With McCarthy Out, Why Not a Speaker of the House from Orange County?


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Speaker Offerings - Dana, Issa, Royce, and Mimi

Clockwise from funny hat: OC’s GOP Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, and Mimi Walters.

With Bakersfield’s Kevin McCarthy out of the picture (and possibly in more serious trouble than that if the rumors of a long-term affair with another GOP representative are true), Republicans are now scrambling for a replacement.  The two remaining candidates, Florida’s Daniel Webster and Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, considered to be unacceptable to large swaths of the Republican Party, the GOP is in a Grand Old Pickle.  Who is presentable on a national stage?  May I suggest considered a candidate — or four — from Orange County?  It would boost readership — and each Grand Old Possibility has its (at least comic) appeal.

Let’s review the choices, clockwise from the cat in the hat:

“Crazy Dana” Rohrabacher — the Dean of the Orange County Congressional delegation, believe it or not — has gotten some friendly press in these parts of late, what with his teaming up with a competent Democrat up the coast to pass federal legislation to respect state choices regarding medical cannabis.  (Seriously, take away his bong and Dana would be almost worthless.)  One disadvantage is that it’s true that he’s not considered a team player or even remotely competent at government; but from the Democratic perspective that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.

“Dangerous Darrell” Issa, once and now again representing South County after a decade confined to San Diego, has been in the national spotlight for due to the Benghazi hearings (a later incarnation of which just blew up in Kevin McCarthy’s face.)  As the GOP is supposedly looking for someone very aggressive and very conservative, one would think that Issa’s name would have been in the mix by now — but it hasn’t been.  That’s a sad commentery, isn’t it?  Don’t they recognize his value?  Don’t they respect his wealth?

“Desperate Ed” Royce is the token supposed moderate on this list — but it’s interesting to note that while even Darrell Issa voted to reopen the government at the end of the last Ted-Cruz-initiated shutdown, Royce himself voted against it.  (He’s a nihilist!  Don’t they like nihilists?)  Royce is a high-ranking Republican — while Danabacher got a head start on him, it’s Royce who has risen through the hierarchy — and has actually done more harm to the country so far than the other three OC options combined.  That’s because he’s the guy who was asleep at the switch when he chaired the House Financial Services Committee back when the banks were looting and scuttling the economy, and he’s now the guy who not heads the House Foreign Affairs committee, where his diatribes against China and the Muslim world attract extra attention.  Sadly, he really might be a plausible candidate here — but he’s really not a “take one for the team” kind of guy.  His name was mentioned as a possibility by California pundit Shirley Bebitch Jeffe, who said:

“The one name I’ve heard out here from California Republicans is Ed Royce who is a senior Republican member of the House and is well-respected.”

OK, then — come on, Royce!  Are you afraid of a little hard work?

“Schemin’ Mimi” Walters is the newest addition to the ranks of OC’s U.S. Representatives, where she has been visible thus far mostly as what passes for eye candy standing next to John Boehner in her very junior leadership role.  (Cathy McMorris has been the highest-ranking woman on the Houser GOP leadership team, but she seems to be being mentioned only in the context of how odd it is that no one is mentioning her.)  The ethically challenged once-and-now again Laguna Niguelian  does not seem to have accomplished anything notable in Congress, continuing on the proud legacy of former Rep. John Campbell.  She may have more sense than McCarthy did, though; when questions arose about her residency at a press conference, Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff literally stepped to the microphone she was approaching to rule that the entire topic is off limits.

But there are other possibilities:

The Speaker of the House does not actually have to be a member of Congress at all — and need not even be native-born, which means that Arnold Schwarzenegger really could be in the mix this time.  So could Nancy Reagan, Bruce Willis, Mike Trout, or anyone else who wanted a capstone achievement for their career.  If you know anyone who you think should be considered as speaker, this is your chance to mention them with the certainty that your suggestion will be read by someone at the NSA!  So let’s hear those ideas, Juicesters!  Otherwise they may really go, as has been threatened today, with someone like Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich!


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)