The latest in a long series of idiotic things to happen in the United States House of Representatives

I don’t have a lot to say about Kevin McCarthy losing his position as speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Or at least, nothing coherent. How can one say anything coherent about any event that features the following?

  • According to Florida Man, a.k.a. Matt Gaetz — you remember him — McCarthy had to go because he joined with Democrats to keep the government running. So what did Gaetz do about it? He joined with Democrats to bring down McCarthy. Have I got this right? I hope to learn that I don’t… (I already said this on Twitter, and Bryan said, “That’s about the size of it. However, it seems his plan did not have a ‘Step Two’.”)
  • Note the part of that last bullet, where I said “joined with Democrats to keep the government running.” Which is sort of what the overwhelming majority of both parties would tell you was not only a good thing, but kind of the lowest-bar description of what McCarthy’s job was.
  • I listened to a long explanation on the NYT’s Daily (or maybe it was the NYT’s Headlines podcast; I heard them both back to back) of why the Democrats didn’t decide to save McCarthy’s job. My attention may have wandered, because I don’t remember hearing the most obvious one: He told the Yahoo Caucus they could go ahead and try to impeach Joe Biden, although we have yet to hear any sort of basis for such a proceeding.
  • Continuing on that last item… If you’ll recall — or at least, this is what I heard people saying at the time — McCarthy didn’t launch an impeachment investigation because he’s crazy (although he may very well be, since he actually wanted this job, badly.) He did it to mollify the Yahoo Caucus ahead of the budget talks. It was, as I understood it, a way of dangling a slimy new toy in front of them to distract them while he made like Mommy and Daddy and worked with other grownups to keep the government running.
  • Wait, still on that impeachment thing… So, now that McCarthy is out, and the government has for the moment been saved from shutting down, the silly impeachment game has been shut down, and all its participants urged to go find something useful to do with their time — right? Wrong. At least, I haven’t heard that. But this has never happened before, so I suppose anything can happen at this point, as long as it’s not something that makes sense.
  • Nancy Mace was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy. Did she do it because she’s one of the eight biggest yahoos in that body? Or did she do it because she’s secretly a Democrat? No on both, I think. The only explanation I’ve seen of her behavior was unclear, and seemingly based on some personal beef.
  • One more thing, and then I’m going to take a nap: That unforgivable deal of McCarthy’s to keep the government operating only lasts until the middle of next month. Meanwhile, I don’t think Patrick “Give me McLiberty or give me McDeath” McHenry can do anything about making a new deal. So…

That’s all for now…

27 thoughts on “The latest in a long series of idiotic things to happen in the United States House of Representatives

  1. Barry

    Matt Gaetz is positioning himself to run for Governor of Florida. Republicans in the state are already lining up behind him.

    There aren’t more than 8-10 Republicans in the House that can stand the guy, or work with him. Some have described him this week in terms that I can’t type out on Brad’s blog. But that’s the perfect recipe for being governor of Florida as a Republican.

    He’s one of those “good family values self described Christians” that reportedly had a habit as a new Congressman of inappropriate behavior (to put it mildly) with teen girls with a buddy of his. He also has a reputation for inappropriate comments directed at women on capitol hill.

    Observers say he wants to run for Governor and then launch a Presidential campaign.

    He sounds like a great candidate for today’s republican party.

      1. Barry

        The list is long of those that have bragged about Gaetz’s faith and morals.

        “Rep. Gaetz deserves praise for his unwavering commitment to stand for life, family, marriage, and religious liberty. Floridians should be encouraged to know that they have a Member of Congress such as Rep. Gaetz who has come alongside other members and our president to begin the work of rebuilding our nation, and protecting the very values that made America great.” – Tony Perkins, Head of the right wing Family Research Council, who often praises Gaetz on his radio show

        Gaetz positioning himself for run for governor

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Boy, you got me there — because I can’t imagine any circumstance in which I would feel compelled to compare them. One holds an office of public trust, the other is not.

