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McCarthy is Boxed with Santos

Post # 253, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

Is there anything Congressman-Elect George Santos said in his campaign that was truthful?

The focus in Washington the last few days has almost entirely been on the investigation into the alleged campaign lies told by Congressman-Elect George Santos (R., New York). The political blood in the water is churning as multiple investigations have been announced from the Nassau County District Attorney to the New York Attorney General. With limited news over the holidays to part and parcel, the frenzy is perhaps not surprising. But to this writer, the bigger Santos story here is the potential response from House Speaker-Maybe Kevin McCarthy (R., California).

McCarthy has been a wannabe Speaker of the House in Washington all of his adult life. That insatiable appetite for power rubs a lot of people wrong--mainly the new growing right wing power among the Republicans. They like a proven conservative that gets votes by his convictions. The really powerful in the GOP like Congressman Steve Scalise (R., Lousiana) loathe the "half in" reputation of McCarthy. Many suggest that is exactly why McCarthy cannot get the votes to become Speaker in the new Congress, and never will. But for McCarthy, cutting corners is like an unopened bottle of Wild Turkey is to a thirsty alcoholic.

Although foreign to McCarthy, this is an opportunity for "Profiles in Courage," and a chance to denounce Santos' election to the House. The thin ranks of McCarthy loyal supporters will be surprised, but pleased if Congressman McCarthy called for a full blown investigation by the House GOP, prior to seating Santos. The larger more politically virile Republican right wingers like Congressman Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) will be thrilled because his good friend, Congressman Scalise will then be elected Speaker. Jordan and Scalise believe McCarthy will never get the needed votes among the conservatives. Without such a firm commitment by the GOP House leadership, it is entirely possible that a moderate might sneak into one of the most powerful positions in the world--Speaker of the House. Because the Constittution does not require that the Speaker is a member of the House, it is possible that someone like former member John Kasich (R., Ohio), retiring member Fred Upton (R., Michigan), or retiring Governor Larry Hogan (R., Maryland). These recommendations came from respected former Senator William Cohen (R., Maine), who might also be a possible compromise appointment. The right would blow a political gasket if a moderate from either party became Speaker.

Reverting back to the person who started all this in the first place--Santos--he apparently might have broken laws if he also lied in his application to run for Congress in 2020, which he lost. If that is litigated successfully, it might force another special election which most Nassau County Republicans want anyway.

McCarthy could fail to appoint Santos to any committees in the House, which could render him without any portfolio. That drastic action could somewhat clear McCarthy's otherwise forever tarnished reputation. But most signifidant for the Republicans, it could push Santos to vote for McCarthy's opponent, and elect Scalise Speaker.

The big losers looks like McCarthy and Santos, perhaps as it should be.


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