The Speaker of the House position is up for grabs because of the projected slim Republican majority control of the House. The narrow majority throws a wrench in the Republicans in Name Only (RINO) plans to put McCarthy in as Speaker of the House when Speaker Pelosi leaves. Establishment republicans may have miscalculated in the midterms. It seems the likes of McConnell and McCarthy were banking on a giant red wave. Some argue there was one, but the votes may not have landed where they were needed. In any case, they were not as aggressive or vigilant as they should have been in places like Pennsylvania or Arizona. Instead of investing in candidates like house candidate Joe Kent in Washington, senatorial candidate Blake Masters in Arizona, or gubernatorial candidate, Tudor Dixon in Michigan, RINO money went to candidates like Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. Murkowski is about as establishment as it gets. She has repeatedly stabbed conservative non-coastal Americans in the back by often voting with Democrats on policies that matter to them.
Establishment R or Trump MAGA?
It is no secret that much of this has to do with their, in some cases, bitter dislike of Donald J. Trump. Many in the MAGA movement feel the Republican party, as it stands, not only fails to represent their cause but is actively working against them. For the first time in months, McCarthy is no longer a certainty for the speaker role. The populist movement believes wholeheartedly that, to change this country's direction effectively, the new speaker's ideology and temperament must be confidently America first and unafraid of risk and confrontation.
Former Trump OMB Chair Russ Vought, who now runs Citizens for Renewing America, says the nation needs a bold leader; "a wartime Speaker, not a peacetime Speaker." McCarthy is a "nice guy," says Russ, but he possesses neither the "ideology nor the temperament" to be the leader for this time.
Biggs: America First Agenda Candidates
By and large, the populist movement seems to care most about the economy, illegal immigration, education, parental rights, equal justice for all, no matter one's political persuasion, and freedom from crushing mandates. So many conservatives feel utterly destroyed by Biden's policies and the contingent of RINOs who want to maintain the status quo. Ideologically, the party seems to be moving away from business as usual. Many in the party believe the time has come for a speaker who will better represent the party's direction.
Several candidates have emerged. Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs is one of the more popular figures for the job. A Freedom Caucus member, Biggs has been outspoken on things that matter to many flyover country conservatives; election integrity, the border, woke ideology, and parental rights. Biggs has been one of the few to rail against the formation of the J6 Committee vocally, and he has worked behind the scenes on behalf of the J6 defendants.
In December 2020, Andy Biggs was one of a few to defend Trump's push to challenge the November election. The pressure from the establishment was unrelenting. However, he, Matt Gaetz (R-FLA), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), and a few select others stood in the breech until they could no longer hang on.
Biggs openly stated the J6 committee was illegitimate "because they violated all the rules when they set up the committee." He forcefully defended former Trump officials, saying the "committee tried to defame anyone who supports President Trump." Biggs stated at CPAC in Dallas, he has done everything possible to support J6 defendants, including hiring lawyers to defend them. He explained he is "one of about 12 people in Congress" trying to act on their behalf. Kash Patel, also present at CPAC, defended Biggs' work, saying Biggs was working quietly behind the scenes, not trying to "grab media attention." Biggs added, "There is a reason 5 of us have been targeted by the J6 Committee."
Biggs seems to understand the concerns of the American taxpayer. On woke ideology, Biggs's July 2022 proposed legislation and his attendant statement spoke to the use of taxpayer dollars abroad for woke agendas. He voted against the Inflation Reduction Act and explained why it would have the exact opposite effect on the average American.
Arizonans seem to love Biggs. One of the state's most pressing issues is its border. Drug cartels are increasingly violent and aggressive. Fentanyl is pouring across the border, killing millions of Americans. The flow of illegals is putting a tremendous burden on the state's border patrol and other governmental systems. Official numbers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through October show there were 4,113,630 "Enforcement Encounters," meaning that number does not include the "got aways." Biggs has staunchly and vocally opposed Biden's border policies, including his termination of the Remain in Mexico program and the suspension of Title 42. He says the administration's policies are causing an unprecedented national security threat. He called for the resignation and impeachment of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas for his role in allowing the unprecedented "border invasion" under Biden's watch.
Other candidates are emerging. They are Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan in Ohio, Bob Good in Virginia's 5th District, and Chip Roy in Texas' 21st. Vought believes these members have the "cartel-busting vote."
Trump and Wyoming's House seat loser Liz Cheney are also being floated. Monday's War Room featured Marjorie Taylor Greene, who made her case for keeping McCarthy. She believes he is the only realistic "unifying" candidate. Greene revealed she had heard rumors circulating that the Democrats would woo some RINOs away to vote for Cheney as speaker, thus splitting the party. She says about 20 in the conference thought Cheney did a bang-up job during the J6 Committee hearings.
Greene says she represents the "wing of the party that represents the American people" but also believes she has to stay "grounded." Anything else she says "opens the door" because of a fractured conference. She explains:
"The only way to do this is to not open the door. We cannot open the door to what the Democrats are doing right now. And that is scurrying all the way around looking for any weak RINO sellout Republican that will join them and elect their own Speaker. Because that is what's happening right now, and I find that terrifying. So I think that we have to work together in our conference and it starts today, and I'm sure there's going to be a lot of fighting going on, a lot of inner-party fighting is happening today when we're talking about the Speakers race. But there's no way in hell that I'm gonna vote to hand that gavel to Liz Cheney or anyone else Nancy Pelosi wants."
Vought countered, saying the "Cheney speaker threat is not real."
Maryland Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin made public his thoughts on Sunday's Face the Nation about the possibility of Trump being put in the speaker role. He spoke to the cognitive dissonance and fractures in the party, partly caused by the "toxic influence of Trump." Raskin believes:
"It's a real problem for Kevin McCarthy now because there are certain Pro Trumpists within his house caucus who refused to accept that he's really with Trump, and they want to get rid of McCarthy. And some of them, they have names very early in the alphabet, like Biggs. And they might just vote for Trump when they, you know, take the roll call for speakers. So we know that the hard right Freedom Caucus people are in search of another candidate. And one potential candidate whose name has been floated is Donald Trump himself. Because the Speaker of the House does not have to be a member of the House, and they are talking about putting Trump right there...
And if Trump decided he wanted to do it, it would pose a profound problem for their party because they refused to do the right thing early on. I mean, today, it seems like the spell has been broken. It's begun to dissolve. We don't have Republicans around the country claiming that they really won when it's been certified that they lost their elections. And yet there is still this "Big Lie" dogma, which, as you say, has been embraced by 150 members within their caucus. That is gonna create profound cognitive and political dissonance within the GOP. Is it really Trump's party or does it stand for something else and Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are going to force that question. They're gonna force the republicans to choose."