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Will the 1923 record be beaten?

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 am, January 5th, 2023 - 86 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, us politics - Tags: ,

Been watching C-SPAN in the US House of Representatives trying to elect a speaker. Last time that there was more than one vote to get a speaker was in 1923. This figures, the author of this political madness, Donald Trump seems to be a law and tax evading crook worthy of the 1920s or 1930s US.

Trump actively worked to get rid of the Republicans who voted for his impeachment, thereby ensuring that a small minority have the votes to prevent McCarthy’s election as speaker. McCarthy helped with that. It looks like tactic has bitten him in the arse.

In December 1923, at the start of the 68th Congress, Republican Frederick H. Gillett needed nine ballots to win reelection. Progressive Republicans had refused to support Gillett in the first eight ballots. Only after winning concessions from Republican conference leaders (a seat on the House Rules Committee and a pledge that requested House rules changes would be considered) did they agree to support him.[30][31]

wikipedia: “Speaker of the United States House of Representatives – History – Notable Elections

I guess the question now is how many more votes will be required, and if the 1923 record will be exceeded.

Political sport on C-span

86 comments on “Will the 1923 record be beaten? ”

  1. lprent 1

    Steven Colbert violates a new years resolution

  2. lprent 2

    Back at 8pm us eastern standard time for the next game. Roughly 2pm?

    A 7th vote will be the game.

    The prize is being able to open the house of representives 118th session. They can't swear in representatives or start voting for anything else until that happens.

    I suspect that the ongoing backroom dealing is intense.

  3. Macro 4

    I'm sure the 1923 number of 8 votes will be exceeded – but are the willing to go on to the 1856 total of 133!?

    Just as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was unable to secure the 218 votes needed to become Speaker, former Rep. Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts was unable to round up enough support in the 1856 contest to lead the chamber. It ended up taking two months and 133 rounds of voting to determine that contest.

    One of the main sticking points for McCarthy is the "motion to vote"

    They also want to increase their leverage on McCarthy. One key point of contention has been a procedural question called the “motion to vacate,” which allows for an up or down vote on whether the position of speaker should be declared vacant and a new vote held. This was used by Republican rebels in 2015 to force out then-Speaker John Boehner. At the time, any individual member could force a vote on this question. Boehner was managing a fractious House GOP conference then, albeit with a far larger majority than Republicans have now.

    Under House Democrats, the House rules were changed so that only party leaders could offer the motion. McCarthy’s critics want to return this precedent. With Republicans holding a nominal majority of five in the House, the motion to vacate threat functions as a sword hanging over any speaker. It means that a mere handful of Republicans would have the leverage to oust McCarthy from the speakership at any moment. Needless to say, McCarthy had been dead set against this. However, a recent offer he made to win critics was to lower the threshold to five for a motion to vacate. In other words, five members would have to jointly offer the motion to force a vote.

    But even more fundamental to their inability to function as a collective is the far rights inability to perceive the fact that the very slim majority the Republicans have in the House does not, and will not, give them the power to overturn all the progressive moves of the past two years (and there have been quite a few in the past two year – despite the naysaying of a few ultra- progressives). They simply do not have the numbers. Again from the Vox article linked to above – what the Republicans think of these radical Right machinations:

    Most rank-and-file Republicans are not happy. Speaking to reporters before the vote on Tuesday, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) said of McCarthy’s critics, “[I]t was all about controlling the committees and trying to fundamentally put people in positions where they can raise more money. This has nothing to do with bettering our country.” She described those willing to vote against the Republican leader as “the radical 2 percent.” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) expressed frustration that this could delay Republicans from getting started trying to pass their agenda as well. “You really have to go out of the gates fast in that first quarter to have an effect … so there’s no time to waste right now.”

    • lprent 4.1

      Hilarious. Was that the Know-Nothing political party period?

      Seems about right. Maybe not – they split and bombed in 1856 and never recovered.

      • Macro 4.1.1

        Yes. Banks was elected 10 times to Congress under a number of different political "allegiances"

        During his 10 terms in the House, Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts was elected under the banner of a number of parties: Democrat, American, Republican, and as an Independent.

