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This is not normal. Don’t let them get away with claiming that the now three-day Speaker election dysfunction is how democracy works. It is not.
This is not normal. Electing a Speaker by the time it gets to the floor is a formality; it’s negotiated in advance. Republicans are all over the news and their media saying this is perfectly normal, which is more Kellyanne Conway style gaslighting. Let’s set the record straight.
Kevin McCarthy has lost a seventh vote to become the next Speaker of the House.
They don’t get to rename an assault on our democracy and institutions to avoid accountability. It is lies like these that further the divide in this country and buttress election lies that have led repeatedly to violence. And yes, this is yet another form of election lie.
Kevin McCarthy is now on day three of trying to get elected to the Speaker of the House position he took so for granted he has already moved into Nancy Pelosi’s office.
When Republicans try to claim this failure is perfectly normal, it’s “The People,” at work, that is a lie. It’s 20 people, 20 far-Right radicals, upset that they aren’t being catered to. Where did they ever get that idea? This is tyranny of the minority again. Republicans’ own tactics being used to destroy them — in front of the whole world.
They’re doing this for their own power. It’s disrespect for the institution and The People it’s meant to serve.
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Of course, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is to blame ultimately. What kind of leader goes to the floor repeatedly for a vote without being sure he has the votes? To make matters even worse, McCarthy is reportedly threatening the “rebels” behind the scenes, according to them, and it’s easy to believe that’s true given that Kevin McCarthy made a “joke” about how it would be hard not to use the gavel to hit Nancy Pelosi.
Kevin McCarthy is not a man known for his leadership skills. Every would-be speaker has to face “rebels” in their own caucus. The good leaders know how to finesse these negotiations to be a win-win. But to be fair to McCarthy, this gang doesn’t seem satisfied with anything he offers them. It seems they are unwilling to accept him as leader, but this is something he should have addressed prior to the 6 votes we’ve endured thus far.
Tomorrow it will be two years ago that 139 House Republicans voted against certifying the presidential election. That was a profound abuse of the public trust and disrespect for our institutions. And here they go again. They remain a threat to democracy. Nothing has changed.
It’s not normal no matter what they say. Some of their own members acknowledge this: Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ) compared the process to Dante’s nine circles of Hell, saying, “I’m in at least one of them right now.”
But so are we all, especially when two other options being thrown out are Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.
Republicans are now whining that Democrats need to help Republicans by voting for a Republican to show bipartisanship. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) had the nerve to say that if Democrats had only voted for Rep. Byron Donalds yesterday, the fight over who will be speaker would be over. The entitlement expecting Democrats to fix this by voting for a Republican is astonishing.
Republicans need help, so they need to do the compromising. This should be pretty basic. And I hate to break it to them, but no Democrat is going to vote for Steve Scalise, who has not only addressed white nationalists before but reportedly introduced himself with this charming shorthand, “He told me he was like David Duke, without the baggage.” Or Jim Jordan, who called a ten-year-old rape victim a liar in his effort to deny that abortion is healthcare, and then deleted his tweet when the rapist was charged.
Before more demands come from Republicans for help from Democrats, let’s go back to this Kevin McCarthy: “I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it.” He said that after Pelosi had been a target of a 1/6 assassination attempt from McCarthy’s own shared base of Trump supporters.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), chair of the Freedom Caucus that is leading this fit, sought a presidential pardon for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election, but yesterday he claimed that he’s learned to “take fire” for the American people as a way of explaining his role in this shameful attack on our democracy.
This man literally tried to steal my vote and the vote of the majority of voters in Pennsylvania. Perry justified investigations into the 2020 Election with wild claims, including alleging that Italian satellites changed the votes here.
Lest you think that was just more conservative crazy talk, “A call was actually placed by Secretary Miller to the Attaché in Italy to investigate the claim that Italian satellites were changing votes from Trump to Biden,” Adam Kinsinger said. “This is one of the best examples of the lengths former President Trump would go to to stay in power.”
Perry is not “taking fire” for the American people.
And of course, the four Republican members of Congress who were referred to the House Ethics Committee for failing to comply with subpoenas are: Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and Andy Biggs.
If they did not honor a Congressional subpoena, how could anyone expect them to lead Congress. They do not respect the power of the institution to do its job.
According to testimony from former aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Cassidy Hutchinson, among the Republican House members who asked for a pardon: Scott Perry, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Louie Gohmert.
They asked for a pardon for their role in trying to steal votes and overturn an election, and now many of them are trying to suggest that what we are witnessing is totally normal and is actually for The People.
