Sunday, January 08, 2023
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I’m in my 46th year in broadcasting, and most of it is spent covering politics. I’ve seen all sorts of crazy stuff over the years, but this week’s marathon vote for the US House Speaker may beat it all. There was a lot of fanfare when we got it on , but now all that excitement and momentum can be lost. After 15 controversial votes over five days, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was finally elected by a narrow margin. It will be interesting to see how much this undermines Republican leadership and agenda going forward.Let’s “brunch” on it this week
“Leaders Lead (and also read Tea Leaves)– I have studied leadership at the master’s and doctoral level and the best phrase I have ever heard about leadership is “great leaders can see around the corner” political operatives. It’s from James Carville. In other words, they have an innate sense of what can happen, especially in the case of bad news. Consider the route of People were convinced that the Titanic was unsinkable. They didn’t have a disaster plan. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Republican), who knew that his presidency could be ruined by losing just five votes to him, was “representative” when California hit the proverbial “political iceberg”. It didn’t seem to have a “Plan B”.
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“Long term damage” – Republicans still control the House, but are once again closing in on five votes. What other issues could they lose if they can’t get the caucuses together? This sets a potentially bad “out of the box” precedent. But some are trying to put on a brave face. West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney (Republican) said: This discussion we are having will ultimately make the party healthier. I think we need to make sure it works as it did. Quite frankly, it’s about exercising appropriations and defending our country against the current Joe Biden agenda onslaught. We’ll see if fellow Republicans agree that Biden is the enemy, not McCarthy.
“Spontaneous deals are best planned in advance.” – There is a saying in politics, “Never ask for a vote until you know you have the right to vote!” In other words, do a so-called “whip count” and find out where everyone stands. If you’re 10 votes short, I’ll work on a back channel for a pet project that might close the deal. I understand. Can I help you?” or “Congressman, do you understand that your district’s colleges want to do more cancer research? What kind of grants do you need? See, at best it’s a passive form of bribery or horse trading, but that’s how it’s done in Washington DC. The classic film Lincoln shines a spotlight on DC’s business and political dealings.
“This is no joke” – There hasn’t been a battle of this kind over speakership since the Civil War. Many Democrats and even some Republicans are laughing from the sidelines, but it’s actually a very serious issue. The government is now paralyzed. Here are some of the things we can’t do without the Speaker of the House. Members of the House may not take the oath until the Speaker is elected. You cannot specify committee assignments or chair names.
“What’s the fallout for this?” Wisconsin Rep. Ron Gallagher (Republican) said: I am a member of a military committee and cannot meet at a classified intelligence facility to carry out important business,” Gallagher said at a press conference. Right now we are in a state of legislative paralysis, which must be troubling for a place like Ukraine that relies on foreign aid.
“A New Face Appears” – Often during political crises new people appear seemingly out of nowhere.Rep, Byron Donalds (R) Florida was one of the alternative candidates offered for the speakership. Donalds has just been elected to his third term after serving in the Florida House of Representatives. Donalds is an African-American Republican who once said in a campaign ad that he was “a Trump-supporting, gun-owning, freedom-loving, respectful of life, politically incorrect black man.” was He also spoke about being arrested as a young man for drug possession and deciding “by the grace of God” to put his life together. It’s a person.
“Senate Shocker” – On Thursday, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, surprised many at home and on the ring road by announcing that she would not be seeking re-election in 2024. – for another term. This is very important in the Senate’s 51-49 favor for the Democrats. Michigan has definitely gone from being “blue” to being a battleground state. Trump won Michigan in 2016, but Biden won again in his 2020.
“Too little, too late?” – The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will direct immigration officials to immediately turn away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Many will say, “Where was that order when Biden took office almost two years before him?” The amount of illegal heroin substitute fentanyl that crossed the border and killed Americans in the meantime is staggering, which is expected to become a major issue in his 2024 campaign for the White House and Congress.
Mark Curtis, Ed.D. is the lead political reporter for seven Nexstar Media TV stations serving media markets throughout West Virginia, five contiguous states and Washington, DC. He is also his MINDSETTER™ contributing political writer and analyst for www.GoLocalProv.com and its affiliates.
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