Watching The Circus

As I write this, the House is adjourned until 8:00 pm Eastern, which is when futile voting can begin again. Somewhere H.L. Mencken said that he didn’t mind paying taxes, because every morning he would read the newspaper and laugh his head off at the dullards in Congress. And Twitter is carrying on this tradition watching House primates throw poop at each other.

One thing is clear: the Republicans did not win a majority in the last election. The Democrats won 212 seats, the Republicans won 201, give or take 1, and the Burn It Down Party won 20 seats. Kevin McCarthy, that craven toady, has proved no one can negotiate with the BID Party; and that’s for the best, sane people don’t negotiate with terrorists.

So here’s my solution: the Rs elect Hakeem Jeffries and let the Ds run the House. In return, the Ds agree to take all reasonable steps to marginalize the BID Party members. No committee seats, no earmarks, no rides on military aircraft, no post offices, no flags flown over the Capitol, and anything else suggested by the Elders of the party, Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi.

Pearl-clutching pundits insist that the Democrats must clear up this absurdist drama. I’ll pitch in: How about bringing back Bob Livingston or John Boehner? Maybe check the back bench: is Louis Gohmert available? How about an outsider, like, say, George Santos? And thinking outside the box, how about Brett Kavanaugh?

This is an open thread. Please feel free to post your favorite tweets, toots, articles, etc. and make your own jokes. As an example, here’s a gift subscription to the excellent Alexandra Petrie in the WaPo.

My favorite tweets so far:

133 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    “The BID party” makes me think of bridge.

    The BID party is offering 7 clubs.
    The Dems reply with 7 No Trump.

  2. harpie says:

    I have taken to calling them the

    And as for the “Pearl-clutching pundits [who] insist that the Democrats must clear up this absurdist drama”, I say GoFY. The SANE among US have spent the last two years trying to clean up the CACA Caucus MESS, and get the place back in some semblance of working order.
    They attacked US. They, AND their DARK FUNDERS can rot in Hell.

    • harpie says:

      Here is Andy Kim, D-NJ 03 at 4PM today:
      3:57 PM · Jan 4, 2023

      I’ve quadrupled the number of House Speaker votes I’ve done in my career.

      Kim is the Representative that wrote this thread:
      9:12 AM · Jul 6, 2021

      6 months ago today I wore this blue suit as I cleaned the Capitol after the insurrection, now I just donated it to the Smithsonian. Jan6 must never be forgotten. While some try to erase history, I will fight to tell the story so it never happens again. Here is one story…(THREAD)

      I blame the CACA Caucus and their equally CACA FOLLOWERS for losing the ONLY Democratic Rep. I’ve had in my 36 years of living in this district. He is a decent, moderate Democrat, and I miss him already.

      • Purple Martin says:

        If this keeps going on, someday the answer to a ‘bar bet’ trivia question will be:

        Q: Over an entire career, who received the greatest number of lifetime votes for Speaker of the House?
        A: Hakeem Jefferies

        (His current count is 1,272.)

    • Legonaut says:

      Seconded. They could start a porn channel with the amount of FY they need to do.

      I’m delighting in the tasty, tasty schadenfreude. To quote Wednesday Addams, “You didn’t tell me it was a *vengeful* spirit.”

  3. Peterr says:

    Other possible candidates . . .

    Leonard Leo – why work behind the scenes when you can gather the glory from the rostrum?

    Brett Favre – he knows how to Get Things Done, Just ask his daughter’s volleyball team.

    John Eastman – at least he knows how to count votes

  4. gknight says:

    So, Kevin McCarthy thought that he was the designated driver of this clown car?! Why keep repeating the same mistakes?

    Mark Twain: Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a (Republican) member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

    • StellaBlue says:

      Stunning in his ability to tolerate humiliation. Any other human on this planet would say the hell with it let someone else give it a try.

  5. harpie says:



    Signer’s include:
    [I mention these bc I’m doing a thread on THOMAS’ deposition at another post.

    Conservative organizations and the millions of grassroots conservatives we represent are united in our support of the 20 courageous members of Congress seeking to change the status quo in Washington. […]

    These members represents the millions of voters across the country who are disgusted with the business-as-usual, self-interested governance in Washington. We stand behind them and beside them in their courageous efforts to find a Speaker of the House who will represent the interests of conservatives. We encourage more conservative members to join their ranks.

    • BobBobCon says:

      Lots of money started flowing for these stooges in bright light.

      The Gov Affairs VPs who pushed these donations ought to be wondering right now if they can meet their mortgages on their homes in Bethesda and Falls Church, but unfortunately the DC networks don’t believe in holding anyone accountable for going long on crazy, as long as it’s right wing crazy.

