Brother Can You Spare a Spine?
Reading the tea leaves today, Republicans are heavy favorites to take over the U.S. House in the 2022 mid-term elections. Eleven months is a long time in politics, but things aren’t looking good for Democrats now. Important factors to watch: Congressional redistricting (Advantage: Republicans), President Biden’s sagging poll numbers (Advantage: Republicans), inflation fears (Advantage: Republicans), and more COVID problems (Advantage: COVID), and it’s getting harder to see a path for Democrats to retain their slim hold on either the House or Senate.
With all that, you’d think the House Republicans would be focusing on a takeover. You would be wrong.
Can Kevin McCarthy Lead the GOP?
This week, drama among House Republicans elevated to peak absurdity. First, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) got into an escalated war of words with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), which turned ugly for Omar. Then, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) battled on social media like a Washington reboot of Mean Girls. One of the more attention-getting tweets (below) from Mace used a series of emojis to call Greene bats–t crazy.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy called both Mace and Greene to the principal’s office to squash the beef and look weak in the process.
This isn’t news. In January, McCarthy suggested Congress censure then-President Trump for his role in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol; then, weeks later, he flew to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ring.
In February, the House, mainly on a party-line vote, stripped Greene of her committee assignments over violent imagery and a series of conspiracy-driven comments. McCarthy stood on the sidelines so Greene could become a pariah at the hands of Democrats. His reward? Greene dedicates her free time to undermining his leadership.
In November, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) released a bizarre anime video showing him killing fellow house members and attacking President Biden with swords. Democrats were outraged, McCarthy was silent, and the Hosue once again censured a member of the House and stripped him of committee assignments.
It wasn’t that long ago that McCarthy flexed muscle on a House member. In 2019, former Rep. Steve King of Iowa lost his committee assignments over sympathetic comments to white nationalists. Who can say what has changed, but he’s losing control of his party.
To lead a Republican majority in the House, McCarthy will need three things: 1. An ability to raise money, 2. Some level of policy knowledge, and 3. An ability to maintain discipline among his members.
McCarthy can raise money. He’s already banked $60 million for Republicans this year ahead of the mid-term elections in 2022. It ends there.
If Republicans take back Congress in 2022, McCarthy will need to demonstrate he has all the tools necessary to lead the party. Right now, he’s only the victim of his weakness.
In The Untouchables, Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro, delivers an inspiring speech on teamwork. (Warning: violence)
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It’s not an image you see every day: a governor carrying two pigs – one under each arm – to the doors of a legislative chamber.
Next week, the first piece in the Reboot the Republic series discusses where we should go in today’s political environment.
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