House Republicans predictably elected Kevin McCarthy to replace Eric Cantor as House Majority Leader today (Thursday June 19). No doubt McCarthy was looking forward to headlining the news above the fold in every mainstream publication as a result of his win but it was not to be – Scott Walker (diary by Puddytat) and Chris Christie (diary by HoundDog) vied for those headlines and it was Walker who won by a long neck.
I declare Walker the winner by virtue of the fact that the banner headline Scott Walker Involved in Criminal Scheme broke through the Republican media cone of silence in no less than 18 Wisconsin publications (diary by Billionaires for Wealthcare). That tough bubble, which had previously cocooned Walker, has finally burst and the repercussions for Walker’s campaign, though still in the early speculative stages, will inevitably be very damning.
As you can see, it's all too easy to forget McCarthy in all the drama and excitement of the Walker and Christie coverage.
McCarthy’s never cut much of a figure in the media anyway, almost always relegated to after-thought status by mainstream media and blogging pundits alike. His dream of finally landing in the spotlight were dashed against the rocks of Republican corruption today then further held under water by quotes such as this in Huff Post:
Ahead of the elections, some conservative analysts cautioned against replacing Cantor with McCarthy, arguing that Republicans were ignoring the main lesson of Cantor’s primary defeat: voters are frustrated with the current leadership in Washington.Nevertheless, rally around Canto'r pick they did. Then, of course, McCarthy’s elevation to House Majority Leader left his former position of Majority Whip vacant. That election went to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, in what was likely a sop for the Tea Partyers who were never in a position to take the House Majority Leader’s position with Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) as their candidate, or with any candidate for that matter.
"It would be bizarre if instead of going in a new direction after this stunning defeat, House Republicans just rallied around Cantor's own pick," Philip Klein wrote in The Washington Examiner. "It would be beyond tone-deaf. It would be pure absurdity."
It’s going to be a busy week for political pundits and somewhere, further down on their To Do Lists will be McCarthy and Scalise in the mix. However, it may dampen their enthusiasm for in-depth analysis given that these two are only guaranteed to keep their new positions until November, at which point House Republicans will vote on who their leadership should be for the next two years.
What happens in November to McCarthy and Scalise will be contingent on how well the Republican Party does in the general election and how well they do will be dependent on public perception of the Republican Party – which brings us right back to Scott Walker and Chris Christie. What a year it’s turning out to be!