Thursday, 10 May 2018 09:35

Scalise's fate as future House GOP head depends upon McCarthy, Trump, Freedom Caucus

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 scalise flagNo Speaker of the House has come from Louisiana, although we have been close. There was Hale Boggs, who was pegged for that position before being killed in an airplane crash. Then, a casualty from the Monica Lewinsky days, Bob Livingston opted not to take the seat and instead, abruptly retired from Congress.

It appears that Steve Scalise could be the state’s latest hope.  The only problem, Kevin McCarthy and possibly even President Donald Trump stand in his way since Paul Ryan will step down from that position.

As political writer and analyst Christopher Tidmore pointed out during a recent Facebook Live discussion, McCarthy is the number two man in the House, Scalise right behind him.

Tidmore said: 


McCarthy still remains the favorite to become speaker, if McCarthy can get a majority in the caucus.  

 

If McCarthy fails in the initial vote I think it will be the same as what happened with Paul Ryan, it would go to the next guy down the list. And, the next guy down the list is easily Steve Scalise, with national resume getting national attention. The one thing that is going on is that the President loves Kevin McCarthy. he likes both of them.

 

Scalise, who has had close ties with the Tea Party, who was ahead of the Freedom Caucus before becoming number three, might be helped or hurt by that same conservative organization should competition get tighter.

 

The current Freedom Caucus head, Mark Meadows, also seeks that seat. Meadows has the support, it seems, of Breitbart, a publication with close contacts with the White House.

 

Yet, also according to Axios, other than the Freedom Caucus, Meadows has limited support.

 

Meadows is far from a beloved figure outside of the Freedom Caucus. House leaders mostly loathe him and words like "sociopath" are freely used in private conversations about him. Nor has it been entirely smooth for Meadows within his own group. Two Freedom Caucus members publicly dropped out of the caucus this month. A senior GOP aide said this to Axios about Meadows' prospects for Speaker: "Meadows would never get 218 votes. Not even close. He's despised by many in our conference."

 

Timing might play a role in the vote for House Speaker. Axios also point out that Republicans don’t like the idea of a lame duck Speaker going into the midterm elections, If this is the sentiment that prevails, Ryan could call for a vote to be held some time beforehand.

 

There also might be one other major factor in the equation—the Mueller probe. Today, Vice President Pence, during an interview, said that the investigation should be wrapped up for the good of the nation.

 

The Vice President is the highest profiled and powerful position to take this stand, other than the President.  While many Republicans have made public statements about letting the investigation take its course, with the Veep giving cover, that could change. The stability of Trump’s presidency could become the looming issue that defines the potential candidates for the top position in the House.

 

Of course, regardless of political loyalty to Trump or the timing of a Speaker election, what matters most is which party controls Congress after the fall elections.

 

Should the GOP not win the House of Representatives, this speculation is still relevant as to House Majority Leader. 

And, Louisiana has not fared too well in obtaining that spot, either.

 

 

 

 

 

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