    • harpie says:

      Re: “grassroots”:

      There are two mentions of the word in the J6TL right now:
      1] 11/10/20 [THOMAS to MEADOWS] [texts]

      [:…] [THOMAS – Later that night] “Van Jones spins interestingly, but shows us the balls being juggled too.” [] “House and Senate guys are pathetic too… only 4 GOP House members seen out in street rallies with grassroots… [Louie] Gohmert, [Jim] Jordan, [Paul] Gosar, and [Chip] Roy.” [] “Where the heck are all those who benefited by Presidents coattails?!!!” [She then told him to watch a YouTube video about the power of never conceding.]

      2] 12/31/20 OR 1/1/21 STONE’s fundraising for security details VIDEO

      […] You see, I’m concerned about the safety and the security of our supporters, of those who will be marching with us. After the last Washington DC event, four Trump supporters were stabbed by leftists. That’s because we cannot afford all the professional accoutrements of an event. This is a pop-up grassroots event for which we need professional security. We don’t have a wealthy donor like George Soros waiting in the wings to write a check to subsidize our political activism. We can only count on people like you. […]

      • Rayne says:

        We don’t have a wealthy donor like George Soros waiting in the wings

        LOL sure, no wealth donors like those named Koch or Mercer, or grocery store heiresses like Julie Fancelli.

          • Rayne says:

            I have been waiting for a Soros-written check since 2007 when I was first accused of being one of his minions. The dude is worse than Elmo and Trump at paying his obligations.

    • harpie says:

      Once my comment re: “grassroots” gets out of the pokey, this will go with it:

      Mention of “grassroots” from my documents:
      4:33 PM · Nov 12, 2020

      Americans for Prosperity, the Koch “grassroots” political group, received a whopping 86% of its $52.6m 2019 revenue from just TWO donors. Very grassroots then. This is taken from a recently filed auditors report. AFP recently dumped millions in the #2020Elections to help the GOP [screenshot]

      • harpie says:
        8:51 AM · Sep 27, 2020

        Billionaire climate polluter Charles Koch is pressuring senators into confirming Amy Coney Barrett by waging media campaigns vs them all over the country:
        [> Koch network launches campaign to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in Senate [Link] SEP 26 2020]

        2] Two days after the insurrection:
        Inside the Koch-Backed Effort to Block the Largest Election-Reform Bill in Half a Century On a leaked [1/8/21] conference call, leaders of dark-money groups and an aide to Mitch McConnell expressed frustration with the popularity of the legislation—even among Republican voters.
        Jane Mayer March 29, 2021

        A recording obtained by The New Yorker of a private conference call on January 8th, between a
        1] policy adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell and
        2] the leaders of several prominent conservative groups—
        including one run by the Koch brothers’ network—reveals the participants’ worry that the proposed election reforms garner wide support [ie: GRASSROOTS support?] not just from liberals but from conservative voters, too.

  6. Riles says:

    As hilarious and cathartic as the Republican shit show is, I think the real question is how long will the Strategic Popcorn Reserve last? Will we have to switch to chips or mixed nuts? Mixed nuts seems appropriate.

  7. BobBobCon says:

    MW had a smart response to the sad, headshaking article by Carl Hulse of the NY Times about these bozos. “Imagine if, all this time, NYT had been reporting that Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan were willing to burn the country down? Imagine if that had been the unrelenting message since Jan6?”

    Carolyn Ryan’s crew running the political beat at the Times was caught napping on this disaster. They got snookered on the November elections, as NYCSouthpaw pointed out.

    They failed to catch Santos, who literally represents the NY part of the NY Times.

    Ryan made a gigantic mess of the 2016 election, she openly announced there was nothing to see as far as Andrew Cuomo and left an open lane for the Times to get scooped by the Albany Times Union, and yet somehow the Sulzbergers keep promoting her.

    Ryan is the worst high level editor at the Times in recent memory, which is an astonishing achievement in light of hacks like Baquet and Raines. But she’s ultimately nothing more than a sign that AG Sulzberger is even dumber and more insulated than his dad AO.

    Although as far as failsons go, I would add that if Rupert had been in full command of Fox, McCarthy would be have been speaker on the first roll call. Lachlan, however? He’s still trying to get Irena Briganti to return his calls.

  8. Thomas Edelson says:

    Hope nobody minds if I make a serious suggestion: Democrats introduce a motion saying that on the next vote for Speaker, one can win with just a plurality of the votes cast.

    Is this legal? There’s precedent: it was done before, albeit a goodly while ago:

    Can’t predict whether the resolution itself would pass, but I say it’s worth a try, because if so, things would definitely get better (from the Dem POV) than they are now.

    1. Would almost certainly break the deadlock; *somebody* gets a plurality, absent an exact tie.

    2. That somebody would almost certainly be either Hakeem Jeffries or Kevin McCarthy.

    3. If nobody changes their vote, Jeffries wins. Sweet.

    4. The alternative possibility: realizing it’s for keeps this time, enough Republicans change their votes so that McCarthy wins.

    5. The crux of my argument: while not as delicious, this isn’t so bad either. Some reasons:

    (a) Better from a non-partisan POV: we actually get a functioning House.

