For Speaker: Bob Goodlatte

So, quite a day.

Kevin McCarthy backs out of the contest for House Speaker…giving Walter Jones a scalp. The House GOP is in chaos:

What is a body to do?

Step back. Take a deep breath. And grow up.

House Republicans have a fresh opportunity to choose a Speaker who is not a part of the current leadership structure. And as some of us have suggested — as Jim did on the Steve Batton Show last Friday, and as Paul Goldman and I did in our Washington Post column a couple of weeks ago — the choice should be clear:

Bob Goodlatte should be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Yes, the voices against the Goodlatte option have a point: he’s not a powerhouse fundraiser. He’s chairing the Judiciary Committee, which isn’t nearly as powerful or high-profile as other committee chairmanships. And the big one: he’s not a candidate for the job.

But with the race turned upside down, John Boehner in a snit (he’s cancelled on Jimmy Fallon tonight? And postponed the elections? Jeepers), and the other contenders not exactly being high-wattage contenders either, it’s time for a little provincialism.

As Paul and I wrote:

Which brings us to a serious alternative: Rep. Bob Goodlatte, an 11-term veteran from Virginia’s 6th District.

Goodlatte chairs the House Judiciary Committee and previously led the Agriculture Committee. Those who led the “Dump Boehner” brigades can hardly call Goodlatte a RINO as he has a proven record on immigration reform, abortion and other major GOP issues.

With all due respect to McCarthy, Goodlatte has more experience, more achievements and — a clincher — hails from from a state the Republicans could win next year.

Besides, former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had been in line to succeed Boehner before voters kicked him to the curb in a stunning primary upset in 2014. Virginia got cheated. Sorta.

Goodlatte is the right age and has the right temperament and the right experience. McCarthy has served roughly one-third the time and has led no committees. He got his start by winning a lottery back in Bakersfield.

If the GOP isn’t going for an outsider, then Goodlatte is a highly qualified insider.

That logic still stands.

Goodlatte need not commit himself to a long tenure — as we noted on the podcast Wednesday night, the next Speaker, regardless of who that person may be, is likely to be a caretaker until after the presidential elections.

Caretaker or not, the next Speaker will almost immediately have to contend with some very divisive issues — a debt ceiling vote around November 5th, a new spending measure by December 11th. Either one of these has the potential to allow the GOP to tear itself further apart.

Hence the need for a grown-up to navigate the caucus safely through the danger.

Other candidates for the Speaker’s job are likely to emerge. Some may have higher name ID. Some may have a fundraising Rolodex that would make Eric Cantor blush.

But the House needs more than dollars and a 1000 watt smile.

It needs a steady, proven, conservative Virginian.

Bob Goodlatte for Speaker.

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