Here we go again. There was a time when I could have told you exactly how many times a Republican-led House threatened to upend the global economy just for the sake of sturm und drang. Gotta keep those emotions high high high — else how can you justify those “my hair is on fire and the sky is falling” fundraising emails? But it happens with such regularity nowadays that I’ve totally lost count.
Fortunately, the Lincoln Project has also been keeping score and they’ve decided to help Kevin McCarthy. Good. If ever a man needed help, it’s hard to think of a more desperate recipient than McCarthy. Some people were born to legislate, he is not one of them.
Here is Kevin, as riveting on camera as he is behind the scenes. Or so we are told. The one behind the scenes comment of McCarthy’s that is burned in my mind is when he told Paul Ryan, “There are two guys I’m sure are on Putin’s payroll. One is Rohrabacher and the other’s Trump.” To which Ryan replied, “We’re all family here right? This stays here?”
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) April 17, 2023
This is what the latest debt ceiling debacle looks like on McCarthy’s watch.
What’s that you say? Doesn’t Congress create the budget and the president signs? Only Kevin claims that he doesn’t even know what his budget Chair, Jodey Arrington, is talking about?
That’s hardly a propitious beginning but it is vintage McCarthy.
Instead of owning up to failure, McCarthy appears to be looking for a scapegoat.
Behind the scenes, he’s been trash-talking his own GOP colleagues, according to a blockbuster New York Times story Thursday by Jonathan Swan and Annie Karni.
Among its revelations: McCarthy has “no confidence” in House Budget Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), whom he regards as “incompetent” and considers House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) “ineffective, checked out and reluctant to take a position on anything.”
Conversations with more than a half-dozen senior Republican lawmakers and aides revealed some additional context on the “Mean Girls” drama playing out in McCarthy’s leadership circle:
There’s a reason McCarthy is singling out Arrington and Scalise, and it’s about more than just disagreements over policy or strategy. People close to McCarthy tell us that he perceives both men as disloyal — and he’s known to hold a grudge.
Revenge trumps legislation in this iteration of the House of Representatives. Jim Jordan is flailing away, trying to find whistleblowers, scapegoats at the very least, while McCarthy has his scapegoats lined up.
Meanwhile, the days are ticking by on the calendar. Let’s see McCarthy balance the budget in ten years. Let’s see him balance a ball on his nose like a seal, too. Might as well start out with something doable, right?