    (b) Better for the Democratic party: it gets at least some of the credit for (a), while the Burn It Down Party gets none … and probably, no concessions either.

    • Peterr says:

      This is legal, but # 3 is why it will never happen. The Never Kevins mean “never,” and if a motion like this were to come up, they’d vote against it. McCarthy’s team know that if the Never Kevins hold firm, it would throw the election to Jeffries, so they will vote against it. Yes, that’s an “if,” but McCarthy wouldn’t bet the farm on the Never Kevins caving, because he knows what they’ve been saying about him in private and on the floor of the House.

      Until you can come up with a 5(c) Better for the GOP, this is going nowhere.

      • Thomas Edelson says:

        Gaetz, Boebert and Perry were quoted as saying — to McCarthy! — that they “didn’t care” if their holdout led to Jeffries’ winning. If they weren’t bluffing, then presumably they’d vote for the resolution, and maybe enough other Never Kevins would, so that it would pass without any McCarthyite votes.

        Conversely, if they vote against it, their bluff has been called very publicly.

        I don’t know if that makes the proposal good for the GOP, but it’s bad for the Burn It Down Party. Between that, and 5a (good for the country), and point 0 — “If the resolution fails, what harm does that do?” — I still say the Dems should give it a try.

        • Peterr says:

          Voting against it allows for the possibility that a Not Kevin from within the GOP caucus becomes speaker at some point. So long as the BID caucus can stand firm, they hold an absolute veto on any GOP member becoming speaker. That’s not somebody calling their bluff; that’s simply them keeping their options open. They don’t need this plurality option to keep McCarthy from becoming speaker.

          On the other hand, voting for a motion like this *guarantees* that a non-GOP member becomes speaker. That gives up *all* their leverage within the caucus, gaining them nothing but the satisfaction of McCarthy not being speaker (something their veto is already giving them), and makes them even more of a bunch of pariahs in their party.

        • Peterr says:

          That would also happen if the circus extends its run. For that matter, the longer the circus runs, the more sane the Ds will appear.

          • Scott_in_MI says:

            At some point, being the sane adults in the room needs to entail saying “look, this has gone on long enough – we have work that’s gotta get done.”

            • Pat_from_IL says:

              Democrats are well aware that any work that is going to get done by a Republican majority will ignore all of their priorities. We stand for affordable and comprehensive health care, more housing, more equity, secure voting, fewer guns, and a healthy environment. Whoever is in charge of the Republican majority will actively work against these things.

              If the House does nothing before June, 2023 when it has to raise the debt limit, isn’t that better for Democrats?

                • Pat_from_IL says:

                  “we” as in “We Democrats.” I don’t think anything on that list is controversial for anyone here. I’m also quite sure that Republican representatives are not going to do anything the help make these things a reality. More likely, they will try to ban abortion, investigate non-scandals, and do performance votes to excite their base.

                  I think that in this instance, the Democrats are not responsible for fixing the mess that the Republicans have created.

              • Scott_in_MI says:

                “If the House does nothing before June, 2023 when it has to raise the debt limit, isn’t that better for Democrats?”

                Better politically? Unsure. Better for the operation of the country? Absolutely not.

                • Rayne says:

                  Stock market will absolutely hate it. Will the GOP’s congressional caucus feel any heat from the investor class about this?

                  Or is the GOP’s congressional caucus getting funded by offshore donors who really want this dysfunction and a possible market crash?

                  • Scott_in_MI says:

                    Likewise, will the caucus feel any heat over the fact that while the House is out of order, the only meaningful oversight of the Executive Branch is being done by the Senate, which is controlled by the Dems? Or do only national-security wonks and related policy geeks care about that stuff?

        • Pat_from_IL says:

          Democrats have obviously been the sane adults in the room for 12 years. Has that helped us keep the majority and pursue our goals throughout that time?

            • Pat_from_IL says:

              Absolutely true. My poor choice of words were intended to point out that Democrats rarely get good press because they are sane, or effective, or trying to help people. It’s still important to do, but helping the Republicans save face is not that important to do.

              Like a toddler having a tantrum, sometimes you just have to let them figure it out for themselves.

            • Pat_from_IL says:

              Absolutely true. I think that Democrats rarely get good press because they are sane or effective, so helping the Republicans to save face probably won’t either.

              Like a toddler having a tantrum, sometimes you just have to let them figure it out for themselves.

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        Depends on how long you’re talking about. If the House doesn’t elect a Speaker, they are guaranteeing that the US defaults on its debt later this year, which the BIDdies/CACAists would love but would be bad for the country (and I assume you join me in caring about what’s better for the country, not just what’s better for Democrats).

  9. Tech Support says:

    This feels like a massive wasted opportunity by the Ds. Everyone saw this coming. At no point has a credible alternative to McCarthy been floated in the run up to this clown show so this debacle was inevitable.

