Watching commentary after the debt ceiling vote I’m wondering about what’s next. I’m also wondering (again based on punditry) if McCarthy isn’t a bit more savvy than we all thought. I’ll explore that in a bit, but tonight President Biden gave an address from the Oval Office. Yes, some on our side (me included) are ticked off any deal at all was reached. However given the alternative this President got us way more than McCarthy got for Republicans. Including and especially the Crazy Caucus. As the day and evening have worn on I’m started to think they got tricked into visiting the Vet’s office with the promise of getting to see Biden and Democrats get “snipped” but instead they got zapped with stun guns, anesthetized and got the treatment instead!
I can’t find it in my computer files, and copyright would have kept me from using it for the title pic but there’s a great Far Side cartoon that comes to mind. A dog is in a fenced yard on a chain, and another dog (presumably from next door) is leaning out the window of a car with the caption being “Ha ha Biff. I’m going to get tutored!” That I think was the attitude of MTG and Gaetz, as well as the others who held McCarthy hostage six months ago going into crunch time over raising the debt ceiling. Oh how they enjoyed dancing and prancing around crowing about the power they had. That they would crash the whole economy, not just ours but the world’s if they didn’t get their way and every conservative wet-dream about destroying all manner of popular and vital programs, basically anything non-defense related wet-dream.
They would have, we knew they would have and they knew everyone knew it. They were drunk on their power and didn’t care who saw how wasted they were. The believed in their bones that everyone had no choice but to bend to their will. Because they would have crashed the whole freaking thing. That history would look back and anoint them as heroes for “bringing sanity (WTF? Sanity?) back to government.” Because by god THEY were in charge and calling the shots. That McCarthy would be a good little Speaker and follow their every command like a circus animal in the big tent at the circuit.
It’s now clear how badly they misunderstood the situation!
Even before the vote on deal in the House the crazies were talking about taking away McCarthy’s “Precious” – his Speaker’s Gavel. We might never know for sure, but I’m willing to be that what the President said in his address had some truth to it – that McCarthy and his team wound up working in good faith (these last couple of weeks anyway) to craft something that would pass and give both of them some political cover. AND because of that, Leader Jeffries who had his finger on the pulse of his own caucus could promise McCarthy that if Democratic concessions were WAY less than what McCarthy’s crazies were demanding that a substantial number of Democrats would do two things – join Republicans to pass the bill, and if needed do so to help ole Kevin survive a no-confidence vote.
Some Republicans do after all come from Districts that they carried by slim margins. Plenty of others have been willing to say off the record they long ago got tired of all the crazy. From Trump of course, but some of their fellow House members and they are just sick of it all. They only have (and barely) control of one part of the government and only by playing nice can they have a seat at the decision making table. Distasteful as it might be working with Democrats and taking a few slices of the loaf is the best they can hope for but with the crazies seemingly controlling things?
So consider that, then add in a promise from Biden to talk up bipartisanship instead of tap dancing on McCarthy’s scrotum (which given the deal Biden could have done if he were that kind of person) and well… McCarthy might well come out of this with some actual authority. If he does how it will affect control of the House in 2024 remains to be seen, but if the Crazy Caucus types won’t STFU (we all know they won’t) and recruit more crazies to primary Republicans who voted for the deal we retake the House. By more than a handful of seats too.
The question that came to mind for me is did McCarthy actually have a plan to neutralize, to “alter” his Crazy Caucus months ago? It seems incredible given how weak and feckless he’s been. And while I’m to my great surprise willing to think he’s nowhere near as dumb and weak as I (you to I’m sure) thought he’s never going to be seen as an iconic Speaker. I honestly think he’d be okay with history eventually judging him as having been one who got the basic job done. But let’s return to the question of whether McCarthy had more savvy, based on knowing some recent history and having some actual experience in the fray of GOP antics.
