Underpants Gnomes strategy falters as anti-Pelosi rebel says he’ll only vote for real alternative

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 12: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), right, with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), speaks during a press conference on U.S. House bill H.R. 428 in the Cannon House Office Building on March 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. The bill would make public 28 pages, currently classified, that were removed from the congressional investigation's report on the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch (D)

Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, one of the malcontents in the House who recently signed a letter opposing Nancy Pelosi’s campaign to become speaker again, just telegraphed his readiness to cave—and in so doing, exposed the fundamental weakness of his fellow rebels’ plan for blocking Pelosi’s ascent.

Last week, I explained how the strategy (such as it is) of these Pelosi opponents is inspired directly from South Park’s notorious Underpants Gnomes. In short, the anti-Pelosi brigade has no real alternative candidate for speaker to vote for, so to stop Pelosi, enough of them—they now need 17, and possibly 18, depending on the outcome of the final uncalled race for the House—have to stick together and vote (perhaps repeatedly) for the parliamentary equivalent of Mickey Mouse in order to force a deadlock.

But that’s something that Lynch, at least, is not inclined to do. In a new interview on Sunday, Lynch laid things out in very simple terms:

“If it becomes a choice between a Republican and Nancy Pelosi, I’ll obviously support Nancy Pelosi,” Lynch said in an interview with WCVB in Boston.

And indeed, that’s exactly what the situation is right now. There are only two candidates running for speaker of the House: Nancy Pelosi and Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy. A vote for McCarthy is a vote for instant career suicide for any Democrat, and with Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge endorsing Pelosi rather than seeking the speakership herself, it’s Pelosi or bust.

Even Gnome King Seth Moulton seems to recognize that he can no longer hope to hold his merry band of insurrectionists together to vote for a candidate who isn’t actually running, since on Monday, he began communicating his desire for a negotiated surrender via the press. Stealing underpants, it turns out, is not enough.

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