    Maybe I’m just a hopeless optimist but it seems to me that you could peel at least seven GOP votes out from either the Problem Solvers Caucus or the anti-Trumpers if you identify a centrist Democrat with good relationships and negotiate a rules package that would ensure the GOP majority still gets to (mostly) exercise their majority power while committing to let any bill with a bipartisan support to reach the floor.

    The PSC comes off as the Chess Club of the House, aka a bunch of wonky nerdy types that the cool kids mostly ignore. Seems like a little bipartisan collusion could catapult them into a high degree of relevance in this situation. The part that would be required of course would be for Jeffries to embrace such a plan and get the rank and file to vote for someone besides him.

    Maybe somebody can explain to me why that’s naive and/or ignorant of congressional process, but at this point it seems to me that the Democratic establishment thinks that sitting back allowing the GOP to flail works to their long-term benefit.

    (Apologies for mucking up the mockery with seriousness but I’ve been needing to get this off my chest.)

    • BobBobCon says:

      Those supposedly centrist Republicans wouldn’t vote to impeach the guy who had sent armed goons into the heart of the Capitol building, knowing full well the only real life penalty would be that he might not be able to run in 2024.

      They have no souls. It’s all a facade.

    • EricofMariposa says:

      “…at this point it seems to me that the Democratic establishment thinks that sitting back allowing the GOP to flail works to their long-term benefit.”

      The Democrats continue to vote in unison (212) for their leader, Jeffries, which shows both their discipline and seriousness in the face of Republican chaos and foolishness.

      “Just as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was unable to secure the 218 votes needed to become Speaker, former Rep. Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts was unable to round up enough support in the 1856 contest to lead the chamber. It ended up taking two months and 133 rounds of voting to determine that contest.”

      Would we be better served with two more months of this, or two months of McCarthy’s chicanery?

      • Greg Hunter says:

        I am with you, but I think you can see the thinking already. The 20 will holdout until one of the Freedom Caucus is elected or the remaining Republicans will have to cut a deal with the Democrats.

        It is that simple.

        Win – Win for them going into the next election and it opens up primary opportunities if they force Rs to take the vote.

        Is it possible to set the vote up whereby those that did not vote for X would get no committee assignments?

        Should Dems demand no committee assignments for the 20 to take a deal?

    • Peterr says:

      Two reasons why this won’t happen.

      (1) The anger of the Never Kevins is that the Merely Conservative GOP members (including not just House members but also Mitch McConnell and various senators) have been played by Nancy Pelosi for years, and none of the Merely Conservatives want to be on record putting a Democrat in the Speaker’s chair and have to deal with the ramped up anger of the Never Kevins.

      (2) GOP Merely Conservatives have “Hang Mike Pence” ringing in their ears like it was yesterday, rather than two years ago. They do not want their name to replace “Mike Pence” in that chant. And no, I am not being hyperbolic. These folks legitimately fear for their lives and the lives of their family members.

      • BobBobCon says:

        I’m deeply skeptical of the fear angle, in all seriousness.

        If they were afraid, they’d quit. The goons won’t go after them if they let someone else run in their place. And they can make up for the six figure Congressional salary by becoming a lobbyist, or PR rep, or hot tub salesman, or whatever.

        Fear might be 10% of the calculation, tops. But basically it’s because they’re pathetic people with nothing else in their lives. If you remember Dan Burton, picture a room full of people like him. This is all they have, and they want to keep it going.

        • Peterr says:

          They aren’t afraid of serving in Congress; they are afraid of crossing The Base and ending up in the crosshairs of some wingnut with a gun. They don’t need to quit, but only need to keep from getting sideways with these folks by doing something to make Dems look good and GOP members look bad.

          *That* was Pence’s mistake: he did something to make Joe Biden look better than Trump, and for that he damn near paid with his life.

          • BobBobCon says:

            Sure, Pence got tangled up on 1/6 — but he knew who he was dealing with on 7/14 2018 or for that matter 1/22 2017.

            Nothing was keeping him in the game if he didn’t want to be there, but he was still trying to play the angles.

            Any rank and file GOP rep could have quit by Thanksgiving when it became clear McCarthy was having trouble, and they would have lost nothing more than the value of a Honda Civic when they had to back out of a condo purchase in Arlington or SW DC..

            I realize there are creeps who try to convince these people they’re like some Al Pacino character who is in too deep to quit. But this isn’t like the Godfather saga or Scarface. They would be fine if they just walked away.

            They know if anything they’re at a slightly more marginal risk the longer they stick around. They’re sticking around because they want to be there.

    • Rayne says:

      This feels like a massive wasted opportunity by the Ds.

      Are you fucking kidding me. That’s not even a question, because you have got something stuck in an orifice sideways if you think this is something the Dems have wasted, suggesting in anyway that this is a Dem-created situation. When McCarthy’s pulled his head out of his ass he’ll get creative. It’s on him if he wants the Speakership that badly.

