Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Literary Corner: Raucous Caucus

Drawing by Harry Bliss.



Then Boebert even got a chance to deliver a funny:

That's a pretty good line, for her. 

I'm generally very skeptical of Big Man theories of political power as a property of some kind of personal mana or visible manifestation of authority emanating from the typically male leader, but I have to admit that there really is some kind of thing, which Kevin McCarthy conspicuously doesn't have, that is impelling him into this puddle of fail. All his crazies in the Raucous Caucus recognize it—when he takes the Lord's name in vain ("God damn it") to show what a relentlessly tough cookie he is, he just sounds like clueless Dad wondering why all the kids still have their devices on, and when he "makes clear he will negotiate no more" it's just all the plainer that he'll never stop wheedling and trying to put something together. 

That's Fine With Me

by Kevin O. McCarthy, Speaker-Almost-Designate of the House of Representatives

there are times we're going to argue with our members
if they're looking only for positions for themselves
not for the country
for the last two months we worked together as a whole conference
to develop rules that would empower all members
but we're not empowering certain members over others
last night I was presented the only way to have 218 votes
if I provided certain members with certain positions
certain gavels to take over certain committees
certain budgets and they even came to the position
where one Matt Gaetz said I don't care
if we go to pluralities and we elect Hakeem Jeffries
and it hurts the new frontline members not to get reelected
well that's not about America
and I will always fight to put the American people first
not a few individuals that want something for themselves
so we may have a battle on the floor
but the battle is for the conference and the country
and that's fine with me

It's almost sweet, the faith he has in the first place that the Speaker never empowers certain members over others, and how he exposes this blackmail plot as if it wasn't obviously what's been going on, and as if "one Matt Gaetz" would be inspired to shame and regret to beg forgiveness and change his vote. Gaetz is loving this! Gaetz is in heaven!

So here was are after the third ballot, adjourning for the day; Democrats get to go home but Republicans have taken delivery of the God-fearing brand of chicken sandwich and will continue negotiating into the night

Bags of Chick-fil-A are being wheeled across the House side of the building — a sign of a long night ahead for those still here.

("he would negotiate no more" indeed!) and Donald Trump is showing signs of interest in throwing Kevin under his own personal bus

Former President Donald J. Trump, who endorsed Kevin McCarthy for speaker and called members who were still on the fence in an attempt to whip votes for him, appeared to have cooled to him slightly after he failed to win the speakership on the three separate votes. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll see how it all works out,” he told NBC’s Garrett Haake...

At one point it started seeming possible that they really might end up electing Jeffries, maybe just out of bad arithmetic when they were counting the "present" votes, and it's still not inconceivable that "moderate" Republicans will make a deal with Democrats to back an entirely alternative candidate (I'm imagining a GOP "Problem Solver" like Dean Phillips of Minnesota or Dusty Johnson of South Dakota). Ex-Rep. David Jolly of Florida is telling MSNBC viewers as I type that McCarthy is finished already not because he's humiliated but because "nobody trusts him". It seems more likely to me that Democrats will end up rescuing McCarthy by voting "present" in sufficient numbers that McCarthy will have the majority of those who are actually voting, though not of the House. I hope they extract a decent price (agreement to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown, for starters) and I hope they make him sweat a lot more. And if they do he'll still be out again in a matter of months.

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