After a very, very, very bad week and 15 votes, Kevin McCarthy finally got over the hump and got his dream job. The man finally got his grovel, oops, I mean gavel.
Kevin was in rare company when victory finally arrived. Only three other times in our history has it taken that many votes to win the speakership. In fact, you have to go back to before the civil war. McCarthy’s dubious achievement is akin to the person in 4th place for the number of all time career strikeouts in baseball-eventually, if you swing enough times, the ball eventually does hit the bat. Hey, but you got to give it to Kevin, as his capacity for humiliation has no bounds. But we already knew that. If you recall, just two weeks after his stirring speech about The Don’s responsibility for the January 6th insurrection, McCarthy was down in Mar-a-Lago groveling for The Don’s forgiveness. And McCarthy didn’t miss a beat when he praised The Don after he finally secured the grovel; oops, there I go again, I mean gavel.
On a positive note for McCarthy, at least he and the nation didn’t have to endure 133 votes before a speaker was chosen, which happened in 1853. If you think about the date, at least a failed vote makes sense: The debate over the speaker reflected the battle about the expansion of slavery into new territories. Our present one had to do with a bunch of stalwarts vying for their own reality TV shows and expanding their followers on social media, while claiming they were all about setting America on the right track.
The entire process was a clown show. At the end of the 14th vote, all eyes were focused on Matt Gaetz of Florida. Yes, that’s the same darling of the right, Matt Gaetz, who according to testimony from Trump aide Johnny McEntee, sought a pardon in connection with the Justice Department’s investigation into sex trafficking allegations. Gaetz was so anti-McCarthy that rumor has it that he told Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, another McCarthy dissenter and a nefarious right winger known for her hate tweets, that he’d rather go to jail for doing bad things to young girls than vote for Kevin.
Back to the vote. All eyes were on Gaetz, who passed the first time his name was called to vote. Gaetz had been on Fox News earlier, and it seemed that he was going to say yay to McCarthy, that he was going to let the groveler have his gavel because he had extracted what he wanted. The tension was mounting. Colleagues were sweet-talking him, trying to cajole him into ending the Republicans’ misery and humiliation. Please, please Matt. What do you need Matt? Just tell us. But Gaetz burned them again and didn’t vote for McCarthy; he decided he could extract more from the desperate Kevin. After his thumbs down, (remember that glorious moment when John McCain nixed the repeal of Obama Care with the famous flick of the thumb) Congressman Mike Rogers of Alabama had enough and started moving toward Gaetz looking like a mad bull readying to ring his neck. It was so exciting. The WWF live from the halls of congress. The next thing we witnessed was someone putting their hand over Roger’s mouth, pulling him back from Gaetz. Don’t you wish you could have heard what he said to Gaetz? Well, whatever the exact words, we could probably extrapolate and assume it was something like: You little fucking weasel. When I get through with you your own mother won’t recognize you.
When it seemed like they would adjourn for the weekend, McCarthy made one more attempt to entice Gaetz and after a phone call to him, McCarthy walked over to him and got the confirmation he needed. Suddenly, the hounddog face of defeat transformed into the bouncy, bouncy step of Tigger (see Winnie the Pooh) that indicated he had prevailed. McCarthy then immediately called for another vote. In the end, Gaetz didn’t vote for McCarthy, but voted “present” along with the other 4 holdouts allowing McCarthy to get the majority he needed. The question is what did McCarthy guarantee Gaetz to finally get him not to vote against him. What promises to his detractors do we know of at this point. Here are a few.
- Create an investigative committee to probe the “weaponization” of the federal government. Translation: Investigate the F.B.I. Investigate Merrick Garland and the D.O.J. Delegitimize the January 6th commission as a conspiracy against White Supremacists and most important, exonerate The Don.
- Efforts to raise the nation’s debt ceiling must be paired with spending cuts. Translation: Hold the country hostage on raising the debt ceiling, threatening the stability of our economy, until money is extracted from government programs like Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps and other programs that help the less fortunate.
- Place more members aligned with them on key committees, including the Rules Committee, which plays a big role in deciding what bills go to the floor. Translation: Give more power to the more radical element of the party so they have the power to stop any bill they want from coming to the floor of the House. In other words, dead before arrival.
- Any member can call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair. Translation: Mr. Speaker, if you so much as fart we will bring a motion to remove your ass.
There are other concessions we know McCarthy made as well but much more interesting (and concerning) are the ones we don’t know about. Here are a few possibilities.
Marjorie Taylor Greene will insist that the leader of QAnon replace the current religious leaders who provide services to the congress.
Lauren Boebert will be allowed to develop a line of Nancy Pelosi Voodoo dolls that she will feature on her new website: Better with Boebert. FYI: Pins for the dolls are extra.
Jim Jordan, who will likely be the next chair of the Judicial committee will not only investigate Hunter Biden, but will go after the Biden dog because it tried to lick him once.
And Matt Gaetz. What does Matt Gaetz get? Wouldn’t it be delightful if McCarthy had to promise him the chair of the Armed Service Committee which was expected to go to the guy who tried to choke him, Mike Rogers. Maybe Rogers knew something when he went after him the first time?
And what about governance? Who needs governance when your goal is to tear down the government. And one more thing: Do you think George Santos will make a friend?