      This is all on the GOP in every goddamned way. Dems just need to sit back and eat popcorn, continue to show for every vote. The GOP is showing its ass, its complete dysfunction as a political party on full display.

      I’ll thank you not to go NYT on this situation; they can’t point the finger where the blame truly belongs, unable to mention the GOP in the headline, subhead, or the first four grafs of this article,

      Lacking a Speaker, One Part of Government Ceases to Function
      Lawmakers in the House have yet to be sworn in.
      They can’t help constituents or get classified briefings, much less hold hearings or pass laws. And at some point, they may have trouble getting paid.

      • Jak King says:

        I don’t altogether disagree with you Rayne, but surely the GOP has already spent at least the last two years proving they are not a governing party (including their overt support for an insurrection) and yet they still managed to get a small majority in the House. Their base will always blame the Ds for whatever happens even if the opposite is as plain as day to the sane amongst us.

      • Tech Support says:

        Well hang on now. Let me clarify. Under no circumstances do I think this is the Democrats *fault*. Nope. This is the GOP chewing it’s own leg off with no help from anyone else needed. I’m talking about potentially missing an opportunity to exploit the disarray.

        Even if not to try and gain some sort of strategic advantage, but also to avert an outcome where the GOP just caves and gives the speakership to somebody who would make us wish McCarthy had gotten it instead.

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        The fault lies squarely with the GOP. But the bad effects are not limited to the GOP. In DC, new laws that have been passed by the DC Council cannot go into effect until they’ve been reviewed by Congress. That review is on hold. Constituent services for people around the country are on hold. Pretty soon House staffers won’t be paid. I don’t consider these side-effects entertainment.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s not entertainment, but if Democrats are forced to sit in their House seats day after day watching the GOP continue to obstruct government, they can eat all the popcorn they can stomach.

          This is when all the voter suppression and gerrymandering takes its true toll; the Texans in the 20 anti-McCarthy faction hold seats which were heavily gerrymandered, in a state which implemented more suppression ahead of the 2022 mid-terms. Constituents need to show up at their offices in Texas and tell the staffers they are pissed off, and call the reps’ offices in DC at (202) 224-3121.

          And then get active locally because the 2024 election cycle has already begun. Those assholes obstructing Congress’s work are pulling down donations already as a reward for their intransigence.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      It works like this: First, the Democrats allow the Republicans to flail/fail until it’s obvious that the Republicans don’t have the ability to pour piss out of a boot. Then they let the whole country watch while the Republicans put Hunter Biden’s laptop on trial, something for which nobody gives a fuck. Then the Repubs will probably try to hold the budget for ransom, which never works, except to make people mad at whoever does this. If the Republicans aren’t careful, Hunter will make the hearings into an even worse clown show than it’s already
      expected to be: “Mister Biden, please tell us about the bribes you accepted from Mr. Zelensky.”

      “I took a two-billion dollar bribe. Oh wait! That was Jared Kusher – have you guys looked into that?”

      And so on. I expect the Republicans to be both ineffective and entertaining for the next two years.

    • massappeal says:

      Thanks for your comment. Here’s why (imho) it’s “naive and/or ignorant”:

      1) Members of Congress don’t switch parties/betray their own party over a couple of bad days. For 7 (or more) GOP representatives to vote with the Democratic caucus to elect a speaker takes more than that.

      2) Similarly, there’s little or no incentive for Democrats to cut a deal right now. They’re unified, looking reasonable, sane, sensible, etc., while the Republicans are flailing around hitting themselves in their collective faces. “Never interrupt your opponent when they’re making a mistake” is an old political (and military) maxim for a reason. It’s good advice.

      3) Should a group of House Republicans reach the point of approaching Democrats about cutting a deal, they’re far more likely to do something like what California GOP Assembly members did in the ’90s: propose one in which *they* control the gavel, and (in this case) key committees (Rules, Appropriations, Ways & Means).

      Martin Longman at Progress Pond has been analyzing this situation for a while now and he’s convinced that the most likely scenario—whether it happens now or in six months, whether it happens formally or informally—is something like #3: a group of centrist Republicans cut a deal with the Democratic caucus that looks something like this: GOP speaker and chairs of key committees, Dem chairs of lesser committees (likely weighted towards those where GOP extremists would otherwise make the most noise (e.g., Judiciary, Governmental Oversight), agreement on a handful of key issues (raising the debt ceiling, no government shutdowns, funding for Ukraine).

      Centrist Republicans like Don Bacon and Brian Fitzpatrick are already publicly warning their colleagues that if the GOP can’t unite to elect a speaker, then the only remaining solution is something like #3 above. But they and other Republicans who’d consider that possibility will need the political cover of it seeming like it’s a last resort. Two days isn’t enough.

      • FL Resister says:

        Now there’s a ray of hope. Are there any reasonable Republicans in the house? If so, can he/she whip votes? This what the Republicans should have been asking themselves after the 2022 midterms. Not after the 10th vote for Speaker fails. Pathetic.

