The scorpion strikes: Still speaker-less after 11 votes

Clearly nobody taught Kevin McCarthy and the rest of the establishment GOP the lesson of the frog and the scorpion.

It would be funny if it was a plot on a modern West Wing, but it just seems like a harbinger of more problems to come. After 11 tries, the U.S. House of Representatives has failed to appoint a speaker, due to in-fighting and extortion from the most extreme wing of an already extreme party.

A bloc of Republicans is blocking Kevin McCarthy from taking the gavel and moving on with the business of the House, because… well, they just seem to want to watch him twist in the wind and continue demanding concessions.

In a better world, the “mainstream” Republicans would reach a deal with Democrats and freeze this group completely out of power. No committee seats, no voice in legislation – sideline them for two years and primary them out.

We do not, it has to be said, occupy a better world. It’s lightly amusing watching McCarthy twist in the wind, and I hope voters remember this dysfunction in two years’ time when they have a chance to set the balance of power again.

If the GOP as a whole had any interest in power for anything other than power’s sake, they’d use this opportunity to reset and move away from the clown car caucus and try to start putting us back on a path to normal. It might mean sacrificing power for a few years without the extremists, but in the long-run they’re giving up power to the extremists anyway. If that’s not painfully obvious to McCarthy and the remainder of the party, they’ll have more opportunities to figure it out as time goes on.

Any scenario where this group walks out of holding the House hostage for the better part of a week (so far) with more they started is just inviting further disruption down the road. It’d be better for the GOP to hand the speaker’s gavel to the Dems than be beholden to Gaetz and company, because they absolutely will sting the rest of the GOP again and again and again to get what they want or just to gum up the works because it’s fun.

Pretending that they have any good intentions for running the government is dangerous. This is a golden opportunity to cut off their oxygen supply and reset, if only the GOP would take it.

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