              I don’t think much about Hunter Biden, and it’s hard to think of a situation in which I would. Beyond feeling sympathetic toward Joe, for having these troubles on top of holding the hardest job in the world.

              And I wouldn’t think at ALL about Matt Gaetz, except that he is in a position that allowed him to throw the U.S. House of Representatives into utter chaos. Otherwise, I’d have no reason to consider him. Of course, I don’t sit around thinking about the condition of his soul. I think about how to deal with him, since he is an extremely harmful force in our country…

            2. Barry

              For that that aren’t aware and get these things confused:

              Hunter Biden is a private citizen. He doesn’t work for the government and has never run for public office.

              He does not serve as an adviser to his father officially or unofficially.

              Matt Gaetz is an elected Republican from Florida who earns a salary at taxpayer’s expense.

              Gaetz is also an adviser to Donald Trump, and also sought advice from Donald Trump last week regarding the decision to oust the House Speaker.

              Another elected Republican said last week that he had seen Matt Gaetz on the floor of the House showing texts and documents on his phone that documented his sexual exploits of young women who were not his wife to other House members.

              Gaetz has been accused by multiple people of having sexual relations with a 17 year old teen girl.

  2. Barry

    Nancy Mace voted to oust him because he supposedly made some promises to bring up some women’s issues Nancy is pushing.

    Now, this is Nancy Mace. It’s hard to take anything she says seriously.

    However, does she think the cast of characters that are rumored to be running for Speaker will care about her “women’s issues?” Has she seen some of these guys?

    She’s in the wrong party is she wants those issues addressed.

  3. bud

    You wrote an awful lot of words here but entirely miss the important and relevant point. This is the REPUBLICAN controlled House of Representatives. Just put the blame where it belongs. Democrats aren’t perfect, congressman Bowman inexplicably pulled a fire alarm, but it must be abundantly clear by now that the GOP has gone completely insane. Our ONLY hope is to vote for Democrats. That cannot be stressed enough. No more of this bland portrayal as though everyone is equally culpable. And by the way it gets even “better”. Some members of the Republican controlled house are pushing to have Donald Trump for the speaker job. The two parties are not the same. It’s time to unambiguously acknowledge that.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It cannot be stressed enough that the LAST thing we need is for people to blindly vote for any party.

      Yep, there are some — some — pretty solid Democrats in Congress, but I’ll never get to vote for one of them.

      Meanwhile, if it weren’t for white South Carolinians’ complete inability to imagine voting for a Democrat, James Smith would likely be governor now.

      Party loyalty is, and has long been, one of the most destructive forces in America…

      1. bud

        You completely missed my point. As you have for years. This in NOT about party loyalty. I’ll vote for a member of someone who is not a Democrat. I’ll look at a Green Party candidate or no labels. What I’m saying is that it is insane to vote for any Republican. The GOP has become the party of MAGA extremists. The voters of New York chose Mike Lawler thinking they were getting a moderate voice for their Biden district. Instead what they got was another member of the MAGA party. Even though Lawler himself is a moderate in a Biden district his membership as Republican serves to effectively add numeric credit to the MAGA side of the ledger. That in turn allows the crazies greater leverage. If just 5 Biden districts had gone for a Democrat all this chaos would have been avoided. Let’s not strengthen the hand of Donald Trump by supporting the Republican Party in any way. Not yard signs. No bumper stickers. You wouldn’t have a Nazi yard sign so why a Republican.

    2. clark surratt

      Mr. Bud, I think you missed a big point. All the Democrats voting in lock-step with that bunch of renegade Republicans is one of the most blatant displays of ugly partisan gamesmanship I’ve seen. They chose to clap and laugh at the divided Republicans rather than trying to help government. A few of them could have chosen to keep Malarkey as speaker until perhaps some compromises could be worked out to do some good for the nation.
      Pelosi and Gaetz can go hold hands in victory and sing Family.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author


        And the last day or two, it’s been looking like voting McCarthy out may have been a big mistake.

