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Tag: republican civil war

McCarthy's Spineless 'Leadership' Is Destroying GOP Caucus -- And Him

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's dreams of one day becoming speaker of the House are going up in flames as the Republican caucus devolves into a raging inferno of internecine guerrilla warfare.

Specifically, House GOP radicals have turned caucus politics into an unsightly brawl more resembling the kicking, screaming, hair pulling, and spitting of a middle-school rivalry than the growing pains of major political party plotting its path to renewed relevance.

No one is more central to this uniquely embarrassing GOP drama than McCarthy, who has turned spinelessness into an ethic in his quest for power. McCarthy's moral deficit has left any members of the GOP conference who still possess a shred of integrity to condemn the actions of the extremists putting the lives of both their GOP colleagues and Democratic counterparts at risk.

It started last month with McCarthy allowing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia to target as "traitors" the 13 House Republicans who voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill supported by nearly two-thirds of the country. Egged on by Greene & Co., death threats ensued, but McCarthy turned the other cheek, because speakership.

But death threats left unchecked breed more death threats and, once McCarthy proved his obsequiousness, the GOP extremists were bound to expand outward. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado got right to work, deploying Islamophobic slurs against Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

After Boebert tagged Omar the "jihad squad” and McCarthy crawled under a rock, GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois called Boebert "TRASH" for hurling the anti-Muslim trope.

But it was Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina who would draw the next trashy moniker after she "100%" condemned Boebert's dangerous antics on CNN Tuesday. In response, Greene labeled Mace "the trash of the GOP Conference" in a Tuesday morning tweet.

Despite Mace telling CNN Tuesday that she hadn't come to Congress to name-call, the exchange devolved quickly.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene is a liar. And I’m not going to tolerate lies, racism or bigotry, whether you are Republican or Democrat,” Mace said during a Tuesday interview on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business show. “She’s crazy. She’s insane. She’s bad for the party. And I’m not going to put up with it.”

This is exactly what happens in a caucus completely devoid of moral leadership. Indeed, McCarthy has become so useless, some of the GOP's saner caucus members are actually publicly begging him to at least act like a leader.

“I think when you’re in a position of leadership, you have to stand up. You have to deal with it,” said Rep. Tom Reed of New York, one of the 13 GOP House members who voted for the infrastructure bill. “I appreciate the fact that Kevin called our colleague directly to discuss the matter with her. But at some point in time, you also have to stand up and just call it out for what it is. This type of rhetoric cannot be condoned. It cannot be upheld.”

If McCarthy had more than two brain cells to rub together, he would realize this truth: His bid for the speakership is over, particularly if he continues to let the GOP radicals roll him like a limbless log day in and day out. Last week, Greene used Rep. Matt Gaetz’s podcast to note that McCarthy doesn't have “the full support" of the caucus to be speaker.

"There’s many of us that are very unhappy about the failure to hold Republicans accountable, while conservatives like me, Paul Gosar and many others just constantly take the abuse by the Democrats," Greene said.

It’s over, McCarthy. You appeased the radicals right into burning you at the stake.

GOP Takes Three-Pronged Stab At Obama’s Address, Each With Different Message

WASHINGTON — Republicans took multiple tries to deliver their reaction to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.

In addition to the officially sanctioned Republican Party response by Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and a Spanish-language version by Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Tea Party Express faction continued its practice of delivering a separate speech, this year by Utah Senator Mike Lee.

And Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who had delivered the Tea Party Express response last year, staked out his own turf this year with a YouTube address. Nor was that the only response from his family. His father, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, held an interactive town hall with supporters during and after the address.

For a party fighting the perception it’s at war with itself, the competing speeches were an unwelcome and very public reminder of the divisions that remain. Although including some common themes focused on the economy and smaller government, the rival addresses highlighted the intraparty battles that could undermine the GOP’s chances of winning key Senate contests in upcoming elections.

“I wish we’d speak with one voice. I really do,” said Senator John McCain (R-AZ). “The American people need to have one message from the Republican Party.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, the first woman to deliver a Republican response to the annual presidential address, said party unity is not what it was when she rebutted Bill Clinton’s 1995 speech. “It’s pretty indicative of where the party is these days,” she said. “It’s spread all over the place, and that’s a challenge. It’s a real problem.”

In what was billed as the “Republican Address to the Nation,” McMorris Rodgers said she wanted to share “a more hopeful, Republican vision — one that empowers you, not the government.”

Like the other Republican responses, she acknowledged the growing opportunity gap among Americans, but blamed Obama. “Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the president’s policies are making people’s lives harder,” she said. “Republicans have plans to close the gap.”

She also addressed the troubled rollout of Obamacare, and signaled the party would offer its own alternate plan. “No, we shouldn’t go back to the way things were, but the president’s healthcare law is not working.”

In more brash terms, Lee outlined what he called a “new conservative reform agenda,” citing policy ideas from a rising generation of leaders, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He said the economic inequality Obama spoke of was the result of a government that “takes rights and opportunities away from the American people and gives them instead to politicians, bureaucrats and special interests.”

But rather than seek to build GOP support, Lee chastised his own party, targeting his words to “those Americans who may feel they have been forgotten by both political parties. . . . To be fair, President Obama and his party did not create all of these problems. The Republican establishment in Washington can be just as out of touch as the Democratic establishment.”

In addition to Republican disunity, the multiplicity of responses was a byproduct of fast-growing social media platforms, which have opened new venues for old-fashioned political egos and allowed lawmakers to easily and cheaply circulate their opinions.

In the past, if more conservative Republicans wanted to get their own message out, they had to purchase 60 seconds of air time on television networks. On Tuesday, Paul simply had to record some remarks at the Senate’s recording studio and have a staffer upload it to YouTube. The Tea Party Express streamed Lee’s address, delivered at the National Press Club, through its website, which also served as a way to collect email addresses from potential contributors.

Obama may have helped spawn the trend in 2008, when he — as a tech-savvy presidential candidate — released his own personal response to George W. Bush’s final State of the Union address.

No matter how it’s done, staging a response that can compete with the pomp of a presidential address to Congress is always an impossible task for the party out of power — the political equivalent of watching a Super Bowl champion crowned at midfield, then cutting to the loser’s locker room to hear from the other team’s coach.

In recent years, Republican responses have been noted more for glitches and mishaps than for what was said. Remember Michele Bachmann’s looking into the wrong camera in 2011 when she delivered the Tea Party Express response? Marco Rubio’s awkward reach for a bottle of Poland Spring water last year?

The potential for an embarrassing viral moment like Rubio’s hasn’t dimmed other politicians’ interest in attempting to grab a bit of the spotlight, however. Although the Republican Party has complained that the Tea Party response overshadows their primary messenger, the GOP this year set up stations at the Capitol for rank-and-file members to record short video responses after the speech that can be posted to Vine, a Twitter-owned mobile app.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) purchased TV air time during this year’s speech coverage to highlight her personal campaign for stricter gun laws.

When asked if the official rebuttal speech has outlived its usefulness, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat, who delivered the Democrats’ 2006 response to Bush, joked, “I think people question whether the State of the Union and the response has outlived its usefulness. You can make an argument either way.”

Photo: republicanconference/Flickr