House Republicans Learn The Steep Cost Of Having No Shame
Stay tuned — there’s more schadenfreude to come.
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If anyone is having less fun as a congressional Rep.-elect than Kevin McCarthy, I don’t know who that might be.
Oh, wait a minute…found one. I just caught a glimpse of George Santos, or Anthony Devolder, or whatever he’s calling himself today. We should call him Congressman Alone With His Phone if they ever get around to swearing in the 118th Congress. It’s hard to stand out as a pathetic figure among the Republicans in this House, who include Lauren “I’ve Got More Guns Than You Do” Boebert, Matt “Keep Your Teenage Daughters Away From Me Please” Gaetz, and the Two Goofs from Arizona, Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar --- but somehow George-Anthony “Yeah! That’s The Ticket!” Devolder-Santos manages it with a level of self-pity that rises to new heights with every breath that escapes his lungs.
But it’s not like McCarthy and his party aren’t getting what’s coming to them, because they didn’t just stand by while a pack of crazies ran for office and took over their party, they actively encouraged them. Donald Trump weaponized shamelessness, and Republican after Republican did exactly what he did: They lied every time they opened their mouths. Devolder-Santos isn’t an exception to the Republican rule. He is the rule. Trump taught him you could lie about anything and get away with it, so he took his example and ran with it.
So did countless others, beginning with the 147 Republican members of the House who voted not to accept the electoral certificates of Arizona and Pennsylvania. With broken glass still scattered on the floor of the Capitol building and repairmen working on the damage done to the Senate chamber and the Speaker’s offices, a large majority of the Republicans who were only hours before cowering in basement rooms and behind the protections afforded them from being bused to Ft. McNair, showed with their votes to overturn the election that they had no shame.
They’re still in the House, most of them, and they’re participating in this disaster for the country – not to mention for their party – like kids who brought the football to the playground and are threatening to take it home unless the others agree to play by their rules.
As the House went into the sixth ballot, the D.C. Punditry Establishment were in agreement that McCarthy doesn’t have a plan to break the gridlock brought on by the Insurrection Caucus in his party, but I think they’re not giving him credit for the steel in his butt as he sits there taking one hit after another in full view of his wife and kids and friends and the very, very few others who matter to him at this point in his miserable life.
This is a man whose politics since he came into office way back in 2007 have been me-me-me-me-me right from the get-go. He is showing us on an hour-by-hour basis how badly he has wanted to be Speaker of the House as he sits there stony-faced taking hit after hit from the likes of Boebert and Gaetz and the rest of them. Not even his groveling before the Hermit of Mar a Lago has helped. Trump announced publicly yesterday that the Republicans in the House should back McCarthy and vote him in as Speaker. Didn’t have much effect, as the pundits on MSNBC have somehow found a way to describe the 20 votes against McCarthy today as worse than the 20 votes against him yesterday.
It's hard to find the words to describe the level of humiliation McCarthy and the Republican Party are subjecting themselves to for a second day. It didn’t humiliate them to look around the House chamber and see the fruits of their shamelessness – Marjorie Taylor Greene proudly standing by her anti-Semitic idiocy about Jewish space lasers; and Paul Gosar, who gave the keynote address to the America First Political Action Conference hosted by neo-Nazi and white supremacist Nick Fuentes; and Andy Biggs, who was one of 14 Republicans who voted against making Juneteenth a national holiday. I could go on, but the gridlocked House chamber is packed with these half-wits. The fact that the only one they shun is their lying sack of shit representative from Long Island speaks volumes. You can cozy up to Holocaust deniers and racists, but woe be unto you if you lie about working for Goldman Sachs!
The operative emotion on the Democratic side is outright joy. They’re looking across the aisle at the 15 Republicans who flipped Democratic districts, including the six from New York who won their races in districts carried by Biden in 2020, and the Democrats are rubbing their hands together with glee. This Republican clusterfuck is writing 2024 TV ads for them. They know they’re going to be taking back the House in two years, probably with a more comfortable margin than they had for the last two years.
In fact, this Republican melt-down is starting to look like a blinking sign that the Democrats will take back the House in 2024 and hold it for a while. If Republicans do even half the shit they’re promising, like shutting down the government by refusing to raise the debt limit or negotiate a budget that can get through both houses, their party won’t see a majority in the lower chamber until their base of voters finally gets tired enough of the bullshit to expel some of these loons and put people who will govern in their place.
In the meantime, McCarthy is paying the price for his party’s embrace of shamelessness. His career is probably over, and there will be more Republican careers that will perish with him over this display of childish pique. Member after member, in nominating McCarthy again and again, has proudly said it's “the people’s house.” They’re right, insofar as the people they’re talking about are the childish brats who voted them into office. The thing they’re going to relearn if they ever knew it in the first place as this plays out is that brats don’t always get their way, and that time is coming.
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.
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