Cannibal Dance

So the House is in chaos, and John Boehner may be Speaker awhile longer. As I write this the talking heads are saying that Paul Ryan is the Man of the Hour who will take the Speaker position and bring order out of chaos. But Ryan says he doesn’t want the job, possibly because even he isn’t that stupid.

This is especially true since the base has turned on Ryan, according to this article by Sophia Tesfaye.  Word has come down from the likes of Erick Erickson, the Breitbrats, David Horowitz, Laura Ingraham, and some members of the House Freedom Caucus that Ryan is another “centrist” like Boehner. Erickson wrote,

Paul Ryan has been the brains behind most of the fiscal deals John Boehner has cut with Barack Obama. Then there are his votes.

While in Congress, he voted for No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug Benefit, TARP, caps on CEO pay, the AIG bill, the GM bailout, the debt ceiling, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, Paul Ryan is one of less than a dozen Republican congressmen to have voted for every bailout to come before Congress.

Paul Ryan is a creature of Washington. He worked on Capitol Hill, worked in a think tank, then went back as a congressman. He speaks Washingtonese with the best of them.

It’s the House Freedom Caucus causing the chaos, it appears. It was the Freedom Caucus that drove Kevin McCarthy out of the running.

Who are the Freedom Caucus? I think Josh Marshall sums them up best:

Quite simply they’ve actually convinced themselves that they’re in the midst of some grand world historical moment when in fact they’re just floundering in derp.

To me, they’re also something like the Jacobins, except they are right-wing and a lot dumber. Nobody is pure enough for them. Like the Jacobins, they are so ideologically rigid they are consuming themselves and sending their Robespierres to the guillotine, so to speak.

To fully appreciate what I’m talking about, read this article by Jedd Legum, This Document Reveals Why The House Of Representatives Is In Complete Chaos. A few snips:

For example, the document seeks a commitment from the next speaker to tie any increase in the debt ceiling to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. …

… The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to not funding the government at all unless President Obama (and Senate Democrats) agree to defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and a host of other priorities. This is essentially the Ted Cruz strategy which prompted at 16-day shutdown in 2013. This would now be enshrined as the official policy of the Speaker Of The House.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to oppose any “omnibus” bill that would keep the government running. Rather, funding for each aspect of government could only be approved by separate bills. This would allow the Republicans to attempt to finance certain favored aspects of government (the military), while shuttering ones they view as largely unnecessary (education, health).

As Jedd Legum also explains,

Any potential speaker needs the support of 218 Republicans on the floor of the House. There are currently 247 Republicans in the House. That’s a large majority but without the Freedom Caucus, no candidate can get to 218.

In other words, the Freedom Caucus has the rest of the House Republicans by their boy parts.

The Freedom Caucus hounded McCarthy to drop out, partly by spreading an unsupported rumor that he was having an affair. They couldn’t just disagree with him; they had to destroy him.

Seems to me the only way the impasse may be broken is for some of the less-demented Republicans to work out a deal with Democrats in order to get to 218 votes.

What’s also hysterical about the current madness is that some parts of the media still cling to the view that both sides are just as bad. Yeah, the Right is crazy, but Bernie Sanders.

Scott Lemieux writes, “The Freecom Caucus’s reason for being is to threaten to destroy the country unless the president agrees to destroy the country.” He also said,

I know that this Green Lanternism is not unique to the right per se.  There are people on the left who thought that Congress could have unilaterally ended the Iraq War in 2007 or that the Democratic minority in the Senate could have serially rejected Bush’s Supreme Court nominees.  There are also people on the left who believe that had Obama demanded single payer Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson would have had no choice but to vote for a Medicare buy-in.   But 1) these are generally obscure People on the Internet Somewhere, not the core of the Democratic caucus in Congress, and 2) they at least support the use of completely irrational tactics to advance desirable ends.

The Freedom Caucus is genuinely frightening. Charles Pierce:

There are all kinds of chickens coming home to roost. This development – which, I would point out, leaves Jason Chaffetz (R-Zygote) as the “moderate” choice for Speaker of the House, and third in line to be president of the United States – is the final justification for all of us who have been saying for a while now that there is no “extreme” wing of the Republican party any more. The prion disease has taken full hold of the party’s higher functions. It is already being bruited about the monkeyhouse that Chaffetz may not be pure enough to satisfy the Freedom Caucus, the claque of angry gossoons who sank McCarthy the moment that McCarthy told the truth about what the House is up to with its hearings on Benghazi, Benghazi!, BENGHAZI!