Marjorie Taylor Green threw her fellow conservatives who are not supporting McCarthy (Matt Gaetz, Scott Perry, Lauren Boebert, etc.) under the bus in a video clip, saying that one of them didn’t even vote to overturn the election on January 6th, which is what the base wanted.
Now, I suspect that this is where the idea that what they’re doing is for “The People” comes from, but of course that is disingenuous. Who lied to the base claiming election fraud? That’s right. Trump and these MAGA Republicans.
As I got into in my pod about what Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary exposed about how the media works, the Right wing media deliberately elevates the lowest voices from the internet, wash them to give them legitimacy while also providing cover for the “journalists” who are just “reporting” on these neo-Nazis types… and then the far-Right, astrofurfed, populist puppets like Marjorie Taylor Greene et al repeat these talking points and want to investigate them, thereby inserting them forever into history as something legitimate.
They are taking 4 Chan, 8 Chan, white nationalist message board talking points and inserting them into the mainstream. They’ve been doing this for a decade. Doing the work of enemies to democracy, presumably for the personal glory and power. All of the dark money flowing in our politics and going to these Republicans, who are then parrotting these talking points that serve the agenda of foreing power, makes it impossible to know.
So when they claim they are doing the work of the people, the MAGA base, that is a base that these same people have propagandized to, radicalized, and used. Many of them are in jail now after January 6th, but not these Republicans who lied to them.
And, of course, why is Marjorie Taylor Greene so mad? She’s mad because she’s been promised great power by Kevin McCarthy. Like the rest of the MAGA crowd, MTG is just here to stroke her own ego, to get on Fox News and other far Right cable hits, to be powerful.
What’s happening here is this gang is not fit for governing. They can’t handle it. They can’t even pick a Speaker. And before that gets normalized, here’s what President Biden said about this mess:
Remarks by President Biden Before Air Force One Departure (sent to PoliticusUSA by the White House press office, edited by me for brevity and clarity):
Q Mr. President, are you concerned about the implications of there not being a functioning House of Representatives at this point?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, obviously, I am. For two reasons. One, it's embarrassing for the country. I mean, literally. It’s just the reality is that to have a Congress that can't function is just embarrassing. We're the greatest nation in the world. How can that be? And we've had a lot of trouble with a lot of trouble with the attacks on our institutions already. And it just - that’s what worries me more than anything else.
We’ve had a lot of trouble with attacks on our institutions. Indeed. What he didn’t say was that the attacks mostly came from these same people. There have been relentless, ongoing violence, dangerous propaganda, and lies coming from the Republican side of the aisle since 2015.
Yesterday, these people – who tried steal votes from millions of Americans – were on the House floor claiming what we were watching was the American people are in charge. Coincidentally, a lot of bot type and newer accounts were tweeting this is the government working and this is how democracy works.
This is how Trumpified government works. This is what you get from elected officials and constituents who are angered by how the country is changing and have been lied to so thoroughly that they put themselves in legal jeopardy because they thought the election had been stolen from them.
Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy defendant Kenneth Harrelson "didn’t know there was a House of Representatives and a Senate" when he first met his lawyer last year, according to his attorney.
So no, this is not The People at work.
The people lying to their base, the people responsible for some of their base facing legal ramifications for their actions on 1/6, these election deniers are still in Congress, claiming to be doing the work of the people.
It would be easy to think that these folks in the House were empowered to behave this way by Trumpism, by the success of his lies, and I think that’s partially true. Trump got away with a lot by simply declaring reality and the media went along for the ride, as shown in a study.
But conservatives have been trying to break government at least since Obama. They did this in fact under Clinton. When they are not in power in the executive branch, they loathe the federal government. When they are in power, they weaponize the executive branch to attack political foes. These are not people running on an ideology, other than to break government.
Former Republican Speaker John Boehner called this out in his book, “What they're really interested in is chaos. They want to throw sand in the gears of the hated federal government until it fails and they've finally proved that it's beyond saving."
That is not working for the people. The only “people” who benefit if government stops working are the very wealthy who are more able to be run businesses without oversight or regulations, and to continue to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
These are astroturfed extremists. They are working for the top 1%. They themselves might be “stupid,” but to fall into that attack is to miss the way they themselves are willingly being used. This is self-interest on steroids.
Nancy Pelosi said late last night, “None of us has seen anything like this disrespect for the institution in a most cavalier, frivolous way. It’s quite sad. But let’s be hopeful that in the next day or so as they find their purpose and their unity, they understand why they are here.”
A reminder of some of what Democrats got done when they were in charge:
American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, PACT Act, CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, Respect for Marriage Act. Democrats got all of that done. Because they weren’t fighting it out among themselves on the House Floor like elementary school children.