Politics

Kevin McCarthy Suggests House Republicans Are Ungovernable, May Need To ‘Hit Rock Bottom’

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. speaks to the media about his decision not to run for nomination for House Speaker replacing John Boehner

In the wake of Rep. Kevin McCarthy withdrawing his candidacy to replace Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the California Republican speculated that the House could be ungovernable.

In a phone interview with the National Review’s Rich Lowry, McCarthy said that he would not have “enjoyed being speaker this way” and speculated the House may need to hit “rock bottom” before it can become governable.

McCarthy’s withdrawal comes after two key events: First, he received flak for publicly suggesting that the Benghazi select committee was more concerned with bringing down Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers than it was with getting to the bottom of the attack that took the lives of four Americans. Such remarks drew criticism even from conservatives. Second, the House Freedom Caucus — a small but dogged collection of ultra-conservative congressmen — uniformly endorsed Rep Daniel Webster (R-FL), a second-term congressman, over McCarthy. Without this group, McCarthy was sure to lose the election, so he withdrew. He will, however, remain in his current role as House Majority Leader, meaning he is still in charge of governing this ungovernable group.

Rep. Pete King (R-NY) agreed that the House is indeed in disarray.

The Freedom Caucus has made life extremely difficult for the current speaker, as it forced a government shutdown in 2013 and has threatened another this year over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Boehner’s attempts to crack down on rebels were unsuccessful, and he ultimately decided he would rather resign than continue to try to hold the Republican caucus together.

Now it’s entirely unclear what could happen. Boehner could stay on until the matter gets settled.

Or perhaps House Republicans will look further afield than current members of the House of Representatives — or even people who currently hold public office.