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HomeOpinionColumnMcCarthy described as the “biggest alligator” as he takes over the ‘swamp’

McCarthy described as the “biggest alligator” as he takes over the ‘swamp’

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

One of the right-wing members of the 118 th Congress applied that label to Rep. Kevin McCarthy during the four-day fight over picking a new Republican speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives.

Name calling and deal making aside, the California congressman finally outlasted his critics and made enough concessions to extremist views that he was elected on the 15th ballot in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

As an admitted political junkie, I watched the final vote and endured the chatter of the
CNN commentators until McCarthy declared victory with a boring speech that ended after
1:30 a.m.

Frankly, the only positive event I witnessed all night was our congressman, Hal Rogers,
getting national TV exposure as the senior member of the House when he flawlessly
administered the oath of office to McCarthy.

I was struck by the irony of a congressman who is starting his 41st year in Washington
supporting a new speaker said to favor all future congressmen and women being limited to six years in office and all senators to 12 years.

That earthshaking change would have to take the form of an amendment to the U. S.
constitution which must be passed by both houses of Congress and then ratified by two-thirds of the 50 states.

McCarthy apparently also agreed to a quick means of his own demise as speaker when
he promised to support a rule change that would allow any member of the House to sponsor a motion to oust the speaker on a simple majority vote.

The Republicans only have an 11-vote margin in the House so Speaker McCarthy will
have to be an incredible diplomat to keep at least 218 of the 435 members happy with him for the next two years.

Those hardliners who opposed him all week also want major cuts in defense spending,
including aid to Ukraine. To me, that seems foolish in view of the Russian invasion and the
growing militancy of Communist China.

Critics of big government nicknamed Washington, D.C., as the ”swamp” during the 2016
presidential election. Historians say much of the District of Columbia was a marsh when the
federal government arrived.

I predict that Speaker McCarthy won’t have long to wait to find out if he really is the
biggest alligator.

(Contact Keith at keithkappes@gmail.com)

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