Resolute Square

Charge Of The Crazed Elephants

Kevin McCarthy's "great appeasement" of the crazy is in full swing and it's only going to get worse.
Credit: Public Domain
Published:December 20, 2022

While 2022 may be winding down (and thank God for that), the Republican Party is just beginning its trek toward new depths of depravity and new horizons of insanity. After squandering what should have been a banner midterm election, the GOP has worked itself into a lather.

The first midterm election of a new president is supposed to be a bloodbath for his party. Only three times since 1900 had the party in power picked up seats in the US House of Representatives, the last time in 2002. The last time a president’s party picked up seats in the US Senate was 1934. All the arrows were pointing toward a big year for Republicans.

They did take control of the US House, if narrowly (more on that later), but lost major battleground statewide races in Arizona (Hi Kari), Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Key statewide races in the upper midwest were existential to American democracy and are now safe in Democratic hands.
The media, donors, and the few stumbling members of the Republican ‘establishment’ solely blamed Trump for interfering in primary elections and forcing candidates to go along with the Big Lie and other Ultra MAGA positions. Reminder: they were mad because he cost them seats. Read: power. They were fine with him trying to overthrow the government two years ago.
Speaking of coups, the House Select Committee on January 6th held its final hearing this week. As their parting shot, they once again laid out the components of Donald Trump’s conspiracy to retain power in 2021 and issued four criminal referrals against the disgraced president to the Justice Department.
While a few foolhardy Republican leaders loudly and directly blamed Trump for their electoral failures, they’ve been typically silent on his responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol. Don Jr. and the animals at the Turning Point USA circus this weekend blamed the FBI, the deep state, and “rabid Never Trumpers” for this continued ‘witch-hunt.’
Remind me again who’s in charge of the Republican Party?
Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-Jellyfish) desperately wants to be Speaker of the House. It’s been his dream since he came to Congress. Had he managed to elect more ‘normal’ Republicans (as he promised donors at $100,000-a-head lunches he would), he would be measuring the drapes for his new office.
As it is, with only a nine-seat majority, he’s relying on the likes of Trump himself and Marjorie Taylor-Greene to rein in the Ultra Ultra MAGA types like Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert, who are withholding their votes until and unless McCarthy submits to a self-imposed Sword of Damocles, know in Congressional parlance as “the Motion to Vacate the Chair.”
This allows a group of Congresspeople to move that the Speaker of the House should be removed from their position. Former Republican Speaker John Boehner was ousted in the wake of such a motion in 2015.
Such a concession by McCarthy would be the first, not the last, instance of appeasement on his part. Once in place, the Motion to Vacate will serve to prevent further military and financial aid to Ukraine, prevent the increase of the debt ceiling (the amount of money the US government is legally allowed to borrow,) and would guarantee that House Republicans spend all of their time investigating Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Of course, McCarthy will give in, it’s just a matter of when. While he attempts to stave off spending his speakership looking up at a guillotine, the House will be unable to organize - no legislation, no committees, no committee staff, no pay, nothing will happen in the South chamber of the Capitol. And while this drama unfolds, a few of the last truly moderate Republicans may cross the aisle to work on a consensus candidate. Remember, the US Constitution famously omits membership in the US House as a pre-requisite to occupy the Speaker’s chair.
To tie all these rabid elephants together, the 2024 presidential campaign is already underway. Trump has announced, doing his normal (for him) schtick on Truth Social, selling fake baseball cards and generally making those around him miserable. The likes of former Vice President Mike “I’m not mad he tried to kill me” Pence, Governor Ron “insurance, you don’t need stinking insurance” DeSantis, and the empty vest that is Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin are making plans to take on their benefactor.
As I’ve noted previously, none of these candidates, nor their staffs, nor their donors, has fully realized what it means to take on Trump; they will find out soon enough. But as they build their campaigns and prepare their forays into Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, they’ll be at Trump’s mercy as he rails against the Justice Department. They’ll have to answer for House Republicans’ desire to shut down the government. They’ll have to dance with the Ultra MAGA Republican base and its attendant demons and hope no one notices. In the meantime, they will all try to show they’re just as mean and ugly as anyone in the party.
What they all really want, though, is power without responsibility. They want to rule, but they decry accountability. For decades, the Republican Party claimed personal responsibility as a tenet of its belief system. Now, Trump and his minions want to personalize authority and socialize the destruction. We’ve seen this play before. We’ve lived it. It doesn’t end well.