        Is it reasonable to think that House extremists want to interfere with investigations around the attempted coup to cause dysfunction and prevent accountability, including their own? Do they want a speaker6 who they are sure will support going after the prosecutors and anyone trying to make them accountable? Is that the rub?

  10. Peterr says:

    Via @gal_suburban, (with h/t to Marcy) we learn that Ed Meese, Ginni Thomas, David “Citizens United” Bossie, Brent Bozell, Cleta Mitchell (!), Alfred Regnery, and a dozen other rightwing semi-luminaries not-so-reluctantly call on McCarthy to hang it up.

    But I’m confused when they say “Over the past decade, the House has become increasingly autocratic” as if that’s a bad thing. They certainly have gone all in for autocrats in the past.

    Maybe for them it just depends on who the autocrat is.

    • Legonaut says:

      I *so* enjoy seeing asshats from the past, usually bearing a measure of responsibility for the current situation, being paid to gaslight America as “expert” talking heads on the news shows (and they all do it). I don’t want to hear from Gingrich, Blackburn, Gowdy, Santorum, Palin, Gorka, or their MAGA progeny unless they’re screaming in agony in the stocks in the public square.

      Now *that* would be a great Alexandra Petri column!

  11. Savage Librarian says:

    Magic King Dump

    It’s a world of shafters
    A world of fears
    It’s a world of dopes
    And a world of smears
    It’s so sad who they snare
    But it’s time we’re aware
    It’s a small world grafter trawl

    It’s a small world grafter trawl
    It’s a small world grafter trawl
    It’s a small world grafter trawl
    It’s a small, stall world

    There is one big goon
    A son of a gun
    A smile so mean
    It makes Rudy’s hair run
    His encounters divide
    All the times he has lied
    It’s a small world grafter trawl

    It’s a small world grafter trawl
    It’s a small world grafter trawl
    It’s a small world grafter trawl
    It’s a small, stall world

    “Playing “It’s a small world” all over the world”

  12. Bay State Librul says:

    I stole this tweet from Sam Jeske
    “They should start the next Speaker vote with a runner on second.”

  13. bmaz says:

    So, that smarmy shitbag Adam Kinzinger is already a “CNN Senior Political Commentator”.

    That sure did not take long. Wonder how long it was in the works?

    Golly, wonder if the J6 Committee ever really transferred all their “evidence” to DOJ. I will hazard a fairly informed guess the answer is no.

    Knock two times on the pipe if you understand that thought.

    • BobBobCon says:

      Chris Licht is to Jeff Zucker as AG Sulzberger is to his dad AO. Kinzinger will be barely discernable from Santorum in a short while, no doubt.

      But can you imagine the idiot exec at CBS News who thought it made sense to hire Kinzinger’s former colleague Mick Mulvaney? The whole idea was that Mulvaney (supposedly) had insight into conservative GOP thinking. Can anyone imagine any scenario where Mulvaney opening his mouth doesn’t drag the CBS News brand further into the mud?

    • db_rouse says:

      That reminds of an infuriating thing I saw over at Digby’s site concerning the released transcripts.

      Deals to shield evidence from DOJ

      The Jan. 6 select committee indicated in numerous interviews with defendants — some awaiting sentencing for storming the Capitol — that it had agreed not to share any evidence it obtained during its interview with the Justice Department, unless that evidence described additional crimes or the committee suspected perjury.

      Those promises at least partially explain the panel’s fraught relationship with the Justice Department that became a theme throughout the latter half of its investigation, with the department repeatedly trying to obtain witness transcripts, only to be rebuffed by the panel until mid-December.

      So they didn’t do a immunity deal but instead agreed to outright obstruct the DOJ in order to get testimony.

      Added a couple of character to get me to eight.

      [FYI – Comment tag fixed. /~Rayne]

      • db_rouse says:

        The last two sentences are mine but ended up in the quote due to my apparent inability to manage simple tags.

  14. Ed Walker says:

    So they didn’t even vote this time, and barely approved a motion to adjourn 216-214.

    So this post lives to laugh another day.

  15. EricofMariposa says:

    What do they want?

    According to Natalie Andrews at the Wall Street Journal:

    Boebert, Perry and Gaetz went to McCarthy with a list of requests “that Mr. McCarthy promise to hold a vote on a proposal to secure the border put forward by Texas Republicans, a vote to place congressional term limits, and a tax bill that would replace income, payroll and other taxes with a consumption tax…also…any earmark that gets tacked on to legislation to be approved with a two-thirds vote, and that anytime an amendment to cut spending is proposed it be brought to the floor…Finally, the group requested that Mr. McCarthy not support specific members in primaries. A super PAC aligned with Mr. McCarthy has been willing to support specific candidates in primaries they believe have a better chance of winning.”

