McCarthy’s quest for the speakership: A lesson of persistence and determination

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

by Elpidio R. Estioko

While the process that the GOP went through in selecting the Speaker of the House took too long, rigorous, combative, and full of negotiations, I would say that Kevin McCarthy’s quest for the position was a lesson of persistence, guts, and determination.

McCarthy didn’t give up despite many losses, setbacks and failures, but instead persistently pursued his longtime goal of becoming the Speaker of the House. But will this be an asset for him in governing the House of Congress? Or this will weaken him?

After the 15th and final round of voting, McCarthy was finally elected House Speaker after days of painstaking negotiations and failed votes, garnering a total of 216 votes and six voting present, enough to propel him to the speakership.

I would say, this is the greatest example of persistence, guts, and determination to the highest degree because an ordinary person will give up after two, three or four tries. All he must do now is to carry out all the promises he committed and pursue the concessions he negotiated.

McCarthy, to secure the gavel, had to overcome the opposition from a group of hardline conservatives in what became the longest contest in 164 years.

To prevail over critics, McCarthy and his allies made a series of concessions to conservatives – a move that frustrated moderates concerned the concessions may make it harder for the new GOP majority to effectively govern.

McCarthy’s struggle to get the position may serve as a preview of the kind of challenges he will face in trying to unite his GOP colleagues during his incumbency. The deal-making McCarthy went through may also weaken his position in the performance of his duty as the house speaker, although he disputed that idea. Well, let’s see because conceding is negative per se and hard to cope with its implications.

The final hours before McCarthy was elected ended with chaotic and tense moments on the House floor with lawmakers on the edge of their seats waiting for further developments. The situation was very volatile and intense, but in fairness to him, he was able to weather the storm and survived the chaotic situation.

With so many concessions and promises, McCarthy and his allies may have rough sailing in governing as Congress continues its first day of session for the new year.

Based on CNN reporting, there were 11 key concessions made.

First, CNN reported that “any member can call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair – this is significant because it would make it much easier than it is currently to trigger what is effectively a no-confidence vote in the speaker. Conservatives pushed hard for this, while moderates are worried it will weaken McCarthy’s hand.” Well, the way I see it, it may weaken McCarthy’s position and will keep him always at the edge which might be a distraction on his part.

Second, “a McCarthy-aligned super PAC agreed to not play in open Republican primaries in safe seats.” This will give no outside interference such that GOP can work within or among themselves.

Third, “the House will hold votes on key conservative bills, including a balanced budget amendment, congressional term limits and border security.”

Fourth, “efforts to raise the nation’s debt ceiling must be paired with spending cuts. This could become a major issue in the future when it is time to raise the debt limit to avoid a catastrophic default because Democrats in the Senate and the White House would likely oppose demands for spending cuts.” This is where caucuses and bipartisanship can come in.

Fifth, “move 12 appropriations bills individually, instead of passing separate bills to fund government operations. Congress frequently passes a massive year-end spending package known as an “omnibus” that rolls everything into one bill. Conservatives rail against this, arguing that it evades oversight and allows lawmakers to stick in extraneous pet projects.” This calls for individual scrutiny instead of a bunch of them at the same time.

Sixth, “more Freedom Caucus representation on committees, including the powerful House Rules Committee.” This will provide diversity in various committees which can explore more ideas based on culture and environment.

Seventh, “cap discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, which would amount to lower levels for defense and domestic programs.”Eight, “seventy-two hours to review bills before they come to floor.” This will give them enough time to process the bills before voting.

Ninth, “give members the ability to offer more amendments on the House floor.” This will also diversify the content and make it more substantive.

Tenth, “create an investigative committee to probe the “weaponization” of the federal government.” “Weaponization” has been a problem so it needs to be scrutinized.

And the eleventh, “restore the Holman rule, which can be used to reduce the salary of government officials.”

There you go, while McCarthy was able to push himself up to the speakership, will this be a sign of positive governing on his part or one that will weaken his authority over the legislators?

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at

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