        It’s interesting how a lot of people had their own reasons, apart from the general explanations you hear.

        I noted how idiosyncratic Nancy Mace’s “explanation” was. Well, you know I think a lot of Abigail Spanberger. Here was her explanation at the time, just before the vote. I liked the way she said some things I didn’t hear others saying:

        “The American people — and the people of Virginia’s Seventh District — deserve a Congress that functions. In the short time that Speaker McCarthy has been at the helm of the U.S. House of Representatives, he has threatened our country’s economic stability, our position of global leadership, and the financial security of the thousands of federal employees, servicemembers, small businesses, and government contractors I represent.

        “Speaker McCarthy brought America to the brink of a debt crisis long before he was willing to acknowledge that a bipartisan solution — and the votes of House Democrats — would be necessary to protect our economy. And again last week, he brought us to the brink of a government shutdown before he was willing to acknowledge that a bipartisan solution — and the votes of 209 House Democrats — would be necessary to protect the function of our government and the livelihoods of the Virginians I serve.

        “Each time, I implored him to demonstrate leadership, bring forth bipartisan bills, and not bend to the will of his extreme right wing. Unfortunately, he has coddled this faction — and the American people have suffered. Speaker McCarthy’s lack of leadership has not only threatened America’s economy and national security, but it has imperiled his own speakership.

        “Today’s vote represents whether I want to further enable a Speaker who — in demonstrating a lack of principles — has hurt our country, damaged our democracy, and threatened the financial security of my constituents for political purposes. In the absence of any desire by Speaker McCarthy to reverse course and focus on governing, the answer is no.”

        But what worries me now is that there are only two people running for speaker, and both seem worse than McCarthy. And I strongly suspect they will go even farther to placate the five, six or seven extremists who slapped McCarthy around. So all her smart reasons might end up seeming kind of dumb when we look back.

        No offense meant, Rep. Spanberger…

        1. bud

          Yep Jordan might be worse. But Mcarthy flat out lied to the Democrats. Plus he started an impeachment hearing for no reason. And he resurrected Trump when he was at a low point. The Dems could not in good conscience vote to keep this weasel. Besides why is it always up to Democrats to save the day? Why can’t a few moderate Republicans put up a moderate that some Democrats can support? Perhaps someone not currently in congress.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            It’s not about who it’s “up to” or who is obliged or entitled to do what.

            It’s about the real situation, and whether a give action or lack of action makes things better or worse.

            Those are the factors that a sensible, responsible person considers…

            1. bud

              Yes. But a responsible person can’t be an enabler of repeated betrayal. I’m actually somewhat hopeful that since the moderate Republicans have been burned by the crazy fringe so often they will be willing to forge some sort of alliance with likeminded Democrats. Besides is Jordan really that likely to become speaker? Scalise seems more likely and he’s no worse than McCarthy. We’ll see but I would not characterize a McCarthy vote as the adult choice. Rather that would merely reward a dangerous Trump toady with renewed confidence in his survival instincts. That is the bigger danger verses an unlikely Jordan speakership.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                “I’m actually somewhat hopeful that since the moderate Republicans have been burned by the crazy fringe so often they will be willing to forge some sort of alliance with likeminded Democrats.”

                Yes, that would be nice. It just worries me that none of them chose to step forward and offer themselves for the post…

      2. Ken

        That makes no sense. It ignores the record, actual experience. And given that experience, the Ds had no reason whatsoever to expect or even hope against hope for any improvement under McCarthy. Because his speakership was built on the “renegades” (who are actually the core of their party). And, given that, he was clearly a dead man walking. Just like John Boehner and Paul Ryan before him.