    • Ed Walker says:

      I have to say, this is a genuinely weak set of demands. I’d go with:
      1. Kevin McCarthy dresses up in a Donald Duck costume and quacks his way around the Capitol Building.

      2. Members of the BID party are majority on Ways And Means Committee.

      3. Lauren Boebert is new head of RNC.

    • BobBobCon says:

      If that’s all they wanted, they would have gotten sign off back in November. McCarthy doesn’t care one way or the other about those proposals. Or any policy at all.

      He’d back a draft of 11 year olds for an invasion of Mars if it got him 218 votes.

      That list was dropped to the WSJ for the sole purpose of making it sound like they had a non-crazy platform and McCarthy was fighting for petty reasons.

      And they also may have floated it to multiple outlets to see who was gullible enough to run it. In which case, Natalie Andrews and her editors at the WSJ are the losers in that contest.

      • EricofMariposa says:

        They seem to be negotiating for more leverage to force a fiscal showdown through debt ceiling blackmail:

        Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday. “Us 20 want changes, and we’re going to stay here until we get it…Could McCarthy all of a sudden morph into a fiscal conservative? We’ll see…Is he willing to shut the government down rather than raise the debt ceiling? That’s a non-negotiable item,” he added.

        • BobBobCon says:

          I think that’s getting closer, but I think it’s still a case of reporters giving far too much good faith to the things these people are saying, writing things like:

          “A group of seven conservatives opposed to McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter last month demanding that the next Speaker “commit to not raising the debt ceiling without a concrete plan to cap spending and operate under a budget that balances in 10 years.” ”

          They know that a balanced budget in 10 years isn’t happening, and what’s more they don’t want that. This group loves gigantic deficits and huge amounts of spending. It’s literally there in their voting patterns.

          This is Hans Gruber demanding a release of dozens of terrorists around the world as a distraction while he breaks into the vault and wires the building for detonation. These people want to blow up the building.

          • Rayne says:

            They don’t *want* to blow up the building, their refusal to cooperate with their party’s majority *is* the act of obstructing government thereby virtually blowing up the Capitol.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Scalise is a non-starter, he’s to the right of McCarthy. Might as well agree on Stefanik, Gaetz or Gosar.

    The Dems owe the Rs nothing. Let them stew in their own bile for a while. For one thing, the Rs have no legislative agenda. Their only announced goals are to shut down anything positive the Dems tried to do the last two years, and to gut established programs that support average Americans, like Medicare and Social Security. Media like the NYT continue to fail. They are all in for Republicans, noting only that “the House” has failed to appoint a Speaker, as if the failure were a bipartisan affair. Fuck ’em.

    When it comes time for the Dems to agree on a Speaker with some faction of the Republican Party, Dems would be smart to demand their pound of legislative flesh, regarding committee assignments, chairs, budgets, etc. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the GOP, but there’s still a country to run.

  17. dadidoc1 says:

    I’m surprised that no one has nominated the former president. He’s available and not a single Republican would dare vote against him. It wouldn’t get rid of the circus atmosphere, but I’m not the only one who has pondered this.

    • Peterr says:

      He’d see it as a demotion, and would refuse to even consider it. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some member had approached him about it, perhaps over dinner at Mar-a-Lago, and if so, they probably left with their ears ringing from all the shouting.

      “I should be sitting in the Oval Office right now, and you want me to bang a gavel at all you little people in the House? Give me a #^$!&$% break!”

      And then some spaghetti would hit the wall of the dining room.

      • vvv says:

        I had an uncle used to eat his spaghetti and gravy with ketchup poured on top.

        Two birds with one stone, see.

  18. Ken_04JAN2023_2254h says:

    A telling and sobering point that the chaos happening now in the U.S. House of Representatives is a continuation from last year’s 1/6.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because of the number of community members here named “Ken” or “Kenneth,” and the shortness of the username used on this comment, your name will be temporarily modified to indicate today’s date and changed when you have chosen a new username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  19. sandman8 says:

    [From the poster formerly known as sand; have not posted in a while, but still reading; thanks as always]

    George Takei self-nominated via twitter. He’s got a gig in London, but it seems he’d come back to be Speaker. America first, I guess. A quick wit could satisfy both Ds and Rs by burning the BIDs on the floor routinely. Seems like it could work as well as anything at this point.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  20. higgs boson says:

    I don’t have anything to add to all these excellent comments, I just wanted to say that I absolutely love the picture fronting this article. Perfect in so many ways.

    • Jenny says:

      Totally agree. Spot on picture.

      Perhaps George Santos as speaker. Might be the perfect poster boy for the GOP in 2023.

    • Ed Walker says:

      Shorter Boebert: I won’t ever vote for Kevin.
      Ruhle: what about the American people?
      Boebert: they want us to destroy the government.
      Ruhle: sputter

  21. Rwood0808 says:

    “So here’s my solution: the Rs elect Hakeem Jeffries and let the Ds run the House. In return, the Ds agree to take all reasonable steps to marginalize the BID Party members. No committee seats, no earmarks, no rides on military aircraft, no post offices, no flags flown over the Capitol, and anything else suggested by the Elders of the party, Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi.”

