Without an elected House speaker, Congress will not be able to hold votes and bills cannot be brought to the floor. This means nothing can be done with border security, Ukraine funding or government spending until an election is held. However, committees can still meet and congressional hearings can continue."
"Although Dems aren’t to blame for this chaos, they have a moral obligation to strive for the best outcome for America, and—based on the likely alternatives—Speaker McCarthy is probably as good as it gets. Yes, this would mean they would have to go the extra mile and be the adults in a fraught situation. But isn’t it possible that Democrats would be rewarded for owning the adult brand?"
Snippets from the Left
"Speaker McCarthy isn’t exactly a hero or an admirable person. He has thrown his support behind Trump, gone after Biden without evidence and for political gain, and caved time and again to the far-right wing of his party. He’s hardly a reasonable Republican. But he does at least appear to be grounded and interested in governing, not showboating. Gaetz, on the other hand, seems interested in a toxic combination of attention and destruction."
"If Democrats were to save him, it would just have been out of the rapport they had with him or for the sake of avoiding throwing the House into the chaos that now consumes it. Instead, Democrats said that the McCarthy they knew and liked from his days about a decade ago, when he held a junior GOP leadership post, had become unrecognizable compared with the man who gave in to so many hard-right demands."
Snippets from the Right
"Asked whom he would support as the next speaker, Gaetz says that there are more than 100 Republicans that would suit him; that the caucus deserves 'someone better' than McCarthy. Maybe. But 'someone better' is not an answer. It’s little different from 'I have nobody.' A great moral crusade for running the House’s business more transparently and balancing the books only works if you have the soldiers to wage it effectively. Without that, it’s just empty moral vanity."
"Traditional partisanship—one focused on policy goals, or even McCarthy’s old fashioned fixation on winning elections—wasn’t as offensive to Democrats as his willingness to elevate some of the most destructive voices in American politics to keep his grip on power. McCarthy has had friendships and jovial camaraderie with lawmakers from both parties since his election to the House in 2006. But to the bitter end, as he sought to hold onto his leadership position, he practiced a politics of grievance and prideful partisanship."