Chaos and Bedlam In Coverage of Chaos and Bedlam in House!

Now and then Politico–which I’ll say again as I’ve said before serves an important function in our system so long as they don’t overthink what they are doing–becomes kind of a parody of itself, and that’s what’s happening this afternoon as the site’s reporters careen around Washington with wildly speculative and conflicting takes on why Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the Speaker’s race today and what it all means. One minute we’re told the “House in Chaos” is threatening civilization as we know it; the next that could all work out nicely with Boehner keeping the gavel through December and getting appropriations and debt limit bills through the House as he planned to before all the recent unpleasantness.

The really weird thing is that there still doesn’t seem to be any media consensus on the exact source of today’s drama. Was it McCarthy’s Benghazi! gaffe? Conservative threats? Something unrelated? Nobody knows, other than McCarthy, and he’s been cryptic.

The worse idea circulating right now is for an “interim” or “caretaker” Speaker. Until today, it was assumed that it would take a very strong hand on the tiller to avoid a government shutdown, a debt default crisis, and/or a complete collective GOP nervous breakdown, in December. So how are all these things to be avoided with, in effect, nobody as Speaker?

Maybe these birds will just let Nancy Pelosi serve as Speaker until they get their acts together. Then they could go back to the thing they do best: shifting blame.

UPDATE: Now there’s this from WaPo’s Robert Costa: Ryan to the rescue?

I’m pretty sure Ryan can name his price for this, if he wants.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.