        The Democrats took back control of the House at the 1857 election

        Banks, a member of both the nativist American (or “Know-Nothing”) Party and the Free Soil Party, served a term as Speaker before Democrats won control of the chamber in the 35th Congress (1857–1859). Banks retired from the House to serve as governor of Massachusetts.

  4. lprent 5

    Economist: "What the Kevin McCarthy saga means for America’s Congress"

    While this was going on, Democrats lined up in an orderly fashion behind Hakeem Jeffries, a moderate Democrat from New York. After his elevation to Minority Leader-elect, Mr Jeffries said po-faced things about the chaos on the other side being a sad day for democracy, while his colleagues tittered at the McCarthy spectacle. If they were less concerned with extracting partisan advantage, Democrats might settle on some sensible Republican to back as Majority Leader and hope that a few Republicans could support the same candidate. There is no constitutional reason why the moderates in both parties could not club together, seize control of the legislative agenda and tell the extreme wings of their parties to lump it. Alas, party discipline, tribal loyalty and the threat of primary challengers combine to make this impossible. Instead, Republicans will struggle on until they have a Speaker.

    A weakened Speaker will make it even harder for Congress to pass contentious legislation this year. One beholden to the House Republicans’ berserker caucus could find it difficult to avoid a government shutdown, to raise the debt ceiling or to provide additional support to Ukraine’s armed forces. This comes after Congress had been on a winning streak, reforming the process for certifying elections and reaffirming gay marriage as the law of the land in 2022. Even divided Congresses can sometimes accomplish quite a lot. But this one is setting out with lead weights attached to its boots.

    Basically the strategy that Sacha linked to earlier.

    • Craig H 5.1

      For some reason, only the Democrats have agency.

      • lprent 5.1.1

        The democrats have been consistently voting in unison – including nay on the adjournment.

        The republicans have been consistently not in unison. Not even in the adjournments votes.

        Looks like a huge amount of republican political groping going on. It will be interesting to see if McCathy can bride 'convince' a few more members of his party to join in reluctantly voting for him.

        I suspect that he will eventually succeed – but only after some of the hold-outs have more time on TV talk shows raising their profile and securing more campaign funding and support.

        • Craig H

          I ran into Murc's Law a few years ago, that "only the Democrats have agency or causal influence over politics" to quote that article. My impression of the Economist's article is that it is written from that perspective i.e. only the Democrats have the agency to help the Republicans govern, rather than just sticking to the obvious point that the Republicans can't even elect a Speaker even though that's one of the big prizes for getting a majority.

  5. Maurice 6

    Just the glorious way a Constitutional Republic opperates (I hesitate to say "works" …)

    With the 1.7Trillion Dollar Omnibus Bill passed days ago the US Government is funded for another seven months so they can last out till July without any more funding being required.

    Might be a very large new record!

  6. lprent 7

    And they're back in the house.

  7. lprent 8

    Adjoined for a second day until noon tomorrow EST.
    Adjoinment vote – 216-214

    6am NZDT.

  8. lprent 9

    Comments after the fact on youtube are amusing if you’re into satire…

  9. Macro 11

    The media are unimpressed. Some reactions to what was always going to happen.

    • Behind the humiliation of Kevin McCarthy. “The GOP has gone from being a disciplined party of limited government to a party of anti-government protest to, now, a party of performative verbiage.” (New Yorker)
    • House shitshow has a message for America: GOP can’t govern and doesn’t want to. “As Kevin McCarthy reaps the whirlwind, let’s hope voters understand this chaos was never really about Donald Trump.” (Salon)
    • Kevin McCarthy’s loyalty to Trump got him nothing. “The once-presumptive House leader has been through three embarrassing rounds of voting, with more to come.” (The Atlantic)
    • “Circular firing squad” derails GOP in new Congress. “Senate Republicans see chaos across the Capitol as an ominous sign as the party tries to regroup for 2024.” (Politico)
  10. joe90 12

    Who'd want to be next.

  11. SPC 13

    Side note is Boebert did not inform a member of the Freedom Caucus, Green, about their plans.

