“We’ve had a lot of fun this week making jokes about Kevin McCarthy losing in the most humiliating fashion possible,” said Stephen Colbert on Thursday evening, after the California congressman lost multiple votes to become speaker of the House for the third day in a row. “But I’ve gotta ask – at what point does it become sad to watch him get repeatedly dragged through the town square while the village idiots pelt him with rotting garbage?
“Not at this point,” the Late Show host added, “because this is still a lot of fun.
“By now, it’s really clear that every time McCarthy attempts to become speaker, it’s just another unnecessary but enjoyable sequel,” he continued, noting that McCarthy, a pro-Trump Republican facing a far-right insurrection within his own party, lost the speakership vote for the 10th time on Tuesday. (He lost another one after taping.)
“Why does he keep going?” Colbert wondered. “I’m beginning to think losing floor votes might be his kink. He’s getting off on this. And it’s all in the new congressional erotica novel Fifty Shades of Nay.”
McCarthy’s repeated humiliation was “better than watching him lose an election because you get to watch him lose three times a day for apparently eternity”, Colbert laughed.
The host apologized to God for his gleeful schadenfreude, but made his case: “Here’s a guy who, right after January 6, you will remember, on the floor of the House that he wants to be the speaker of, said that the president bore responsibility for that unprecedented murderous attack on the Capitol. And then two weeks later, he flies down to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring. And I don’t mean this one,” he said, pointing to his ring finger.
“He knew what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway for his personal political power,” Colbert continued. “He made this calculation: I could do the right thing, or I could be speaker. And now he gets neither, 10 times in a row.”
The GOP chaos in the House of Representatives was “pretty fun to watch” said Seth Meyers on Late Night.
“McCarthy and the GOP were full of bravado about how they would seize the gavel as a show of Republican power and confront Joe Biden and the Democrats,” he explained. “Instead, we got this split screen: feuding Republicans in utter chaos on the House floor while Joe Biden was eating peach cobbler at a barbecue joint in Cincinnati.
“While Biden’s chowing down on cobbler, Republicans are melting down before our eyes and proving to our nation they just can’t be trusted to govern,” he added.
McCarthy ultimately lost 11 straight votes as of Thursday evening. “And the crazy thing is, because nothing else can happen until a speaker is elected, McCarthy just has to sit there losing votes over and over,” said Meyers.
“It’s like getting all the way up to the altar and then your fiance says ‘I don’t’, and instead of going home the priest says ‘what do you say everybody, should we try it again?’
“What Republicans are dealing with right now is the core problem with the modern GOP, a party that is fundamentally broken,” he concluded. “This is the dynamic Trump exposed, but it also pre-dated him. Republicans were happy to appease and even use the crazies in their party to gain power. But now the crazies are in power with them, and it’s coming back to bite them in the ass.”
And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel also relished the McCarthy speakership drama in Washington. “I can’t wait for Lin-Manuel Miranda to make a musical out of it,” he joked. “I’m worried about Nancy Pelosi, I don’t know if it’s healthy for a woman her age to laugh so hard for so long.”
Kimmel also mocked Matt Gaetz, one of the Republican congressmen blocking McCarthy’s victory, who asked reporters to question why McCarthy had already moved into the speaker’s office. “It’s not a bad question,” said Kimmel. “Another question: why aren’t you in jail yet?”
Then there was Gaetz’s ally Lauren Boebert, who tried to make the case for complete congressional dysfunction – the House is at a standstill until a new speaker is elected – on MSNBC: “I think of it as Congress not spending money that we don’t have, because every day that I’ve been in Congress we’ve done exactly that. So the taxpayers are actually winning here, because Congress hasn’t organized.”
“That’s quite an argument,” Kimmel responded. “What she’s saying is we’d be better off without Congress. If you’re saying even you think you’re a waste of our money, I think we finally agree on a point.”