The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

New Congress, More of the Same Old Clown Show

Jan 9, 2023

After four days and 15 rounds of voting, the U.S. House of Representatives finally elected Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.

During the November election, the Republican Party gained a narrow majority in the House. That meant the Republicans would be able to elect someone from their party to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker—the person who is the leading figure in the House of Representatives and is second in line for the U.S. Presidency. Almost all of the Republicans supported McCarthy, but a handful of mostly far-right Republicans wanted to use their needed votes to extract concessions from McCarthy.

So, for four consecutive days, during day sessions and night sessions, this made-for-TV drama played out live on CNN, Fox, and other channels. The TV coverage made it seem like the fate of the world was hanging in the balance.

We heard one Representative after another making serious-sounding and emotional speeches. There was almost a fist fight between two Republicans. McCarthy kept making more and more concessions to the far right-wingers to get their votes. In each session, the votes against McCarthy narrowed down from 20 to 19 to 17 to 12 to 6 to 2. Finally, at a late-night 15th vote, those last holdouts voted “present”, allowing McCarthy to get a majority of votes cast. Finally, a new Speaker was elected, and the House of Representatives could actually convene.

And what was all this drama and debate and argument actually about? Were these elected Representatives dealing with the issues that the voters were concerned about? Were they talking about how to fix inflation, how to lower prices and raise wages? Were they discussing how to fix the schools and roads and infrastructure? Were they debating how to lower drug prices and medical costs? No, No and No!

The concessions that McCarthy agreed to had nothing to do with any issue that affected ordinary people. They had to do with which Congressmen would serve on which House committee and how the House would function. They agreed that in the future it would take just one single Representative out of the 435 House members to call for a new vote for a new Speaker of the House. And then we could watch all this same BS play out all over again—“Live on CNN and Fox!”

While this Congressional clown show was going on, the Democrats were happy to sit back and let the Republicans make themselves look like a bunch of fools. The Democrats were happy to make their party seem like the reasonable and serious party.

Of course, for the last two years, the Democrats had their own chance to control the House—and the Senate and the Presidency. And we can see the little or nothing that the Democrats did to address the problems that working people face.

The fact that neither party has an answer for the problems of working people is not a surprise. Both parties serve the interests of the capitalist class—first, last and always. All these politicians are good for is to try to put on a show for TV. Fortunately, this time, we were able to change the channel.