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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.


12 thoughts on “Republicans Have Already Made a Mess in the House

  1. The end was near when David Brooks called the wack-job caucus nihilists on PBS news Friday evening.  They were hopelessly pidgin-holed, philosophically identified and beaten.  

    The Big Lebowski, in other word, back in 1998 suggested that in post-Regan and post-1960s revolution America, perhaps humane, abiding repetitions offered the best way of coping with nihilism–and there was hope in that.  (From the Big Lebowski and Philosophy p. 158)

    Well 15 repetitions, certainly abiding, was what it took.  As was phosphatized and as it was written.  Amazing.

  2. Those from Florida would know much better than I, but I believe Gaetz' district ("the redneck riviera") includes some military bases. I imagine he sees this as his base, and what better way to anchor himself in the halls of power than wrapping himself around the money spigot into one of his primary constituencies. His daddy was a state senator and taught his boy well.

    Inquiring minds want to know why his pal Greenburg ended up in prison but party boy Matt is still running free.

    • moonbat… A big part of the reason Greenburg ended up in prison is because he went hog wild with his criminal behavior. He made no attempt to conceal his inner child. No self restraint. When he started parading around with a 9mm strapped to his belt and a gold shield hanging from a lanyard around his neck, looking like a homicide detective, people naturally took a closer look at his behavior. Only to discover he was up to his ears with criminal activity. He was fortunate to only get 11 years. He got off easy for what he did.

      Gaetz on the other hand has enough on the ball to realize to keep a buffer between himself and his criminal activity. So it is a little harder to pin him down.

      • It's likely that prosecutors needed Greenburg to close the deal on a guilty verdict for Gaetz, and knew that Greenburg was so awful that a jury wouldn't believe him about anything. 

        The guy is slime.

        • I heard that it was the kid that they were passing around between them that was the weak point in prosecuting Gaetz. She might have come down with a tried and true case of the infamous GOP I don't remembers.

    • Many military facilities.  I think he is following in the tradition of Representative Sikes (Democrat) from the same part of Florida:

      WASHINGTON, July 29[1976]—The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly today to reprimand Representative Robert L. F. Sikes, Democrat of Florida, for financial misconduct.

      The vote was 381 to 3, with five House members, including Mr. Sikes, voting “present.”

      Mr. Sikes, a strong conservative, is chairman of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee. He sat impassively through most of the 201minute debate that preceded the ?vote. Neither he nor an” other Representative defended his conduct.

      Afterward, he told reporters that he had expected the vote “because of the atmosphere regarding public officials at this time.”

      He said that he had not addressed the House, even though he had been allotted 20 minutes to speak, because, “I know a stacked deck when I see one.”

      When I was down there (in the military) Eglin Airforce Base was a MAC, SAC, and TAC base.  They (someone on base) got in trouble for buzzing commercial aircraft. 

  3. ZOINKS!

    Man, talk about your "confederacy of dunces…"

    You've all heard the term, "a baker's dozen," signifying the number 13, right?

    Well after this week, 14 of anything will be known as "a Republican Speaker's dozen!"

    In Russia, this weeks RepubliKKKLAN House Speaker fuster-cluck has inspired "The Russian Village Idiots Association" to change its name to "The Russian Republican House Association."

    I don't know about you, but this story MADE the first week of this new year for me!

    So much so, that I'm STILL smiling!!!

    And yes, I know Charlie McCarthy's dumber brother Kevin became the "Squeaker Like A Mouse" last night.

    But even so, after this week's glorious RepubliKKKLAN fiasco, my smile is still so bright, that if I croaked tonight, even a world class embalmer could never it get it off my face!

    FOURTEEN TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Fat Ass While Pooping And Peeing My Sweat Pants!!!!!


  4. I'm not sure that anyone will, but as the House embarks on various inquisitions perhaps the Biden administration will empower witnesses to show the House the same respect, deference, and dignity they've shown in the recent past.

    For example, anyone who voted for Kevin McCarthy implicitly endorsed the defiance of a House subpoena to testify. If the Speaker can give the middle finger to a House Special committee, every American has the same right. Or if you feel obliged to show up but don't want to answer, take the fifth.  (I'm not sure of the count of witnesses who did show up for the House Special committee but took the fifth even on procedural questions. 

    ENCOURAGE witnesses in the show "inquiries" to steal the media minute with sarcasm, and defiance. For Matt, "You've never worn the uniform – you exhibit complete ignorance about the military with your questions. I'll happily entertain hopefully competent questions from your colleagues but you aren't worth my time. I defer back to you my time so you can grandstand for Fox."

    Mind you, these people from government who are asked to testify might be granted permission by Biden to hand the shit back to the clown, or "take the fifth" and just blow off anyone who's not serious about the truth. 

    Truth IS the point – or should be. Can Democrats in the House form non-official committees to ask witnesses (for the press) what the inquisitions did not? Weaponizing the government to go after political enemies is a serious charge. I don't mind if there's an inquiry, "Did the president or anyone in his staff instruct you (in the DoJ) to go after the former president?" I think the answer would be, "No" And that should settle it but the GOP is going to try and string together a litany of accusations without merit and claim they proved abuse of power The GOP should be treated with exactly as much gravitas as they bring.

    IMO, that Kevin McCarthy blew off the House subpoena should be mentioned in every House meeting where they're browbeating a witness. Over and over – "I'm playing by the same rules as your Speaker." 

  5. When you say Republicans have already made a mess in the house, do you mean some of them have been defecating in the halls like the insurrectionists? Or do you mean they are just screwing up the normal process of governing?

    • Trump sent those brown dropping Rs to the Capital two years ago, and this mess is a bit more figurative than literal me thinks.

      Robert Draper wrote a piece in the NYT today entitled From Gingrich to McCarthy, the roots of governance by chaos. 

      Here is a tease:

      Those mutations have culminated in a tissue-thin Republican majority, auguring legislative episodes likely long on melodrama and short on happy endings, thanks to cameo actors such as Mr. Gaetz who have already demonstrated their zeal to seize the spotlight from the new speaker. Such actors appear to interpret their roles as opposing anything that the Biden administration might support, including sending military aid to Ukraine and avoiding a default on government obligations by raising the federal debt ceiling.

      The bitterly partisan stalemates of the Gingrich era may well have metastasized into a state of governance by chaos.


  6. Teri Kanefield keeps reassuring her readers that the Dems only need to peel off 5 Republicans – from districts Biden won – to keep the government solvent, throw hardware at the Russian bear, etc etc etc. Here’s hoping this week of hostage-taking will ultimately mean very little.

    I’m reminded of the Clinton impeachment. The voters rewarded the instigators by voting them out next cycle. At the time, I was thinking of sending them encouragement to “keep on digging up the dirt” because I knew their outrageous obsession was only digging their graves. While the situation is much worse today, I’m hopeful it will correct in a similar manner.

  7. SML played it a bit lamely last night, but the writers got it dead on.  Who tucked Liz Cheney in bed at night?  The CEO of Halliburton.  

    She is the de facto leader of the never trump wing of the R party.  Every real patriotic American is dependent on their dominance.  

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