Right's pundits line up against McCarthy
© Greg Nash

Conservative pundits are lining up to oppose Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' MORE's (R-Calif.) effort to succeed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Many of the voices from the right are criticizing McCarthy as being insufficiently conservative, the same charge Cantor's underfunded Republican challenger made in defeating Cantor in Tuesday night's GOP primary.


Red State's Erick Erickson called McCarthy, the current majority whip, squishy and blasted him on a number of past votes, including Hurricane Sandy Funding and the compromised budget deal last year. 

"McCarthy is squishy on a host of issues, bad on immigration, and not a friend of conservatives," Erickson wrote on his website Thursday. "House Republicans looked on the biggest electoral surprise of the year and are giving it the middle finger."

Laura Ingraham, who campaigned for Cantor's primary opponent, also expressed her displeasure with McCarthy in a tweet Wednesday. 

"The fact that Eric Cantor just endorsed GOP Whip McCarthy for House Majority is all you need to know," she tweeted with the hashtag #PopulistRevolt.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board did not criticize McCarthy directly as insufficiently conservative but did say he is better known for politics than policy.

"Mr. McCarthy is known more for his political than policy chops, however, and thus he might struggle the way Mr. Boehner has with keeping his fractious coalition in line on difficult votes," the editorial board wrote Wednesday of McCarthy. 

The Journal said if Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) does not run, Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingLawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank House passes Ex-Im Bank reboot bill opposed by White House, McConnell Has Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? MORE (R-Texas) would be the most plausible choice. 

A number of lawmakers have lined up to replace Cantor. They include McCarthy and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete SessionsPeter Anderson SessionsWhy Trump's defeat is bittersweet for Texas Democrats Bottom line Texas Democrat Colin Allred beats back GOP challenger MORE (R-Texas). Hensarling was also seen as a possibility before he opted out Thursday morning. 

"Some of the other names lack the experience or standing to unite the conference," The Wall Street Journal wrote about candidates other than Hensarling and Ryan, who said he is not interested in a leadership position. 

Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said Hensarling and Sessions seem to "fit the mood of Congress much better right now than Kevin McCarthy does."

"Maybe he is in a good position because of where he has been," Scarborough said of McCarthy. "But he is associated with Cantor. He is associated with John Boehner."

Another conservative radio Host Mark Levin has expressed his displeasure with McCarthy in the past. 

“When you put these Mickey Mouse types in charge of the Republican Party in the House, what do you get, Mr. Producer? You get mice turds. And that’s what we have here: mice turds from the likes of Kevin McCarthy,” Levin said last year.

—Updated 12:00 p.m.