Celebrating Its Chaos, Freedom Caucus Expels Margie
While House Republican leadership is desperately trying to tamp down the narrative of a party in total disarray, the House Freedom Caucus crowd is reveling in the free-for-all. At least, that’s what some of them are telling PunchBowl News. The group “is finding unity in disunity,” Punchbowl reports, which is some bullshit justifying the constant infighting and power struggles that have seen them squabbling on the House floor and fighting over who to purge from their ranks. That internecine warfare is all good, one member says, because it shows their independence or something.
“Unity and conformity are two different things,” Texas Rep. Michael Cloud says. “If everybody thought the same, then you have a lot of duplication that’s unnecessary. So, I see that as a strength.” Unnecessary duplication would also be what you call a governing majority in a parliamentary body, but never mind. The priority of the members of the Freedom Caucus is definitely not governing.
The “identity crisis” in the caucus has been brewing for well over a year with the influx of MAGA members intent on building their own personal brand. The likes of Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and former Rep. Madison Cawthorne are all vying to be the most outrageous, obnoxious, attention-grabbing far-right personality of the day. They butted up against the old guard, like Rep. Jim Jordan, who wanted to use the tools of the system to … build his personal brand, centered on yelling about the Biden Crime Family in committee hearings.
The latest in-group skirmish is that well-publicized blow-up between Boebert and Greene over who gets credit for trying to impeach President Joe Biden. That gave many in the caucus the excuse they’ve been looking for to take on Greene, which they did just before leaving for the July 4 recess. The caucus held a vote on whether or not to expel her for all the things they’re mad about, mostly that she’s too cozy with Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Because of course any group that wants to see its agenda succeed can’t be caught working with leadership to grease the skids? These people.
The caucus has been trying to keep the result of that vote on Greene’s membership and her status in the group a secret. Of course that didn’t work, these people are too keen on blabbing and sniping about each other to reporters. Maryland member Rep. Andy Harris let the cat out of the bag: She’s out in what he calls “an appropriate action” for her betrayals.
On the one hand, this group’s inability to all row together in the same direction is a good thing for preserving democracy. Their constant stumbling over each other and their inability to say “yes” when they’re getting concessions means a lot of destructive legislation hasn’t happened over the years. At the same time, the chaos combined with a tiny Republican majority in the House gives every single one of them the power to blow things up.
For some reason, this chaos has actually attracted new members. If anything, the growth of the Freedom Caucus is a condemnation of the rest of the House Republican conference, which has the numbers to crush the few dozen-member caucus on votes if the majority of House Republicans would use them. However, that would mean working across the aisle with Democrats. So far, the so-called moderates prefer to let the nihilists call the shots.
They’re following their leader, who is going to cater to—or crater to—the extremists every time. Before they took off for their extended Independence Day break, McCarthy had yet another meeting with the Freedom Caucus, pleading with them to let him do his job and fund the government. That’s an appeal that’s unlikely to work because the misfits seem hellbent on making sure that spotlight is focused intensely on their petty protests rather than actually getting anything done.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
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