We have seen how the GOP has taken revenge on Democrats by various petty acts because of their preposterous belief that the Democrats should have bailed McCarthy out as ‘gratitude’ for bringing the debt ceiling and continuing resolution (CR) to the floor for a vote, even though Kevin McCarthy bad-mouthed the Democrats even after they voted for the CR, and had refused to acknowledge their major role in passing it.
But the minority party in the House is already powerless and there is little other than petty things that can be done to them. But the more significant acts of revenge can be done on the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy, such as congresswoman Nancy Mace.
Elsewhere in the GOP, revenge is on the menu. House Republicans are now weighing whether to expel Mace from at least two centrist-leaning groups she belonged to, as POLITICO first reported. Her staff was quickly removed from several internal GOP communications channels shortly after her vote Tuesday.
After whipsawing between distance from and embrace of former President Donald Trump, for example, she recently opened the door to backing his primary campaign. Within the Capitol, she’s known as an outspoken critic of party leadership and a frequent guest on cable news shows.
“I’m not sure what the fallout will be. She has no coalition of support,” said one House GOP lawmaker, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal party dynamics.
“I can’t stop her from going on the Sunday shows,” this lawmaker added. “But inside the conference, she is a running joke.”
There are also suggestions to expel Matt Gaetz from Congress, though I do not expect that to happen and it is just blowing off steam. What is more likely is that they will spread salacious stories about his sleazy behavior, like these that Stephen Colbert talked about.
After McCarthy was booted from his job as speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday evening, the party members immediately went into a closed door session and emerged shortly after to say that they were adjourning for a week and returning next Tuesday to start the process of electing a new speaker.
The sudden adjournment was a surprise because it has never happened before that a speaker has been removed from office so the body was in uncharted waters and one would think that the first order of business would be to figure out what to do next. Furthermore, the deadline of November 17 to pass a new budget is fast approaching and taking a week off would not seem like a wise move. It appears that the reason they did so was because tempers were so hot that there was a real risk of physical fights breaking out and it was felt that people needed to go back to their districts and cool off.
But that has not stopped the jockeying to replace McCarthy, with Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan already having their hats in the ring. And that rivalry is already showing signs that it might be a bitter one, with McCarthy loyalists attacking Scalise for being too quick to declare his candidacy when McCarthy’s “body wasn’t even cold”, as one person said.
New tensions are colliding with old feuds in the Republican race to become House speaker, intensifying the GOP’s paralysis and raising serious questions about whether any candidate is capable of governing the conference.
Serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) has endorsed Jordan for speaker. Jordan is one of the most extreme members of the GOP but McCarthy bought him off by giving him plum committee assignments. Jordan became a McCarthy loyalist and is seen as McCarthy’s choice. Gaetz hates McCarthy and grovels before SSAT so now he has to decide what to do. Jordan and Scalise will have to do similar deals with their party members as they try to first get a majority of people within the party caucus to vote for them and then persuade at least 217 of the 221 party members to vote for them when the full House votes to elect the speaker. The Democrats will all certainly vote unanimously for their leader Hakeem Jeffries, especially after the attacks they have gotten after the McCarthy fiasco.
So there we are, right back where we were in January with McCarthy’s tortured efforts to become speaker. Back then, there was no real rival to McCarthy. This time, there is no obvious leader. If you thought that fight was nasty, I think the next one will be even worse.