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ED ROGERS: McCarthy hands GOP opportunity to unite

DARYL CAGLE/CAGLE CARTOONS.COM
DARYL CAGLE/CAGLE CARTOONS.COM

Ignore all the commentary about anarchy within the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives. The fact that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) just dropped out of the race for speaker, throwing the race wide open, is an opportunity as much as a problem. But in a month's time, when a new speaker has settled in, this will be remembered as only a tempest in one corner of the teapot.

It is by no means certain that this shakeup will produce a good result, but it is an opportunity to have a good debate and a good contest for this vital leadership position within the Republican Party. Perhaps -- and I emphasize perhaps -- this will force even the fist-shakers within the Freedom Caucus to articulate a thoughtful position on who they are for, rather than committing to a protest vote based on who they are against. The Freedom Caucus members and others in the party will need to make a case to the broader membership about who should be the next speaker of the House, and why they are for him or her.

Hopefully, this sudden development will lead to a contest where a few good candidates will try to convince their colleagues that they are the most knowledgeable and the most articulate. Those qualifications are what the race for speaker should be about. The idea that the caucus would be at peace with the members of the current leadership all just moving up a notch was a flawed concept anyway. This could be a fresh start for the sagging GOP brand. It will be ugly for a while, but this is probably a net plus for the Republican Party.

P.S. I assume Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) stays in. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) might be in the mix. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) has a lot of sense and I hope he runs. Suddenly, there could be a productive debate among several smart, articulate people.

Ed Rogers, a contributor to The Post's PostPartisan blog, is a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns.

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