The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Republicans Have Already Made a Mess in the House

So Matt Gaetz got his pound of flesh out of Kevin McCarthy and gave him the speakership. I missed the part where Mike Rogers had to be physically restrained from punching Gaetz in his smirking face. Too bad. That Rogers was restrained, that is. There are few faces on the planet more deserving of a good punch than Gaetz’s.

There’s a story that Gaetz was offered the chair of an Armed Force subcommittee in exchange for a “yes.” This is from WaPo:

Then Mike D. Rogers of Alabama, who expects to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on which Gaetz serves, stormed toward the huddle, enraged. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), a member of the leadership, walked with Rogers, aware of how angry he was.

Video and photographs show Rogers beginning to yell at Gaetz, when Hudson grabbed Rogers, including across his mouth, and physically yanked him back and sent him away from the group.

A gasp went up across the entire House chamber, as lawmakers realized how close they were to something that could have turned into a physical altercation.

Rogers’s outburst stemmed from an offer floated by GOP leadership that would give Gaetz the gavel of one of his subcommittees, according to two people familiar with the dynamics. According to a fellow lawmaker, Rogers believed there are more qualified members to take on the role.

There are no end of vertebrates more qualified to take on the role, I say, but let’s go on.

“Might give you some perspective on why Mike Rogers blew up on the floor,” they said.

When the drama ended, McCarthy denied any such offers. “I mean, we ended up with a tie and he was able to get the others there to go ‘present,’” he said. As for whether Gaetz would get a subcommittee chairmanship for his vote, McCarthy said: “No one gets promised anything.”

Yeah, we’ll see what Gaetz gets when the smoke clears. And why isn’t Gaetz in jail yet? His buddy Joel Greenburg got eleven years for sex trafficking over a month ago. He was expected to flip on Gaetz. There are a lot of news stories from last September or so saying that charges against Gaetz were “unlikely.” But maybe that can change.

Gaetz wants to be in charge of the Armed Forces so he can weed out all the “wokeism.” See this Vanity Fair column by Bess Levin from April, Matt Gaetz Narrowly Avoids Being Called a “Smug Little Shit” in Official Congressional Record.

Last June, Florida representative Matt Gaetz used his allotted time during a congressional hearing to attack military leadership over the Republican–manufactured claim that the U.S military has become a bastion of wokeism by teaching critical race theory. Unfortunately for Gaetz, the stunt clearly didn’t pan out as he’d hoped, and he essentially had his ass handed to him on live TV. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told him: “I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, noncommissioned officers of being, quote, ‘woke,’ or something else, because we’re studying [things like critical race theory] that are out there.… I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read…and it is important that we train and we understand.”

You might have thought that after that experience, Gaetz—a member of the party that talks a big game about its respect for “law and order”—would subsequently avoid churlishly attacking military leaders in general, let alone repeat that the armed forces have been infected by “woke” ideology. But you‘d have thought wrong!

On Tuesday, the conservative lawmaker used a House Armed Services Committee hearing about the Defense Department’s 2023 budget to berate Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over the military’s supposed failures, which he pinned on the Pentagon’s alleged embrace of “wokeness.”

Referring to a February article in the conservative Washington Free Beacon that reported that Thomas Piketty, an economist whose work focuses on inequality, was slated to give a lecture at the National Defense University titled “Responding to China: The Case For Global Justice and Democratic Socialism,” Gaetz asked Austin why taxpayers should be funding talks that “embrace socialism.” When Austin said he was unaware of the lecture, Gaetz snarkily responded that it was “widely reported,” and asked the defense secretary if he agreed that “embracing socialism” would be an effective strategy. Naturally, as Austin began to reply, Gaetz cut him off, moving on to a line of questioning no doubt tailored specifically to appear in a clip on Fox News hours later.

“While everyone else in the world seems to be developing capabilities and being more strategic, we got time to embrace critical race theory at West Point, to embrace socialism at the National Defense University, to do mandatory pronoun training,” Gaetz said, to which Austin informed him that the U.S. military remains “the most capable” and “the most combat critical” force in the world and “will be so going forward.”

But Gaetz, who loves himself a camera, obviously wasn’t done. Sounding like a bratty teen yelling at his parents, the lawmaker lectured Austin: “You guys said that Russia would overrun Ukraine in 36 days. You said that the Taliban would be kept at bay for months. You totally blew those calls. And maybe we would be better at them if the National Defense University worked a little more on strategy and a little less on wokeism.”

To this Austin asked him, “Has it occurred to you has Russia has not overrun Ukraine because of what we’ve done? And what our allies have done?” Gaetz, who undoubtedly believes he could lead the military if necessary, shot back: “That was baked into your flawed assessment,” before claiming that the Obama administration “tried to destroy our military by starving it of resources, and it seems the Biden administration is trying to destroy our military by force-feeding it wokeism.”

Austin, who clearly has more class than Gaetz, obviously did not use the time between questions from lawmakers to mutter something under his breath about the congressman being a smug little shit, or something to that effect. But it would’ve been hard to blame him if he had!

Let’s be clear that Gaetz has no experience whatsoever in military service. He really is just a smug little shit.  But I’m sure Gaetz has grand plans to be highly visible in similar televised hearings so he can get on the teevee a lot.

So McCarthy got his speakership, but to close the deal he had to give critical committee assignments to the most narcissistic, the dumbest, and the most Trumpy nitwits in his caucus. This crew is going to form a huge bottleneck that will stop anything from getting done in Washington. It won’t just piss off the Democrats. I suspect a lot of Republicans are going to be just as sick of these people in no time, if they aren’t already.