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Can Kevin McCarthy become Speaker?


Kevin McCarthy — the most plausible candidate for Speaker, but never a well-respected man — is facing a tough fight because of the narrow Republican margin of victory:

Former President Donald J. Trump has been working the phones, personally pitching right-wing lawmakers on voting to make Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader he has called “My Kevin,” the speaker of the House.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the most outspoken far-right member of his conference, is publicly vouching for Mr. McCarthy. The California Republican has made private entreaties and public promises to win over his critics, including floating the impeachment of a member of President Biden’s cabinet.

And yet, Mr. McCarthy, who is toiling to become speaker next year when the G.O.P. assumes the majority, has so far been unable to put down a mini-revolt on the right that threatens to imperil his bid for the top job.

Mr. McCarthy has embarked on the kind of grueling campaign that lawmakers in both parties jockeying for the post have sometimes been forced to perform. But some of the hard-right lawmakers with whom he is attempting to bargain do not appear to have a price, and most care less about legislating than shrinking the federal government — or upending it completely.

My guess is that he pulls it out, but that last graf is key — enough Freedom Caucus nuts just want chaos as an end in itself that resolving the gridlock won’t be easy.

It’s also unfortunate how close Democrats came to just retaining the House and making the question moot.

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