This morning House Republicans did what we knew they’d do: they shot themselves in the foot — but of course it’s the right of every law-abiding American to shoot themselves in the foot, or both feet, because shooting up everything and anything is protected by the Second Amendment. So there.
You have to ask yourselves what Kevin McCarthy, et. al., think they’ve accomplished. The now spurned Liz Cheney has a stage bigger than she has ever had. Nobody cared who the third-ranking House Republican was. By taking away an obscure post, they’ve made her more famous. Brilliant move.
Cheney will now be an even bigger thorn in McCarthy’s side for the next 19 months until she’s forced from her seat, as she almost certainly will be, when the next Congress is sworn in.
After the vote she made it clear that she wasn’t just going to go away.
“The nation needs a strong Republican Party; the nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism, and I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that’s how this party goes forward, and I plan to lead the fight to do that.” She added, “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”
She may even have a renegade movement built around her. Over one hundred Republicans are said to be considering the formation of a third party. True, these are all retired politicians or second tier former officials, but they aren’t nobody’s either. And any third party coming out of the GOP is bad news for them, no matter how small it is.
Kevin McCarthy is more to blame for all this than anyone else. When Trump was exiled to Mar a Lago and might have been fading away, McCarthy went to Florida to kiss his ring and to make sure that he was reinstalled atop the party. Now, McCarthy has caved to Trump’s demand for Cheney’s ouster.
He didn’t have to do either of those things. He could have defused the Cheney problem by saying that the party was a big tent that welcomed all comers, even those who stubbornly cling to reality.
Now, Cheney will likely be replaced by a woman who has made a calculated decision to go with the insane flow. Elise Stefanik of New York had been a more moderate Republican until she learned that being crazy was good for the bottom line. When she made her maiden appearance on Fox News to defend Trump during his first impeachment proceeding, she raked in $250,000 in 15 minutes and her campaign account grew by $13 million over the next year or so. All she had to do to count the money was to be a sycophant for Trump and to shed any last vestige of self-respect or personal integrity. Just like the rest of her party.
I had not been feeling especially confident about 2022. Parties in power almost always lose seats in off year elections and the Democrats have virtually no margin between them and a return to the minority. And I have not been convinced that the Republicans’ decisions to be the Party of Trump, to be nothing more than a front for his personal grievances, and to pursue forever culture wars was necessarily going to hurt them at the polls.
But the Cheney episode could be a rallying cry for Never Trump Republicans to actually bolt the party. And even if that amounts to a sliver of a percent, in a virtually evenly split nation, it could make all the difference.
Nice work there, Kevin.