Discover more from The Status Kuo
Kevin McCarthy Made His Bed. And Marjorie Taylor Greene Is In It.
A short and somewhat humorous note today about bad political choices.
Congress returns to work this week, and that means the House GOP will return to its continued state of dysfunction and disarray. At stake is the continued functioning of the U.S. government, whose employees need to be paid. A deadline of September 30 looms.
The far-right members of the GOP caucus believe that a shutdown of the federal government is still something they can threaten. So they are planning to recycle their practice of trying to hold the country hostage. But this time, instead of aiming at the economy, which we know from history can endure even a long shutdown, the Freedom Caucus is targeting the GOP, shouting “Stop, or I’ll fire!”
That’s cute. Knock yourself out.
The demands of the extremists include attaching all manner of non-budgetary, culture war issues to the appropriations bills, or for that matter to any continuing resolution to fund the government. Anti-trans riders. Anti-abortion measures. Woke Pentagon stuff. It’s red meat to their base, but it’s frankly exhausting to everyone else.
The most outrageous demand comes from Kevin McCarthy’s best gal pal, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-GA). Rep. Greene insists that her support for keeping the government open will depend on whether the House pursues an impeachment inquiry against President Biden. It’s part of her act, it’s how she fundraises successfully, and so she has predictably been making a scene about it.
There are enough extremists who agree with Greene that they could hold up all the remaining appropriation bills as well as any stop-gap measure if impeachment isn’t made a priority. Many, including Trump sycophant and all-around terrible human Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), would like to go even further and file actual articles against Biden and take an immediate vote. Rep. Gaetz has even recently threatened to seek McCarthy’s removal in the absence of any movement on a vote on impeachment.
But moderates and even some far-right members within his party know that focusing on impeachment amounts to political malpractice. Even watered down impeachment hearings in search of evidence will turn off voters in key swing districts, so there are a substantial number of Republicans opposed to going down this route.
McCarthy, stuck once again with no options, finds himself making bleating noises about “impeachment hearings,” even though there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden.
The roots of McCarthy’s problem go back to his decision to bring Greene into leadership in the first place, granting her a platform and his public trust in exchange for her support for his Speakership. It’s a bit like dating a crazy person in order to get in nice with her family.
“I will never leave that woman,” McCarthy said privately to a friend who then blabbed it to the New York Times. “I will always take care of her.”
But will she take care of him? Marjorie’s focus on impeachment has tended to suck all of the oxygen out of the room. Defy her, and McCarthy could lose his Speakership in a quick motion to vacate. Go along with her, though, and his friends in vulnerable districts will spend all next year fielding questions about why they are wasting time and taxpayer money on a pointless political fishing expedition.
“If you’re going to be in a fight, you want Marjorie in your foxhole,” McCarthy had said to the Times back in January. “When she picks a fight, she’s going to fight until the fight’s over. She reminds me of my friends from high school, that we’re going to stick together all the way through.”
Now I’m worried about the kinds of people McCarthy hung out with in high school.
McCarthy seems to forget how often in her first two years in office that he had to summon Greene to his office to warn her to keep her excesses and behavior in check. She lost her committee assignments while he was minority leader, and she blamed him for not doing enough to protect her.
All that seemed forgiven when the Republicans won back a precariously thin majority and McCarthy needed Greene’s support to become Speaker. She traded her clique of raucous enfants terrible, including Rep. Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), for her new more powerful buddy, elected Speaker after 15 painful rounds of votes, who smiled and cajoled his way through the awkward new relationship.
But now his girlfriend is getting restless. She’s worried that Kevin is going to embarrass himself again by capitulating on the budget. She wants him to grow a spine and be more like the gang she used to hang out with.
For now, they both seem to have landed on the idea of prolonged impeachment hearings instead of rushing to an impeachment vote. Greene’s concession, posted on the site of the company formerly known as Twitter, seeks to reason with her base (ha!), arguing they need time to prove the allegations and fight against all the cover ups that the administration supposedly engages in:
We need a very tedious impeachment inquiry that allows us to take a deep dive to uncover the traitors within that conspired together, not only to keep a criminal VP in office, but then work to propel him to highest office in the land, President of the United States, all by covering up the truth and stopping Biden prosecutions from happening.
The impeachment inquiry can not be rushed.
It must be done right.
No matter how long it takes.
Patience will be the virtue that will lead us to the traitors within.
Her absurd position has not gone unanswered. An unlikely antagonist has emerged. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who is himself a conservative member of the Freedom Caucus, has been openly critical of focusing on impeachment during a time when the budget needs to get passed. “The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden – if there’s evidence linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor. That doesn’t exist right now,” Buck said, going on MSNBC with Jen Psaki.
(Buck and Greene have sparred before, after she blasted him for voting to certify the 2020 election. “When I was teaching law school, I learned and taught certain constitutional principles,” Buck responded. “When Marjorie Taylor Greene was teaching CrossFit, she learned a whole different set of values.”)
Beyond this “bucking” of their plan, there’s another big problem with Marjorie’s and Kevin’s prolonged impeachment drama: The Big Orange Dude isn’t going to like it.
Trump wants impeachment as revenge, and he wants it now. He wants a vote so he can force the GOP to take sides, with threats to primary anyone who doesn’t fall in line. A “tedious” and “long” impeachment inquiry probably isn’t going to cut it.
I wonder what Marjorie will say when her other boyfriend, Donald, the true big man on the GOP campus, hears that she’s gone soft and doesn’t really have his back?
I’m sure the ex-president reminds her of certain friends she had in high school, too.