McCarthy May Have a Political 'Superpower'

He actually likes and wants his job, argues op-ed, helping make him the best GOP speaker in decades
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2023 8:52 AM CDT
McCarthy: Best GOP Speaker in Decades?
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks at a news conference after the House passed the debt ceiling bill at the Capitol on May 31, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A story at the Hill on Monday suggests that Kevin McCarthy's hold on his job as House speaker is shaky over the debt-ceiling deal. The gist is that members of the House Freedom Caucus on the right think McCarthy didn't strike a hard enough bargain, and at least a few are threatening to force a vote to strip him of the gavel. For example: "The discussion about the motion to vacate is going to happen in the next week or two,” says Rep. Frank Buck, who says his Colorado constituents are "furious" at McCarthy. But another narrative about McCarthy also is in play—that he's pretty good at his job.

The media is hyper-focused on McCarthy's critics within the GOP and missing the bigger picture, writes Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon. McCarthy, he asserts, "is shaping up to be the most effective House GOP leader in decades." One key reason for this is that the speaker has what Continetti describes as a "superpower"—he "likes and wants his job—a rarity for the GOP." McCarthy has been underestimated from the start, but he is "the rare Republican who both understands and is satisfied by the role he's been given and the responsibilities it entails. He wants nothing more nor less. And he's winning."

In the New York Times, Ross Douthat has a similar take, noting that McCarthy wisely invited "some of the bomb throwers" (think Marjorie Taylor Greene) into positions of leadership, thus "giving them a stake in governance." He agrees with Continetti's view that McCarthy enjoys his job, particularly the "actual vote-counting, handholding work required of his position," adding that he lacks "both Gingrichian egomania and get-me-out-of-here impatience." Douthat also asserts that McCarthy syncs well with President Biden as they both have an "institutional" approach to how things should work in DC. (More Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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