After the drama over Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as speaker, the House has adjourned and will meet next Tuesday where the Republicans will meet for a candidate forum and begin voting for the next speaker on Wednesday. This Republican debacle is going to have ripple effects for some time. As is often the case after a humiliating experience like this, the people who come out of it looking bad try to pin the blame on others for their own mistakes and faults. In this case, the reason for the chaos is that the Republican party has ceased to be a party in the traditional sense but is now dominated by angry, unprincipled, attention-craving egomaniacs who have sworn their allegiance to an increasingly deranged cult leader.
For example, we have McCarthy blaming Democrats and former speaker Nancy Pelosi for his downfall, saying that they should have supported him “for institutional reasons”.
McCarthy blamed Democrats for his ouster as speaker — arguing that they should have supported his remaining in the top role for institutional reasons.
McCarthy said he had a discussion with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the days he was trying to wrangle enough votes to get elected speaker. McCarthy claimed that Pelosi promised to support him if he faced a challenge.
McCarthy then argued that by joining Gaetz and other Republicans, Democrats picked politics over the institution.
He also criticized the small-mindedness of the eight Republicans who voted to oust him.
The ousted speaker briefly referred to the eight hard-right Republicans who joined 208 Democrats to remove him from his post, saying: “This country is too great for small visions of those eight.”
“I’m not quite sure those individuals are looking to be productive,” he said, and also: “They don’t get to say they’re conservative because they’re angry and chaotic.”
But he saved his harshest criticism for the Democrats, who he blamed for the day’s events. “I think today was a political decision by the Democrats. And I think the things they have done in the past hurt the institution,” he said.
This lofty rhetoric of protecting the institution is really rich since McCarthy went eagerly along with serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT), the MAGA cult, and the extremist Republicans in Congress to trash as many institutions as they could in their efforts to hold on to power and promote all SSAT’s lies.
After his ouster, McCarthy said that he will not try to regain his speakership, no doubt not wishing to once again go through the 15 rounds of voting it took to win the position last time. That leaves an opening for MAGA cultist Texas congressman Troy E. Nehls to announce that he is going to nominate SSAT for speaker. (Oddly, the rules do not specify that the speaker has to be an elected member of the House.) That will be fun. If he does nominate him, and SSAT accepts the nomination, he will likely win and the House will become even more of a circus than it is currently, if you can imagine it.
SSAT has not said anything yet about McCarthy’s ouster, maybe because he has his own problems with the fraud case that he and his sons are on trial for in New York.
As a result of this humiliation, Republicans are lashing out in pique. Patrick McHenry, the pro tempore speaker who took over from McCarthy and who looks like he wants to be George Will when he grows up, ordered Nancy Pelosi to immediately remove, her belongings from the courtesy office that she was given as a former speaker.
As one of his first acts as the acting speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry ordered former Speaker Nancy Pelosi to vacate her Capitol hideaway office by Wednesday, according to an email sent to her office viewed by POLITICO.
“Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,” wrote a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee. The room was being reassigned by the acting speaker “for speaker office use,” the email said.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ staff helped Pelosi’s office make the move, according to a spokesperson for the former speaker. Here’s an image from outside the office at around 8 p.m. as staff were spotted packing up:
The former speaker blasted the eviction in a statement as “a sharp departure from tradition,” adding that she had given former Speaker Dennis Hastert “a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished” during her tenure.
What makes McHenry’s actions even more churlish is that he knew Pelosi was in San Francisco for the funeral of Diane Feinstein and was not present for the votes, so that she could not supervise the moving of her office effects.
On the positive side, there is the collateral damage to the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus that consists of conservative Democrats and Republicans. The Republicans in that group are angry that the Democrats did not vote to save McCarthy and are threatening to leave the group. I will shed no tears over this breakup since this group is like the ‘No Labels’ movement that talks a high-minded language of being beyond partisan politics but actually seeks to move the Democratic party more to the right.
What’s not clear is what the GOP is going to do about Matt Gaetz. They clearly hate him for his grandstanding and publicity-seeking and for what he has done to McCarthy and there are rumblings that they may seek to expel him from Congress.
The House GOP will move to expel Gaetz if the Ethics Committee finds him guilty, Fox News reported Sunday. Earlier this year, committee investigators reopened a probe into the Florida Republican for allegations of sexual misconduct, illegal drug use, and other wrongdoings.
Gaetz’s repeated threats to move to vacate McCarthy are apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back. “No one can stand him at this point,” a House Republican, speaking anonymously, told Fox. “A smart guy without morals.”
There seems to be bipartisan dislike of Gaetz.
In the caucus meeting, Rep. Adam Schiff quoted 'The Big Lebowski,' when telling colleagues he agreed with Matt Gaetz about McCarthy.
Gaetz "isn't wrong, he's just an a**hole," Schiff said, per two sources who were in the room.
— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) October 3, 2023
Meanwhile, while all this is going on, it should not be forgotten that the next budget deadline is coming up on November 17 and whoever is the new speaker will have to deal with it. I expect that the Republicans will be so enmeshed in intra-party wrangling that they will do absolutely nothing about the budget until about a week before the deadline.