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First take/rumors

When House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped his bid for the speakership, the general assumption was that the reason was votes – that he thought he might not be able to collect enough of them within the Republican caucus. (This is the guy the caucus previously had easily elected to the number two spot, remember). But another possible reason has surfaced as well: “it probably has something to do with the rumors that McCarthy is carrying on a Scandal-worthy extramarital affair with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.” What? First, these seem to be rumors only, and nothing even resembling actual evidence has surfaced; in addition to which both McCarthy and Ellmers denied anything was going on. From our standpoint, we’ll assume innocence until proof of guilt, which doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. But here’s the interesting part: The flames were fanned not by media reports or by Democrats but by other Republicans. Little wonder House members with any intelligence (say, Paul Ryan) want little to do with the speakership right now. For most any of them, it looks like a ticket to a political nightmare. – rs (John Boehner photo)

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