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First Annual GOP Speakership Hunger Games!
It's your very uncertain Sunday show rundown!
Rep. Jim Jordan didn’t do any better than Majority Leader Steve Scalise in his speakership bid after multiple failed ballots. Hell, if we learned anything from his public and private rejections, it’s that Jordan has the same “charisma” and rapport with his colleagues that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has with Republican primary voters.
So, the House of Representatives remains paralyzed into inaction by Republicans’ own infighting. Let’s see what solutions Republicans offered on the Sunday shows for ending this chaos.
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First up is the person who’s arguably most responsible for this outside of Rep. Matt Gaetz, Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Kristen Welker set the tone for the interview after revealing that his name still lingers on the speaker’s office signs like the tattoo of a spouse’s name after a messy divorce.
WELKER: […] the House of Representatives has been without a speaker for nearly three weeks now. What do you say to Americans who look at this chaos and believe it’s a sign that Republicans cannot govern?
McCarthy gave what seemed like an honest answer, before shifting to deflect blame from his party and himself.
McCARTHY: Well, that’s embarrassing. And you've got to understand why we are here. Eight Republicans, lead by Gaetz, have created this chaos by joining every single Democrat in voting to shut down one branch of government. […]
McCarthy spewed a bunch of crap to try to hide the fact he blamed Democrats for his party’s self-inflicted pain, but Welker did not let him get away with whitewashing recent history.
WELKER: […] I hear you invoking Democrats. I understand why. The reality, though, is, as you know, Republicans control the House. Does this not come down to Matt Gaetz ultimately moving to oust you? And therefore, do you bear some responsibility for this, Mr. Speaker, for agreeing to give him the deal in the first place to be able to remove you with just one vote?
McCarthy then lied by saying this rule existed under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (it didn’t) and that he could have invoked it during her term. Even if he could have, Democrats would’ve easily killed the motion. Despite McCarthy’s multiple attempts to shift blame to Democrats, Welker kept pushing back and reminding viewers this was McCarthy and his party’s mess.
When McCarthy threw his support for speaker behind House Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Welker reminded the viewers of McCarthy’s soothsaying track record.
WELKER: […] Why should it be any different now with Tom Emmer? You said the same thing about Jim Jordan last week.
In fact, McCarthy’s political instincts have made for an entertaining section in this montage of House Republican chaos.
They Learned It From You, Dad!!
On CNN’s “State Of The Union,” host Jake Tapper asked former Rep. Liz Cheney to talk about why toxicity has become more acceptable in her party.
But it was Cheney’s shortsighted answer that caught our ear.
TAPPER: It used to be that that kind of what's called stochastic terrorism, the idea of people demonizing their enemies, and not specifically, not specifically calling for violence against their enemies, but demonizing them in such a way, you know, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” […] and then — and then people come and threaten them, that that was — that that was frowned upon, that was discouraged in politics. Do you trace it back to Donald Trump? Like, when did this become an acceptable part of Republican politics?
CHENEY: I think you certainly would have to trace it back, in its modern version, to Donald Trump. […]
We don’t dispute that he definitely had some effect, but Trump is merely a Frankenstein monster made of the rotting and festering rhetoric that has permeated Republican politics for decades. In Liz Cheney’s case, some of it lies squarely on her and her once cybernetic war criminal father/former Vice President Dick Cheney’s political past.
While some Republicans want to act shocked, this is literally escalation theory.
Trump is the conclusion of what was started long ago by such people as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1990, where he urged his fellow Republicans to refer to Democrats as “traitors,” “shallow” and “sick.” This change in how Republicans dealt with and spoke of an opposing party with differing ideas, along with the rise of conservative talk radio and Fox News, inevitably led us here.
Hence our theory that there were never “Good Republicans.”
Speaking of Gingrich, ole’ Newt appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to give his idea on how to solve this speakership problem.
GINGRICH: […] They should have stayed in. When they get back here, they should stay in, they should go into a conference, not come out, bring food in and stay there, and very simple test, can you get 217 votes? They shouldn't bring anybody out until they have 217.
While we are entertained by the idea, as it will spare us Republicans for a long time, we don’t think it would end well after past reports of heated exchanges and threats to pummel each other. We don’t think it will bring us closer to having a sentient House Speaker with enough support of his own party. We imagine it would go a lot like the Joker’s “tryouts” in The Dark Knight.
Have a week.