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With a straight face, McCarthy says GOP ‘learned how to govern’

Kevin McCarthy would have Americans believe that Republicans "learned how to govern" through a ridiculous, chaotic, and unresolved fight for speaker.


As the House prepared to hold its 14th vote this evening on the race for speaker, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill that his conference is poised to resolve this fiasco “once and for all.”

That’s certainly possible. But once that happens, and this fiasco is behind us, how in the world will the GOP-led House be able to govern? When this question was posed to McCarthy, he offered a curious response.

“See, this is the great part. Because it took this long, now we learned how to govern. So now we’ll be able to get the job done.”

If you’re wondering whether the California Republican managed to say this with a straight face, he did. There’s video.

To be sure, to borrow McCarthy’s word, we learned quite a bit this week. We learned that the House Republican conference is fractured and directionless. We learned that McCarthy — who may or may not yet prevail — lacks the trust of a significant number of his own members. We learned that McCarthy has few core principles, and is entirely comfortable pursuing power for the sake of power.

We learned that radicalized GOP members can push their leaders around and be rewarded for it. We learned that the concessions they received in response to their tantrum will make legislating even more difficult for the remainder of the 118th Congress.

We learned that this post-policy party is heavily invested in performative displays, but it barely even pretends to have an interest in the substance of governing. We learned that Americans should expect little more than chaos and crises so long as this crew is in the majority.

We learned that the House Republican conference struggled with a vote that was supposed to be easy in ways no conference has since the dawn of the modern two-party system in the United States. We learned that the next two years will be long, painful, exasperating, and occasionally dangerous.

But the idea that GOP lawmakers “learned how to govern” by way of a humiliating display is plainly absurd.