Bonus Quote of the Day

“It is total confusion — a banana republic. Any plan, anything you anticipate, who knows what’ll happen. People are crying. They don’t have any idea how this will unfold at all.”

— Rep. Peter King (R-NY), quoted by the Washington Post, as he recounted seeing a handful of House Republicans weeping over the downfall of Kevin McCarthy and the broader discord within the Republican party.

GOP Pleads with Paul Ryan to Run for Speaker

Speaker John Boehner “personally asked House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) to run for speaker over two long phone conversations… Boehner has told Ryan that he is the only person who can unite the House GOP at a time of turmoil,” the Washington Post reports.

Politico: “The Wisconsin Republican is getting bombarded with calls and one-on-one appeals from GOP lawmakers urging him to be the party’s white knight. Boehner has had multiple conversations with the Ways and Means chairman. Even before he dropped his own bid, McCarthy told Ryan he should do it.”

We All Get ‘Free Stuff’

Bryce Covert takes issue with Jeb Bush’s comments that Democrats use “free stuff” to win voters and points out that there’s “a whole treasure trove of government handouts that aren’t dispensed through spending, but rather through the tax code.”

“So while low-income Americans are more likely to get health insurance through Medicaid, well-off Americans are the ones who reap the benefit of health insurance tax breaks. Poor families might be able to get Section 8 apartment vouchers or spots in public housing, but the mortgage interest deduction overwhelmingly helps people who make more than $100,000 a year buy their homes.”

“What the government loses to tax expenditures dwarfs spending on welfare programs. Each year, it spends about $17 billion on assistance to needy families and more than $70 billion on food stamps, compared with more than $900 billion that flows out through the tax code. It expends nearly three times as much on tax subsidies for homeowners as it does for rental assistance for the poor.”

Bush Opposes Re-authorizing the Voting Rights Act

Jeb Bush said he does not support reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act, adding that there’s been “dramatic improvement” in access to voting in the past half century, CNN reports.

Said Bush: “If it’s to reauthorize it to continue to provide regulation on top of states as though we’re living in in 1960 — because those were basically when many of those rules were put in place — I don’t think we should do that.”

McCarthy Never Told Boehner He Would Drop Race

House Speaker John Boehner “seemed to have no inkling on Thursday that his deputy, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, was preparing to withdraw from the speaker’s race,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Said Boehner, a few minutes before the vote: “I’m confident he’ll win today and I’m confident he’ll win on Oct. 29.”

“But even as he reflected on his 25-year congressional career and what he might do next, his House Republican conference was thrown into a fresh round of turmoil—one that might even delay the Ohio Republicans departure… Boehner immediately postponed the election, as he and his stunned colleagues scrambled to figure out their next move.”

A Republican Party in Total Chaos

Matt Lewis: “The GOP’s presidential primary race legitimately risks nominating Donald Trump and descending into a parody. And now the Republican-controlled Congress is in total chaos. No one wants to be Speaker… All of this comes with the backdrop of a coming debt ceiling deadline in November that comes before another big budget vote in December.”

“What a mess. Could Republicans have imagined a more nightmarish series of political events a year out from a presidential election? Sadly, I doubt it.”

Time for a Bipartisan Speaker?

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) said that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew from the Speaker’s race “because although he could have won a majority of the Republican Conference, he would not have had 218 votes on the House floor,” the Washington Post reports.

Dent also said it might be necessary to form a “bipartisan coalition” with Democrats to elect the next speaker and avoid having to appease the “rejectionist wing” of his own party, which he said has made the House ungovernable by insisting on “unreasonable demands.”

McCarthy Drops Speaker Bid

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has withdrawn from the race for House speaker and the election for the top post has been postponed, Politico reports.

New York Times: “As shocked members left the room there was a sense of total disarray, with no clear path forward and no set date for a new vote… A group of about 40 hard-line House conservatives announced Wednesday night that they would support Representative Daniel Webster of Florida, making it unclear whether Mr. McCarthy could assemble the 218 votes on the floor that he would need to be elected later this month.”

Koch Brothers Eye Marco Rubio for $1 Billion Prize

New York Daily News: “Slowly but surely, the GOP is narrowing down its list of presidential candidates. The big prize — aside from the presidency itself — is still the nearly $1 billion contribution the kingmaking Koch brothers, Charles and David, will reportedly throw behind the conservative agenda next year. According to a political insider who ran into David Koch at a recent event in Manhattan, Florida Sen. Rubio is the front-runner for dough now that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is out of the race.”

Lessig Waits for Debate Invite

“The Democratic nominating contest is getting lonely for Lawrence Lessig. Mr. Lessig, the Harvard law professor who rails against unfairness in campaign finance, shifted his message to the unfairness in the debate selection process and the fact that he had not been invited to next week’s gathering in Las Vegas,” the New York Times reports.

Said Lessig: “I’m surprised by the lack of recognition from the Democratic Party. It’s unclear how if you’re not a politician or a billionaire you get to a place where you are able to participate.”

Quote of the Day

“We’ve got to stop paying attention to the PC police who say every lifestyle is exactly of the same value. No, it’s not of the same value. It is very clear that intact, traditional families with traditional, intact values do much better in terms of raising children. So let’s stop pretending that everything is of equal value.”

— Ben Carson, in an interview on Sirius XM.