Could former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s greatest revenge upon the GOP be … quitting?
That’s at least the speculation from congressional insiders, according to a report from Axios on Wednesday.
That speculation could be backed up by an ominous photo from the California Republican’s office.
According to the online news outlet, McCarthy is privately telling his fundraisers he wants to “get the hell out.” Publicly, he may be saying the same thing, too — just in more euphemistic language.
Talking to a crowd at The New York Times’ DealBook summit on Wednesday about California’s Dec. 8 filing deadline to run in 2024, he had this to say: “I have another week or so to decide because if I decide to run again, I have to know in my heart I’m giving 110 percent. I have to know that I want to do that.”
“I also have to know if I’m going to walk away, that I’m going to be fine with walking away. And so I’m really taking this time now,” he added.
That doesn’t exactly sound like someone who’s happy with occupying a reduced role within a party, particularly after he burned quite a few bridges on the way out.
And then there was this Instagram post of McCarthy’s dogs “helping out” at the office:
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As you may notice, all that’s left there are a few framed certificates and plaques, some photos, the flag of California, a thin bookcase, an iMac, what appear to be some stadium seats (?!) and a deer’s head, mounted on the wall. And, let’s face it, even the deer looks like he’s cleaning out his desk and polishing his resume.
“Speculation over McCarthy’s potential departure escalated ahead of the Thanksgiving recess, with multiple GOP sources noting he posted a photo on Instagram in which his district office appeared to be in the process of being packed,” Axios noted.
So, how would this be revenge?
Well, consider the GOP’s slim majority in the House of Representatives, one factor in McCarthy’s ultimate downfall as speaker.
Then remember that among their numbers is the untalented Mr. Ripley, Rep. George Santos of New York, who likely will be tossed out of Congress after a scathing ethics report found that the serial fabulist grossly misspent donor funds.
Now, a vote on Santos’ fate is expected to come on Friday, and it isn’t expected to work out well, absent a last-minute decision by the Democrats to vote to keep him in Congress just for the larfs.
Thus, several GOPers told Axios they had “concerns that California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom could hold McCarthy’s seat open if he decides to resign in the new year.”
Axios also noted Republicans were concerned about McCarthy’s “awkward nature of shifting from leading the conference to being a rank-and-file member” — particularly since he doesn’t appear to have much appeal to the “rank-and-file,” either, along with the conservative members he deemed the “crazy eight” who voted to rob him of the seat.
“Some rank-and-file members voiced frustrations with McCarthy attempting to ‘kneecap’ multiple candidates that aimed to succeed him as speaker, arguing that the efforts minimized much of the sympathy he gained after the initial ouster,” Axios reported.
“The image in the rearview mirror is getting smaller by the day,” one Republican said. “I don’t think he’s having a good time being a regular Joe.”
And then there was the incident where he allegedly delivered an elbow to the kidneys of Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett, a former ally of McCarthy’s who voted against him.
So, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
On the one hand, a disgruntled former speaker hanging around in the backbenches is an unpleasant situation, and if McCarthy decides to fully transition to a lobbyist and/or the sort of professional former Republican who goes on left-bubble cable news media and talks about how wild and extreme the current crop of Republicans are, it would be better if it took place before he was able to do more damage within the party.
However, giving more power to Newsom is never something you want to see any Republican do — and with Santos’ departure all but a certainty, given how blatant and massive his con seems to have been, that’s exactly what he’s poised to do. A disgruntled Republican is still a Republican, not an empty seat.
It would be nice, of course, if McCarthy simply realized he wasn’t the man for the moment and got himself a dose of coping.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.