The sudden decision Thursday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to withdraw from the speaker’s race thrust congressional Republicans into chaos and left the contest wide open, with a crowd of lesser-known players jockeying for power and rank-and-file members fretting that the political unrest on the hard right that drove McCarthy and House Speaker John A. Boehner away from the position has left the party unmanageable in the lower chamber.
Conservatives seized the moment as McCarthy made his exodus, celebrating the departure of one of the GOP’s moderates and fastest-rising stars — and pledging to push for one of their own, a hard-liner on fiscal and social issues, to step forward in the coming weeks before the leadership elections are rescheduled. McCarthy’s associates, many hailing from mainstream Republican districts, urged caution and began efforts to draft another centrist Republican to succeed Boehner (Ohio).
As I write this, it isn't 100% clear why McCarthy withdrew.
Was it his comments undercutting the Benghazi committee?
An alleged affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)?
Or was he sincere when he indicated in his withdrawal announcement that it's time for a "new face" in leadership?
All of the above?
Meanwhile Boehner, who was probably looking to enhance his tan in Florida within the next month, will stay on as House Speaker for the immediate future. That alone inspired all sorts of internet memes.
Boehner must be smoking somewhere right now all like, "Seriously Bruh I don't need this .."— Ed Henry (@edhenry) October 8, 2015
Perhaps the most telling line of how this has devolved into a carnival? Both the names of Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have been floated as candidates for Speaker.
Maybe House of Cards was biographical after all.