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The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The Student News Site of Albuquerque Academy

The Advocate

The GOP’s Speaker Disaster

House Republican chaos proves they aren’t fit to lead.
Brighton Ludwig ’25

In the weeks since House Republicans ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, one thing has been clear – they can’t govern.

Before I elaborate on the GOP’s most recent paralysis, let’s discuss how we got here. Last November, voters narrowly elected a Republican House majority, breaking the slim Democratic control of Congress that had been in place since 2021. The result was still largely a disappointment for Republicans, who failed in their bid to take back the Senate and lost holds on governorships in Arizona, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Nonetheless, top Republicans expressed high hopes that their new majority would advance conservative priorities like border security, deficit reduction, and energy production. It seemed as if Republican control might emerge as a unified and formidable voice in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election.

And then came day 1.

On January 3rd, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy entered into what should have been an easy vote to win the speakership. After all, exactly two years earlier, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi clinched re-election in the first round of voting, despite having the same slim 222-213 majority enjoyed by McCarthy – all while navigating the complex attendance maze brought on by COVID-19. But it wasn’t meant to be. McCarthy only won the vote after 15 rounds of voting – something that wasn’t only a massive embarrassment, but a historic anomaly. To find another speaker election that took so long, one must go back to 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

Republicans have plunged into figurative fistfights inside the House and literal fistfights outside the House

— Abhishek Narahari

The fact alone that McCarthy had to wrangle individual members of his caucus by giving them outlandish promises is highly unusual and shows that the GOP truly isn’t guided by a set of ideals, but rather a collection of personal desires for fame and power.

In that vein, throughout the last 11 months, we’ve seen increasingly ludicrous examples of such Republican attention-seeking. For instance, McCarthy reportedly made a series of concessions to Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz – including the ability for just one House member to initiate a motion to vacate the speakership – which was ironically invoked to remove McCarthy just months later.

Fellow Floridian Rep. Byron Donalds reportedly tried to get a larger office in exchange for casting his vote for McCarthy in January.
And after she voted to remove McCarthy in October, South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace garnered press attention by wearing a “scarlet letter” T-shirt – with a blood-red “A” placed prominently in its center – and then using it as a fundraising pitch hours later. Increasingly, members of the GOP seem to favor social media hits over matters of governance.

Though short, McCarthy’s speakership exhibited consistent dysfunction, such as when the country’s finances were brought to the brink twice in a matter of months – once with the debt ceiling and again with government funding. He repeatedly delayed votes to raise the federal debt ceiling, nearly risking a catastrophic default. Then, just a few months later, his party very nearly shut down the government, as members of the House GOP struggled to unite over how much they wanted to cut spending. Both of these risky ploys were cheered on by the far right; though, as we now know, it still wasn’t enough for McCarthy to keep his job.

In the end, he was removed from office because a handful of ultraconservatives felt betrayed by McCarthy, claiming he had promised to place steep cuts to social programs into any economic package and insisting that even a temporary shutdown-aversion bill without those cuts was unacceptable.

[House Republicans] are clearly unfit to lead.

— Abhishek Narahari

In other words, they decided to plunge the House into chaos because Speaker McCarthy failed a far-right purity test.

And while Republicans may have a new Speaker now – the notoriously Conservative Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana – the fact that it took nearly three weeks and four nominees to name him as McCarthy’s official successor showed the disunity still present in the party today.
Moreover, in just the few short weeks since he took the gavel, House Democrats have already been forced to bail out Speaker Johnson in his attempts to keep the government open. Just as in McCarthy’s final days, Democrats provided the votes to avoid a shutdown when it became clear that there were not nearly enough Republican votes to pass it alone, despite them holding the majority.

Meanwhile, House Republicans have plunged into figurative fistfights inside the House and literal fistfights outside the House – like when Former Speaker McCarthy reportedly punched Rep. Tim Burchett, who voted to oust McCarthy, in mid-November.

Long story short, Republicans are so incredibly divided that they are unable to effectively control the one organ of government that they were elected to lead. While House Democrats repeatedly offered to form “unity” coalitions to re-open the House, the GOP spent nearly a month in total chaos just choosing their leader and managed to bring our country dangerously close to financial catastrophe on multiple occasions in just the last year.

They are clearly unfit to lead.

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About the Contributors
Abhishek Narahari '24
Abhishek Narahari '24, News Co-Editor
Abhishek is a deeply engaged member of the Albuquerque Academy community, part of several government and politics-focused clubs and activities. For the 2023-2024 school year, he will be the President of the Student Senate, and regularly takes part in Model UN and Youth and Government. He has been writing articles since freshman year, almost exclusively focused on politics, covering everything from President Joe Biden to Congress, the United Nations to the New Mexico state Legislature. Over the next year, as news editor, he will use his rich experience in reporting on politics to help inform the Academy community about the latest developments that they need to know about.
Brighton Ludwig ’25
Brighton Ludwig ’25, Photography, Video, and Social Media Editor
Brighton Ludwig ‘25 is the Albuquerque Academy Advocate's photography, video, and social media editor. He joined our staff last year as a staff photographer, and now works hard to develop the section as our first ever photo editor. When taking photos, he sticks with his beloved Lumix camera, and can often be found out playing tennis on our school’s varsity team, volunteering in the Dot Garden, singing in Bel Canto, or managing the Advocate’s instagram account.

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