        Heather Cox Richardson, who knows more about American political history that you and me combined, put her finger on the central problem:
        “We have never before had a speaker vacated from his position, and that entails all kinds of things for our government that are unprecedented. But the place to start with this is that this is not a Congress problem. This is a Republican Party problem. And it’s a Republican Party problem that has been coming for a while. If you think about what’s happened with McCarthy in his very, very short tenure as speaker, he has indeed lurched from crisis to crisis, but what he has really done is increasingly empowered a small group of extremists to shut down the House of Representatives, therefore the Congress and therefore the U.S. government. And what looks to many people, I think, like … the speaker … is actually a much larger conversation about the U.S. government and not only how it’s going to function, but whether it’s going to function.”

        Combine this observation with a comment by a Republican voter that very succinctly describes what motivates lots of Republican voters nowadays: “The more the Congress isn’t doing anything, the better off Americans are.” In short: government dysfunction is good.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah, I heard that one on one of my audio apps while walking — I forget whether it was NYT or NPR.

          That’s what those people — the sort who vote for a Trump or a Gaetz — believe. Note that I didn’t say it’s “what they think,” because I don’t see any sign of thinking in this situation.

          And in America, it’s not even an extreme view. It’s the view of an average sort of disengaged person that has been around since before Thomas Jefferson or Natty Bumppo. They hold to the notion that we are all autonomous individuals who grown, hunt or trap all our food and clothing and other needed things, and don’t depend on nobody, nohow, and get uncomfortable when a neighbor is close enough that you can see the smoke from his chimney.

          Or rather, some imagined modern version of that.

          It’s the view of someone who feels NO responsibility for the world, and holds people who DO feel such responsibility in contempt.

          Fortunately for the first couple of centuries of our country, voters mostly were bright enough not to elect such people to public office.

          The electorate’s grip on that sensible principle started slipping when Reagan was elected in 1980 — you know, ol’ “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help — ha, ha, ha.” But at that time, we were a long, long way from the chaos that faces us now…

      3. Barry

        There was no reason in the world for Democrats to vote for a Republican speaker. Republicans would have never done that.

        Why do people expect Democrats to do something Republicans would never dream of doing?

        I guess someone hating on Democrats. But expecting them to do something different than Republicans would do is not logical.

  4. K

    McCarthy helped nurture the political forces that brought him down. He is a victim of his, and his party’s, machinations. They created the Frankenstein monster that is devouring them – and the rest of us too. The forces they have unleashed seek to foster government dysfunction in order to profit politically from pointing to how dysfunctional government is. Robert Novak said, years ago, that the Republican Party is a party of nihilism that has only one substantive goal: to hold onto power. This is what we are witnessing: radicalized nihilism.

    1. Ken

      And to add:

      There is no comparable development on the other side of the American political aisle.

  5. bud

    I did say our only hope is to vote for Democrats. That is true for the short term because they are the only effective counter to MAGA extremism. But eventually other options should be considered.

  6. Barry

    I was listening to Julie Mason on Sirius 124 this afternoon interview a reporter from the New York Times.

    They were talking about how powerful Steve Bannon is with House Republicans. Yes- the Steve Bannon that runs a podcast. Bannon has propped up Mike Lindell for years now as well as entertaining some of Rudy G’s most outlandish claims.

    Julie said that when Steve worked for a short time at Sirius, they had to put in extra phone lines because of his many callers he had to his show.

    He’s immensely popular with young, single males. Julie described his podcast as very influential and very popular. (I personally had no idea given how extreme Bannon is)

    Julie knows Steve Bannon (described him as very nice personally) and said he prides himself as an “agent of chaos” and his goal was to “burn the House down” and do everything he could to further that goal and that he had a lot of sway with Republicans in the House.

    The New York times reporter said he held some sway over some Republicans but this was not really something they wanted known. (I’m assuming because of Steve’s reputation).

    Interesting discussion.

  7. Guy

    “Moderate” Republicans will be more than able to assist Democrats in electing Hakeem Jeffries Speaker in the coming days…

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