    The Freedom Caucus wants to cut Social Security (just has the biggest increase ever because of inflation) and Medicare and form a committee to investigate government (people in government) as occurred back in the 70's after Watergate.

    Trump does not want to be associated with Social Security and Medicare cuts (which the current Senate and Biden would block) pre 2024 election.

  12. Maurice 14

    The Speaker of the House does not necessarily need to be one of the elected members …

    Perhaps someone should nominate Kari Lake …. she needs a government job


    Be almost worth it to see the look on Old Nan's face wink

  13. DB Brown 15

    Biden and McConnell showing bipartisanship is as simple as getting on with doing your job.


  14. Adrian Thornton 16

    All this makes clear is that there is a highly motivated and operational, independent Right Wing faction within the Republican party that is willing to use it's leaverage to get what it was sent there to do by it's voters, and if that means saying fuck you to the establishment of their party, so be it…good on them, this is exactly how politics should be done.

    Which also highlights the fact that there is no serious Left Wing movement with any back bone within the Democratic Party…and how really deeply pathetic and only performative The Squad are.

    Here is Matt Gaetz saying that both parties are corrupt and Kevin McCarthy to his face, that he has sold parts of himself to corporate lobbyist…can anyone imagine AOC doing this to Pelosi, one the most corrupt….of course not.

    • Craig H 16.1

      By and large, the Squad's constituency do not want them to burn the place down. Extract concessions, sure, but not refuse to govern at all.

      • Adrian Thornton 16.1.1

        I see…and what Left Wing extracted concessions have they achieved??…I seem to remember that AOC and The Squad in general got elected initially exactly because they promised to "Make POWER Uncomfortable"…they bend at the knee to power at the slightest head wind…that is just a plain fact.

        AOC…“Every single one of us got our seats challenging the Democratic establishment,” she said. ​“And now, from a grassroots perspective, people are realizing, ​‘Oh, we can hold our party accountable and we can put the fire on our own party. It doesn’t just have to be Republicans.’ And in that way we prevent the rightward drift of the Democratic Party."

        …turns out it is just some Republicans who have the backbone to stand up against their own party hierarchy to extract meaningful and serious (to them) concessions.

        • Craig H

          According to Wikipedia the Squad started with 4 new members in 2018, increasing to 6 in 2020, so their leverage was 0 as the Democratic majority exceeded their size, and as neophytes they had limited institutional knowledge of Congress. That said, one example of them voting against core Democratic legislation is given in the Wikipedia article:

          Infrastructure Bill and Build Back Better Act

          On November 5, 2021, all six members of the Squad voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act because they believed that moderate Democrats in the House and Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema would not vote for the Build Back Better Act. Nine Democrats in the House had previously refused to vote for the Build Back Better Act until the infrastructure bill was signed,[39] and both Manchin and Sinema had expressed opposition to key aspects of the Build Back Better Act.[40] After resolving certain disagreements, the infrastructure bill passed in the House with the votes of every Democrat except the members of The Squad.[41][42]

          Despite their votes against, it was passed anyway. Maybe I missed something, but they don't seem to have been in any position to obstruct anything if everyone else in the Democratic party was in favour.

    • DB Brown 16.2

      Referencing Matt Gaetz now….

      So credible.

      Gaetz wants someone to investigate the FBI for investigating him for human trafficking.

      But you know that, you simply don't care you'll get in bed with anything to make your silly points – which are something like US bad, Adrian very smart unlike everyone else at The Standard I told you So, You'll see, et al.

      • Macro 16.2.1

        Yeah! OMG Gaetz! 🙄 The FBI have pulled back from indicting him for sexual trafficking but his associate at the time pleaded guilty to 4 charges.

        The FBI seized Rep. Matt Gaetz’s cellphone in December 2020, marking the beginning of an investigation into whether the Florida Republican allegedly sex-trafficked a 17-year-old girl. In the time since, his former friend Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to trafficking the same teen in exchange for helping the Justice Department’s investigation. Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend also struck a deal, obtaining immunity from federal prosecution in return for her testimony.

