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Speaker Kevin McCarthy took repeated victory laps over his alleged debt ceiling victory and the press obliged. He was hailed as underrated, brilliant, masterful and more, even though the debt ceiling “deal” was only accomplished with the help of Democrats, yet again.
Democrats rescued McCarthy from his own hostage taking, but he got press like:
“Underestimated McCarthy emerges from debt deal empowered as speaker”
“McCarthy Earns the Speakership”
“ has strengthened his grip on power during the debt ceiling fight”
“Speaker Kevin McCarthy has shown 'abilities' no one thought he had: Karl Rove”
“This principle was brilliantly implemented by Speaker McCarthy’s debt ceiling strategy”
“Kevin McCarthy earned his stripes as Republican speaker”
McCarthy inhaled all of that hot air and announced giddily that his next agenda was to “Root out wokeness in government, NO new $4 billion FBI building, Secure the border”.
Wokeness, you’ve been put on notice, along with law enforcement!
… But then in less than a Scaramucci, it all went away again…. over an attempt to bring to the floor the “Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act”.
You’re probably thinking: But the freedom of gas stoves has been on everyone’s mind, even though we know their freedom wasn’t at risk — ever — because we operate in a fact based universe, how could this super unimportant, non-issue of prohibiting the use of federal funds to ban gas stoves have been opposed?!?
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What would cause McCarthy’s own caucus to slap him publicly as he was bragging about “turning the ship”?
Because the House Majority is so small, if Rep. Matt Gaetz and three of his friends decided to do so, they could block every bill from coming to the House floor for a vote. McCarthy would need Democrats to help him launch Republicans’ frequently kind of bonkers bills.
How did Kevin McCarthy go from being an alleged brilliant strategist to having his own caucus refuse to allow a vote on a bill to stop something that isn’t real?
reactionary nihilists watch and learn
It was Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FLA) who brought his “concern” to the table along with 10 other House nihilistic reactionaries who identify as the “Freedom Caucus,” although no one has ever confirmed that they are indeed pro-freedom for anyone who isn’t a white, male, straight conservative.
Gaetz crossed the aisle to join Democrats to block two gas stove bills, priorities for Republicans, because they are mad over that deal for which McCarthy is taking victory laps. Apparently, they can read, yet McCarthy didn’t anticipate that they would.
Gaetz et al took their fury to the press, having learned the real lesson from the decade plus of Republican debt ceiling hostage taking: IF YOU WANT SOMETHING YOU CAN’T GET AND SHOULDN’T HAVE BECAUSE THE PEOPLE DENIED YOU THE NUMBERS, JUST TAKE A HOSTAGE.
they found out
The Angry Right found out the truth about the deal and they’re not happy.
After McCarthy managed to sell conservatives on pretending they got a good deal, McCarthy was hailed as brilliant and many, many bad takes were served about how he had proven himself someone to contend with over this “deal”. The same “deal” in which they prioritized rolling back IRS enforcement funding, which, if implemented according to their hopes, would actually increase the debt by billions.
To add insult to injury, the great victory of Republicans was to force more people off of SNAP through work requirements (they call this “freedom”). But… that too will increase federal spending by $2.1 billion over 10 years because the added benefits pushed by Democrats will add “almost 80,000 people to the rolls in an average month.”
they don’t even trust McCarthy - demand deal in writing
“Unfortunately, two weeks a deal was made and it broke away what we had made,” Rep. Chip Roy told reporters.
Gaetz said: “We took down the rule because we're frustrated at the way the place is operating. We're concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed McCarthy to assume the speakership have been violated.”
They demand that Speaker Kevin McCarthy put in writing that he will go back to their January agreement. OR ELSE.
It was a historic humiliation. It's been more than two decades since the House voted against a rule. But it happened on Tuesday to Kevin McCarthy.
As we wrote on PoliticusUSA, McCarthy might have saved face with the debt ceiling “deal,” but he “already gave his critics everything to get the gavel, so the only thing left that his opponents could possibly want is for Kevin McCarthy not to be the Speaker of the House any longer.”
Things were so humiliating that beltway types like Jake Sherman wrote, “An incredible embarrassment for the House Republican leadership. The morning McCarthy tries to turn the page, conservatives slap him and his leadership team in the face.”
there might be hope for McCarthy
The “Freedom Caucus” gang were spotted going in to the Speaker’s office Tuesday afternoon close to 5 PM Eastern time, including Scott Perry, Dan Bishop, Byron Donalds, Chip Roy and Michael Cloud.
humiliation is McCarthy’s secret power
If Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a secret power, it’s enduring humiliation.
McCarthy is Greg from Succession, riding Tom’s coattails, changing directions as the wind blows. He didn’t have an easy time getting voted to be Speaker — and he lacks the consensus making power of a Nancy Pelosi type Speaker. But after 15 rounds of voting — the most since the Civil War, he found himself holding the gavel, however tenuously.
Then came the debt ceiling showdown initiated by representatives who identify as “conservatives” even though their actions are most often reactionary rather than conservative. Kevin McCarthy was bailed out again by Democrats and by President Biden, who allowed McCarthy to set the narrative that he had won hours before the President gave his version of events, which when finally given were praising bipartisanship. The deal, however, is a lot of moving around of funds: A shell game to hide the truth from the Freedom Caucus.
Kevin McCarthy has shown one enduring strength as a politician: Humiliation rolls off of his back like water off of a duck’s back. Perhaps he expects humiliation. Most people have some core sense of self that wouldn’t allow this level of rather consistent humiliation, but not Kevin McCarthy. In the end, if he has the power, he seems happy.
But how long will he be able to stave off the hungry beast of ever more histrionic Right wing demands?
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