Lest we forget McCarthy had been to this debt crisis dance before, as well as a shutdown. All due to the GOP but more importantly he seems to have remembered the electoral price his Party has paid. The GOP was sooooo sure they could get away with pinning the whole mess on Democrats. And don’t forget, that was back when the GOP messaging machine had all its top talent on hand. Most have bolted, and some are even now working against the GOP! The GOP has enough problems heading into November 2024 without this mess, and even the fact it got as close to disaster as it did might cost the GOP a few seats in the House. Which if he wants to keep the Gavel he can’t afford to lose. Santos’s seat is going to be GONE. More than likely Boebert’s too. So when I say he’s just a few seats from the GOP losing the majority I’m being literal. He needed to defang the Crazy Caucus though. Or let the air out of their balloon, or whatever metaphor you want to choose.
Despite the cost of letting this all drag out when he could have whipped his caucus, lined up political cover and fundraising for his moderates in swing and especially Biden districts and called a vote for a clean bill raising the debt ceiling. Every Democrat would have joined in and this could have been settled months ago. However maybe, just maybe he decided to give his crazies rope. Lots of rope. To hang themselves with. As they raised hell and made threats they basked in the attention. Only to have McCarthy pull the rug out from under them!
Who’s looking weak and impotent now?
Remember what I said about a no-confidence vote. Given the final margins of passage in both the House and the Senate I’m pretty sure more than enough Democrats will throw in (with Jeffries’ blessing) with the 160 plus House Republicans who voted Aye and McCarthy will remain Speaker. I’m betting at least twenty more would back him in a no-confidence vote. If McCarthy asks nicely and promises to behave like “normal” RWNJ Speaker in public and with his caucus but forces through things that need doing and much more on our terms than conservative’s Jeffries can get him thirty or forty Democrats in a no-confidence vote without breaking a sweat. And upwards of fifty or even sixty if needed. We have the fact McCarthy now owes Jeffries who can if necessary remind him he can put McCarthy through another debacle like we saw back in January – heading into primary season!
Hakeem Jeffries is a smart person. Between Speaker Pelosi and President Biden he’s got two of the best mentors he could have ever hoped for, and they have and will continue to tell him “By all means take a bow for yourself and the Party. Just don’t go being dickish about it publicly. If you have to be dickish and put the screws to McCarthy do it in private.” Again, even in the short time I’ve had to try and look at the total picture I’m reminded of the fact McCarthy clawed his way up to the Speaker’s Chair relatively quickly, because he knew how to do some game playing behind the scenes. I really am thinking that while there’s plenty of bat-sh*ttery to come things are going to be better than they have been for the rest of this Congress.
I want to be clear. MTG, Gaetz, Roy, Jordin and others are going to keep shouting from the rooftops about McCarthy’s betrayal. Fine. Let em. Do that and fifteen or more hard-core conservatives will lose their primary to another Crazy Caucus type but not all of them in safely red districts. And every Democrat in every race can point to them, and even if it’s just a few crazies that primary out more sensible (yet still hard-core conservatives) campaign on a “If you don’t vote for me/Democrats, look at these people! Do you really want another Republican who will give in to them for fear of getting beaten in their own primary in two years?” platform.
For now, there’s lots of real work to be done and all of a sudden Republicans, especially in the House now know that if they work across the aisle in good faith they can get a little of what they want. Like you I don’t want them to get a f**king thing. Not after all they’ve put us through ever since the rise of the Tea
Baggers Party. But that’s how politics in a representative democracy works. Non one gets everything they want, but one side or the other can get much if not most of what they want and that’s a helluva lot better than little or nothing which would be the case if the GOP of these times gets control.
So in conclusion I’ll drop the polite language (“altered”) and put it in old school terms – McCarthy teamed up with President Biden to bus the House GOP crazies to the Vet and neuter/spay the lot of them! I’d love to be a fly on the wall of any of them this weekend when it really, really sinks in that as of that House vote for all their “bigly” tough talk that’s all it is. Talk. If they thought they had leverage (MTG in particular as she’s thought herself de facto Speaker) it turns out they don’t have jack.
I always say I take my entertainment where I can find it and I’ve got a feeling watching these a$$hats flail about and flounder trying to keep their heads above water will provide more than a little entertainment. Especially if McCarthy starts throwing some shade at them!