      • Adrian Thornton 16.2.2

        @DB Brown (an insipid beer I seem to remember, so a well chosen handle)… Are you fucking serious? I wasn't "referencing' or "getting into bed" with Matt Gaetz you idiot…if you actually read my post I was using the way he is extracting concessions from the Republicans as an example of what the Squad didn't do when presented with exactly the same opportunity, when you have the power to do so…if you have a comment to make on that then go ahead, but if all you can do is just bag me for no reason then just piss off.

        • DB Brown

          So, (alleged) human trafficker as inspiration aside…

          You admire a small but plucky group holding the majority hostage to extort demands, and think that's an example of how things should be done in a democracy.

          No, you piss off.

    • SPC 16.3

      The rebels demands so far.

      1. cuts to Social Security and Medicare (would be blocked by the Senate and POTUS until 2024).

      2. a select committee modeled after the one that investigated the federal government after Watergate.

      3. a single Congressperson being able to demand a fresh vote for Speaker.

      4. placement of more members of the House Freedom Caucus on the House Rules Committee (which debates legislation before it’s moved to the floor).

      5. allow floor votes to institute term limits on members and to enact specific border policy legislation.

      Of course the Democrats could simply back McCarthy for Speaker and prevent Freedom Caucus extremism impacting on Congress prior to 2024 and increase the tension in the GOP by doing so.

  15. lprent 17

    Next up, the 8th vote.

  16. Sacha 18


  17. Maurice 19

    Dah! Dah!

    In the last round of voting, 19 Republicans voted for Rep. Byron Donalds, one voted 'present,' and Matt Gaetz voted for former President Trump.

  18. Sacha 20


  19. joe90 21

  20. Peter 22

    I've watched enough of the effort to elect a new leader to put the event into a context. It's simply another episode of a great political parody.

    Various speakers assuring themselves that the US is the "greatest country in the history of the world" by itself is just about enough to achieve that.

    Matt Gaetz pontificating about getting rid of corruption tags along as a good line. Of course in the milling round between totting votes there's George Santos mingling and chatting. (I wonder if anyone's asked him what it was like to score the last second touchdown to win the Superbowl or if they could borrow his copy of 'The Nature of Truth.')

    It's a feast for tweeters and angles around the maths and the occasion. They collide nicely in the circus for someone: "One silver lining for McCarthy is that once the number of votes goes over 16, Matt Gaetz will probably lose interest."

    • SPC 22.1

      George Santos when explaining his false claim to be Jewish … being sort of Jew’ish because he was contesting to be the representative for a district of Long Island (also includes Brooklyn and Queens).

  21. Macro 23

    Rather than continue to sit by and watch the crazies on the extreme right screw more and more "concessions' from McCarthy, Democrats could think outside the box and nominate a "moderate" Republican as Speaker with some acceptable "concessions" for them – such as equal numbers on Committees. Such a deal would allow Govt to continue to function. If the crazies get their way a minority will hold the majority to ransom and and any Bill they might propose will almost certainly fail. The country will become ungovernable.

    More on this idea here:


    • SPC 23.1

      Saving the GOP from itself for the good of the country.

      Biden not appointing 2 extra members to SCOTUS was his decision (to realise a 6-5 Roberts led conservative majority – it would have been 5-4 if Mad Mac Tuck had not sabotaged the Garland appointment). Failure of action by Jeffries indicates weakness is endemic in the wider party.

    • Craig H 23.2

      I like Robert Reich normally, but if that was actually a serious option, why hasn't Jeffries been elected yet via deals with a few moderate Republicans? Or why hasn't McCarthy (or a suitable intermediary) already approached the Democrats instead of continuing to attempt to make deals with the extreme right? Why do only the Democrats have the agency to make these deals, and why does anybody think the Republicans would accept them?

      • SPC 23.2.1

        All Democrats have to do is vote for McCarthy and thus prevent any empowerment of the Freedom caucus in the House 2022-2024.

        The reticence is based on the ambition to win the House back in 2024.

        • Craig H

          The Republican legislative agenda looks awful, there is absolutely nothing to gain either for the Democrats or the USA generally in having any part in enabling that. It's also very telling that this far into the process, the other Republicans still haven't approached the Democrats to sideline the extreme Republican faction. My view is that they are deathly afraid of being primaried from the right for working with the Democrats, so are doing everything else but that.

