The chaos previously predicted with respect to the election of a new House Speaker has turned out to be crazier and more divisive than had even been predicted.
As is by now well known, McCarthy could not afford to lose more than 4 members from the five-person Republican majority. By now he has lost 21.
As some commentators described it, the protracted fight “lays bare both the power of the hard right and the depth of its disdain” for the “transactional” political style of McCarthy. But the battle is also revealing the limitations of Trump’s ability “to reel in his allies and the burn-it-all-down political style he nurtured as his party’s standard bearer.”
One former member of Congress, former representative Carlos Curbelo of Florida, put it this way:
Donald Trump was a model for never apologizing, never backing down, disrespecting institutions and traditions, the politics of contempt. Frankenstein created a bunch of mini-Frankensteins and they are all grown up and independent now.
There are two things that I keep reading about but haven’t really got a good explanation for: first, that the dislike of McCarthy is “personal,” and second, that it’s not really clear what the dissenters want.
With respect to the first item, I have not heard or understood what McCarthy has done to the dissenters that made it “personal.” Aside from wanting the job more than either Hillary or Mitt Romney wanted the Presidency, McCarthy has been as pliable as a Gumby doll, and has already agreed to most of the dissenters previous demands.
Secondly, the answer to the question of what the dissenters now want is as clear as the water in an algae pond. (It should be noted that they may want different things, so there may not be “one answer” to this question.) NPR addressed this question this morning, looking at the 21 dissenters and what they may seem to want. It seems that these hard right Republicans are not interested in “governing” in any traditional sense, but mostly want to cause chaos and break things.
Kind of like Elon Musk.
We’ve been heading in this direction for decades, of course, with no one reining in hard right disruptors, but basically just giving them more oxygen on social media. Finally, after years and years and years of this shit, it seems that some of the moderate Republicans — especially those few who didn’t sell their souls during the Trump years — have had enough.
But they don’t seem to have the power to alter the score sheet.
I still think that it’s possible (although maybe unlikely) that McCarthy strikes a deal with the Democrats to produce a slightly less radical and more bipartisan Congress. Otherwise, I don’t quite see how this saga ends.