Like the Jacobins they’ll destroy themselves eventually, but they’re going to cause a lot of damage and suffering first.


26 thoughts on “Cannibal Dance

  1. Chaffetz: what can you say about someone stupid enough to convert from Judaism to LDS. Especially given that they no longer permit the acquisition of multiple wives to compensate for loss of caffeine, alcohol, and common sense (magic tablets?). That’s even more insane than Jindal converting from Hinduism to Catholicism.

  2. Call on the name of Paul Ryan and you will be saved… 🙂

    The thing that I find most interesting is the rumor about Kevin McCarthy having an affair. I kinda suspected that there was something more than the Benghazi blunder at work in his sudden bailing out in seeking that post.
    After seeing him at a press conference explaining his withdrawal for that position with his wife at his side I wondered if I had ever seen a politician at a press conference with their wife at their side when didn’t involve some sort of sexual impropriety. And then reading about some letter put forward by some Repuglican Congress critter saying that anyone seeking the post of House Speaker should withdraw from contention for that post if there are any “misdeeds” they might have committed while serving in Congress..It seems like a pretty pointed memo.
    I assume McCarthy saw the writing on the wall and got out while the gettin was good.
    On behalf of McCarthy I’d just like to say… The glory is not in the game you’s all in the thrill of hunt. Especially for a Young Gun.

    • Actually, Swami, I think what happened to McCarthy is more sinister than being outed for an affair. I think the Freedom Caucus decided he wasn’t pure enough, and he wouldn’t sign on to their conditions. They spread the rumor about an affair to punish him. And they may have persuaded themselves it was true; people who are that ideologically extreme cannot accept that those who disagree with their perspective even slightly are not evil people who must be destroyed.

  3. Nancy Pelosi
    Q: Why do you think nobody wants to be Speaker?

    Pelosi: “You know what, you’re just going to have to ask nobody.”

  4. IIII’mmm back!
    Sort of… when the Internet works here in rehab.
    The operation went well, and I’m over The pneumonia – in a metel brace that looks lIke something by a a developmentally challenged child, with s.pare erector set parts. I’m in it for another 3+ months, and then some huge boot – no driving for another 3-6 months after that. Yikes!

    As for the reich-wingers in the “People’s” part of Congress, they’re like the the frat from Hell!
    Motto: “We Hate-a Gubmint!”-

  5. Gulag!!!! I literally clicked on the comment link to ask anyone if they had heard from you. Hadn’t seen comments here or some other places you haunt in quite sometime. Glad you’re still kicking and hope the rehab goes well.

    I think I could sum-up Pelosi’s comment as simply saying,”Could you please pass the popcorn while I watch and laugh at this cluster?” Or even,”Newt Gingrich as Speaker, I think I could get some Dems to vote for that” (while whispering Please, please, please make this happen “.)

  6. Welcome home Gulag! We’ve missed ya.

    I know it’s in my nature to always see the best in people and I wouldn’t want to be caught up in supporting a vicious Freedom Caucus smear against an upstanding Young Gun. But just the way things went down I have a pretty strong sense that McCarthy tasted of a forbidden fruit.
    The things that don’t make sense to me are why would someone who coveted the speakership and been given the nod to the of right ascension suddenly just drop his bid on the claim that he was going to meet with some resistance. It doesn’t make sense to me that McCarthy would fold his tent so easily if there wasn’t something more than the prospect of having to deal with dissention among the Repuglican ranks.
    The fact that the Repugs turned to Paul Ryan as a saviour leads me to believe that the intention was to draw attention to the element of the dissention as being focus rather than the idea that McCarthy might have a skeleton in his closet that needs to be protected.
    Another thing that piques my curiosity is the timing factor. Rumors have been circulating about McCarthy’s improprieties for over a year or longer before Boehner announced his departure as Speaker. Now McCarthy finds himself in a position where he has to confront those rumors if he want to pursue the Speakership.. And the idea that McCarthy backed off so quickly from a position he so confidently laid claim to tells me that he doesn’t know who knows what concerning those rumors and he can’t risk his entire career if he challenges their veracity. His safest course of action is to skedaddle.
    Who knows..maybe the Bible is right when it says to flee from evil…except I don’t think it means after the fact like McCarthy seems to be doing.