  22. Maurice 24

    Eleventh Vote failed to produce a Speaker.

    House adjourned till Noon tomorrow (DC time)

  23. Ad 25

    Democrats should act cold and vote in unison for Marjorie Taylor Green as Speaker, since there's nothing but upside to MTG in full revenge mode against the 85% Republican caucus.

    Dems have a big recent record in funding and supporting extremist Republican candidates against the Republican ventrists, just to ensure Democrat candidates win over the split.

    Forget Jamal team; vote in the Republican destruction. That's what 2024 needs.

  24. Sacha 26

    Mediocrity explaining itself

  25. Sacha 27

    Crisp context

    • Sacha 27.1


      Fascists are a bunch of trolls who are never satisfied. They must always prove their power by ganging up on someone who’s been cast as an “outsider.”

      As the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer famously observed, “The cruelty is the point.”

      Most of the time, the targets are racial and sexual minorities, liberals or immigrants. But sometimes, that restless need to constantly bully someone manifests in purification rituals, where a once-trusted or even beloved insider is deemed an outsider who must be ritually purged.

      It’s just Kevin McCarthy’s turn in the proverbial barrel, though he almost certainly hasn’t helped his cause by constantly debasing himself before the hardliners. He’s marked himself as a weenie, and that just makes his tormentors enjoy watching him suffer even more. 

      • joe90 27.1.1

        Trolls with no intent to, or interest in governing.

  26. lprent 28

    12th vote is looking a bit different. Still short for McCarthy.

    • Sacha 28.1

      In case anyone is thinking this palaver does not affect the rest of the world much though..

      • Maurice 28.1.1

        There are two ways to climb down from the US Debt Mountain:

        1) Hyperinflation

        2) Default

        The third option is to keep building the mountain until there is no more hope!

  27. joe90 29

    nails it

  28. Joe900 30

    Jonathon Chait:

    Imagine Negotiating a Debt-Ceiling Ransom With These Maniacs
    Time to start minting the coin.strong>…]

    In the current circumstances, a successful hostage release would be all but impossible. Imagine a Republican Speaker — any Republican Speaker — figuring out a ransom that almost the entire caucus could agree on. The intraparty dynamics virtually guarantee that anything a Republican leader could agree to would immediately be seen on the far right as too little.

    All is to say that even if you think Biden ought to negotiate a debt-ceiling-ransom demand, it’s now a practical impossibility. The only way to accomplish the goal is to separate it from policy altogether. The best way to do that would have been for Democrats to lift the debt ceiling when they still had control of Congress. (Their failure to do so could potentially prove to be the decisively catastrophic choice of the last four years.) The best remaining option is for the Treasury to use its Congressionally inscribed authority to mint coins in denominations it chooses.


    • Maurice 30.1

      So mint millions (or a trillion and a half!) $20 "Gold Eagles" with steel cores thinly Gold plated – enough to pay off the Government debt …. then many more to keep the creation of money going?

      Brings a whole new meaning to the "return to the Gold Standard!

  29. lprent 31

    14th vote underway. Looks like an additional flip?

  30. Joe900 32

    Oh dear.

    They’re losing it.

  31. lprent 33

    Looks like deal..

    An abrupt on screen shift in the adjournment vote.

    Looks like another vote. Some members to vote present is the rumour.

  32. joe90 34


  33. lprent 35

    Jefferies (the democratic candidate for speaker) is a hell of a speech maker.

    I suspect McCarthy will be crap by comparison.

  34. Sacha 36

    Guess we will find out sooner than we would like..

    • joe90 36.1

      Seen a bit of speculation about Rogers move towards Gaetz being triggered by McCarthy bribing Gaetz with the House Armed Services chair.

      [image resized – Incognito]

  35. joe90 37

    Fitzpatrick was unwavering in his support of McCarthy, voted against the creation of the Jan 6th committee and submitted a letter to the Pennsylvania governor questioning the validity of the 2020 election so it remains to be seen whether he and his mates are sincere, or not.

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