For These GOP Radicals, Kevin McCarthy Was Just A Bump In The Road
Leon Trotsky just had a good day in the Congress of the United States. He was the man who conceived of the ideology of permanent revolution, of endless war against the bureaucracy and the evil establishment. That pretty much sums up the far-right radicals of the Republican Party. They’re not satisfied with a win here, a win there, maybe a draw in between. They want it all, and they want it now. When Kevin McCarthy wouldn’t play their game, they sent him into internal exile. To hell with governing! Up the revolution!
It's an imperfect comparison, but that’s what is happening with the Republican Party, and we just saw the first fruits of this radical takeover of the party by a faction that is not a faction. They are the Republican Party. They want it all. Anyone who gets in their way, they will destroy. McCarthy didn’t even really get in their way. He’s as MAGA as the man who introduced the motion to vacate that brought him down, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). They’re not even squabbling amongst themselves over little differences in what they want to do, because they don’t want to do anything. They have modeled themselves on the example of their Maximum Leader, Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for Republicans he believes have crossed him to be expelled from the party or defeated at the polls. Now Trump has fully entered his Stalinist phase, coming out and calling for the execution of people he considers to have been disloyal, the most recent example being General Mark Milley. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), one of Gaetz’s allies, quickly echoed Trump’s threat to kill Milley.
There isn’t anyone in the Republican Party sitting back and theorizing about the revolution currently underway except perhaps Steve Bannon, who has made no secret of his admiration of Trotsky and Lenin in the past. Bannon had a good day in the ousting of Kevin McCarthy by the far-far-Right faction of the larger MAGA Republican Party that makes up a huge majority of the Republican caucus. As Bannon told Ronald Radosh in 2013, before Trump had even stuck his nose over the parapet of the Republican Party, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
All the analysis underway on MSNBC and CNN as we speak is mired in the teeny little details of House rules and McCarthy’s mistakes and the nakedness of his ambition. The smartest thing I’ve heard said so far points out that McCarthy gave away so much when he made all his deals with the far-right of his party in January to attain the speakership that he stripped himself of any power he had to fight back. Hell, it was Gaetz who demanded a brand-new rule that a motion to vacate could be brought at any time by a single member of the House, and he harvested the fruits of his demand today. It is true that McCarthy was the weakest speaker in memory and that he sowed the seeds of his own destruction, but the problem with the Republican Party is larger than the fate of McCarthy, and it is dangerous not just to him, but to the country as a whole.
Republicans sold off any claim they had to legitimacy as a political party to Donald Trump when the moderately sane among them held their noses and backed him in 2016 and elected him as president. They’re still doing it. Most recently, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he will support Trump for president even though Trump is under indictment in his own state.
Trump himself is calling for shoplifters to be shot as they exit a store…yes, he said that will be done when he is elected…and calling for missile attacks on drug cartels inside Mexico, and indicating that he will back challenges to birthright citizenship that is protected by the Constitution. Followers of Trump are already writing vendetta lists and naming targets for departments and personnel who will be eliminated when Trump is elected.
Tim Miller, himself a former Republican political operative, helpfully spells it out for us in a post today on The Bulwark about a man by the name of Mike Davis. Davis isn’t some fringe character posting wild tweets on X or Truth Social. He’s a former DOJ official in the Bush administration and former aide to Neil Gorsuch and Chuck Grassley and Newt Gingrich and frequent MAGA guest on Fox News, Newsmax, and other far-right outlets. As Miller reports, Davis has come forth with the behind-the-scenes plans being laid right now for the next Trump administration. Davis was asked by Benny Johnson (no, I’ve never heard of him either) in an interview on his right-wing online talk show what his first moves would be if he is appointed Attorney General by Trump. Here is Davis’ response, in full, and before you read further, I will note right here that we fail to pay attention to this stuff at our peril.
“During my three-week reign of terror as Trump acting attorney general, before I get chased out of town with my Trump pardon, I will rain hell on Washington, D.C. We’ve talked about this, Ben. I have five lists, ready to go, and they’re growing.
"List number one, we’re gonna fire. We’re gonna fire a lot of people in the executive branch, in the deep state.
"Number two, we’re gonna indict. We’re gonna indict Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and James Biden and every other scumball, sleazeball Biden, except for the five year-old granddaughter who they refused to acknowledge for five years until the political pressure got to Joe Biden.
"Number three, we’re gonna deport. We’re gonna deport a lot of people, 10 million people and growing—anchor babies, their parents, their grandparents. We’re gonna put kids in cages. It’s gonna be glorious. We’re gonna detain a lot of people in the D.C. gulag and Gitmo.
"And list number five, I’m gonna recommend a lot of pardons. Every January 6th defendant is gonna get a pardon, especially my hero horn man. He is definitely at the top of the pardon list.”
Just so you know, Davis is indicating that a new Trump administration would deport so-called “anchor babies” born to immigrants in the U.S. who are American citizens, and he is echoing recent threats by Trump to go after his enemies and jail them.
In case we lost track of what’s going on in the midst of all the manufactured drama around Kevin McCarthy, let’s be clear on at least this much. MAGA Republicans led by their dictator-in-waiting don’t want to govern, even though as members of the House of Representatives that is the definition of the job they were elected to do. They want to tear down the government of the United States and replace it with what amounts to a theocratic autocracy led by a man who brandished a Bible at a photo-op in front of a church on the day that police violently cleared McArthur Park of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in 2020.
They don’t care about Kevin McCarthy any more than we do. Pundits kept talking about the “dual scenes” of Trump being on trial in Manhattan while McCarthy was effectively on trial in the House of Representatives. They aren’t dual scenes. They’re all of a piece. MAGA Republicans don’t care about McCarthy any more than they care if Trump is convicted in Manhattan or any of his other three trials. They tried it once on January 6, 2021, and they’ll keep trying it until they bring down the government of the United States and replace it with the man who will build a gulag and fill it with his and their enemies, if that’s what it takes. They’re not crazy. They’re radicals, they’re determined, and Kevin McCarthy is just a bump in their road.
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.
- Right-Wing Media Scorches 'Stupid' GOP Leaders Over Government Shutdown ›
- Pushing Impeachment, McCarthy Tramples His Own Rule On Full House Vote ›
- Swing District Polls Show Voters Reject GOP Biden Impeachment ›
- Under Threat From Far Right, McCarthy Announces Impeachment Inquiry ›
- Biden Mocks McCarthy Seeking Credit For Investments He Opposed ›
- Surprise! Kevin McCarthy Says He Is 'Willing' To Run For Speaker Again - National Memo ›
- The MAGA Culture Of Menace Is Not A Surprise - National Memo ›
- Moms For Liberty Activist Pushed Anne Frank Book Ban -- And Joined Antisemitic Broadcast - National Memo ›
- Former Speaker McCarthy Says Matt Gaetz 'Belongs In Jail' - National Memo ›