    News Flash..Young Gun turns and runs. Maybe there’ll be another trio of idiots to come along in the future to clean up the town.

    • The thing is, it’s fairly obvious, possibly even to Kevin McCarthy, that taking on the Speaker job under the current conditions is a kind of political suicide. I’d be really surprised if Paul Ryan takes it, because I don’t think he’s that stupid. But maybe he is.

  7. Welcome back, CUNDgulag! It sounds like you’re going through the mill, but, as everyone’s mother used to say, “This too, shall pass.”

  8. Ryan is loving all the praise and adulation. He’s just sucking it up like a reptile basking in the sunshine. He’s gone from a definite no to a possible maybe. I guess we all have our limits in resisting flattery. It’s not easy being the darling child of the GOP.
    I read one article that labeled Ryan as the intellectual of party. Really,is it time to break out the head supports? He’s being lavished with so much gooey praise from the media that his facial characteristics are starting to emulate those of the dwarf known as Bashful.

  9. Welcome back, Gulag! Good to see you. I personally think that the Freedom Caucus is a renegade bunch of vigilantes whose power has gone to their heads and there is no room for brains anymore. If they come to power, we are all in the toilet. All they can think of to do is spread destruction and death and leave smoking ruins in their wake. Shades of Genghis Khan!! Their pile of skulls grows by the day.
    The OMG party is reaping the whirlwind, is it not?
    As to affairs, who could count the number of affairs had by Presidents and members of Congress since the founding of this country? Up until recently nobody ever mentioned it; now it’s the kiss of death. Why? The only two POTUS I can think of that didn’t have affairs are Harry Truman and Obama. So what? Men are not famous for keeping their dicks in their pants, are they? (If that upsets you men, uh..well..too bad)
    These idiots in the Freedom Caucus (a misnomer if ever there was one) just want POWER and don’t care how they get it. This looks a lot like treason to me. And in Congress!! Maybe I’m just getting old; this may not be a bad thing as hopefully I’ll get to die before this country destroys itself. This whole thing just pisses me off and makes me very sad. What does this say about the people who elected these idiots?
    One has to wonder what will happen next. That is something I have trouble thinking about too much, as it stresses me out way too much.
    Ahhhh, the hell with it. maybe another cup of coffee will help…..

  10. There seem to be two possible outcomes – both unlikely. The GOP could cave to the demands of the Freedom Caucus. Democrats know that shutdowns will demolish the credibility of the GOP – the longer there’s a shutdown, the lower GOP prospects will sink.

    The other option is for a minority of republicans to break ranks and align with democrats to elect a democrat to Speaker to break the power of the Freedom Caucus. Likely? I dunno – if you were convinced that capitulation to the FC would end the party, you might do anything to avert it,

  11. “been given the nod to the of right ascension suddenly just drop his bid on the claim”

    They just need a fresh face, didn’t you listen to the presser? Welcome back Gulag!

    What scares the crap out of me is that we seem to have reached the point of saturation. Cannibal dance could not be more descriptive. But even with all this crazy congressional crisis, presidential political insanity, rampant gun worship, Russian cruise missiles falling out of the sky, our markets just continue to chug along? Does anything matter anymore? People like Ben Carson, Donald T. are taken seriously, what exactly has happened?

  12. Welcome back Cund…your wise and truthful observations and comments were missed…here and elsewhere…

  13. Ryan would be a fool to take the job. Why get dragged into the morass that is dealing with the House Freedom Caucus. Around here the rumor is that he has aspirations of a higher office and can’t do it from a House seat so he will run against Tammy Baldwin in 2018 and then make a move from there. Off year elections have been wonderful to WI repugs and that would be a close election anyway. If he’s Speaker and comes out of it looking like Boehner does his reputation for being the smart policy wonk will be tarnished and hurt him against Baldwin. When it’s all said and done I’m sure he’ll remain a no.

  14. Sorry to be late with my good wishes, Gulag! Happy to see you are recuperating well. Please keep us laughing when you can!

  15. Democrats are going to start exacting a price from the conservative Republicans who wish to actually fund the government and govern. They’ve been quietly enabling the “coalition that dare not speak it’s name” for as long as Boener has ruled the house, and that’s going to change with the new speaker. Ryan, McCarthy, and any other teabag with a unpithed brain knows this and it will be a very bitter pill for the next speaker and their majority caucus to swallow.

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