Political Animal


June 11, 2014 11:32 AM Meanwhile, Back in the House

By Ed Kilgore

If you are interested in how Eric Cantor’s defenestration last night affects the House GOP leadership structure, WaPo’s Robert Costa has a report from the middle of last night, where he found wheels turning and turning in leadership offices as trial balloons were lofted and schemes were dreamed.

I admit I had to put my head down on the table and rest it for a few moments in the middle of reading Costa’s piece. It’s difficult to follow the tribal allegiances and ancient feuds of the House barons he wrote about as potentially harboring the lust for a larger office. It does appear, however, that one basic scenario is for a Boehner-generated “freeze in place” of all leadership positions until after the elections, keeping Cantor (and himself) in a status of mummified dignity. Another is to get Cantor out of town like an unpleasant odor as quickly as possible, promote Kevin McCarthty to the Majority Leader position, and then hold a brisk election for Whip that may also have the byproduct of giving Tea Party backbenchers more input with the leadership. Either route, it seems likely, will paralyze significant legislative activity.

So don’t hang on to your hats. It won’t be a wild ride.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


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