    I don’t see that happening but if they were to agree on a more centrist GOP speaker it might be attractive to them. Who would that GOP “centrist” (I know-I know) be?

    Regardless, if the internal war continues to rage it won’t matter who gets the seat. It’ll still be gridlock and BS investigations for the next two years. Until the GOP rid themselves of the BID’s nothing will change.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      Procedural question: why do they keep holding vote after vote? They can’t possibly be making meaningful headway in discussions during that short an interval. Is there a particular reason not to just adjourn for more negotations after the first failed vote of the day?

      • peterNZed says:

        It appears that that the mcCarthy republicans do not have the numbers to win a vote to adjourn.
        The democrats are enjoying mcCarthy losing repeatedly and the rebel republicans are awaiting more radical concessions to swing their votes..
        So no adjournment for a while i believe..

    • Jenny says:

      There are two different types of leader. A person can either be like a thermometer or a thermostat. A thermometer will tell you what the temperature is. A thermostat will not only tell you what the temperature is, but it’ll move you to the temperature you need to get to.
      Kevin McCarthy

  22. pdaly says:

    Mark Twain’s line “Let us draw the curtain of charity over the rest of this scene” comes to mind, but then it is quickly brushed aside– for this is must see tv.

  23. Linfalas says:

    As I see it, there are two groups sustaining the stalemate and a third group that could take actions to influence a resolution.

    I’ll take the third group first, the Democratic Caucus. I had thoughts they could vote for an alternative non-Democrat candidate. But now think the risks and downsides are not worth taking. As stated above, it’s not their problem to fix and probably the only result would be making whomever they voted for hate them forever.

    The “never Kevin’s” have no reason to give in. I don’t believe they were ever negotiating in good faith. They are accomplishing their goal and any concessions serve to emphasize McCarthy would be a weak Speaker.

    The third group is Kevin McCarthy himself. As long as, he continues to seek the Speaker position the rest of the Republican caucus will continue to fall in line behind him.

    How does this end? I don’t believe the “never Kevin’s” will fold. That only leaves McCarthy stepping aside. How long it takes for political costs to convince McCarthy to “… for the good of the country and the party…” remains to be seen.

    In the meantime, there will be consequences, but nothing dire.

  24. harpie says:

    On the 2nd anniversary of 1/6/21 > J6 and the CACA Caucus wing of the BIDdie Party:
    6:51 AM · Jan 6, 2023

    NEW: The Jan. 6 committee’s massive evidence trove tells a second crucial story: At every phase of Trump’s scheme, he was enabled and prodded along by a band of House Republicans — some now at the center of the speakership chaos w/ @nicholaswu12

    Two in particular are almost ubiquitous — Scott PERRY and Paul GOSAR.

    Gosar was a member of a “Stop the Steal” Twitter DM group along with Ali Alexander and other organizers. He messaged them from lockdown at the Capitol. [THREAD] [LINK]

    Enablers, line-straddlers and quiet resisters: How GOP lawmakers contributed to Jan. 6 Jan. 6 panel members released mountains of evidence that painted a detailed picture of their GOP colleagues — just as they’re taking the House majority.
    01/06/2023 04:30 AM EST

  25. harpie says:

    House members blocking McCarthy speaker bid meet at offices of ex-Trump chief Mark Meadows
    Jon Ward January 6, 2023 11:22 AM

    Several Republican House members fighting to stop Rep. Kevin McCarthy from becoming speaker of the House met Friday morning at the offices of the Conservative Partnership Institute, an organization run by Mark Meadows and Jim DeMint. […]

    • harpie says:

      TODAY: 8:30 AM Yahoo News observed BIGGS, Byron DONALDS, GOSAR, Ralph NORMAN, PERRY, and GAETZ walking [or about to re: Gaetz] into MEADOWS and DEMINT’s workplace at the CPI offices a few blocks from the Capitol.

      Most of the Republican congressmen at CPI on Friday morning have been gathering there for months. CPI’s social media accounts include many pictures and videos showing these Republicans talking about meeting at CPI and using the organization’s facilities to do interviews with right-wing media.

      DeMint said in a promotional video that CPI is “providing resources, facilities and staff” to members of Congress that it supports.”

      “When you take a stand here you have to know someone has your back,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., said in a CPI video, striding briskly out of a House office building while dramatic music plays in the background.

    • harpie says:

      7:06 PM · Jan 4, 2023

      BREAKING IN @PunchbowlNews
      PM: @club4growth has cut a major deal with McCarthy-aligned @CLFSuperPAC that paves the way for CLUB to support MCCARTHY

      CLF will stop spending in safe open-seat primaries. This is a BIG gripe of the KM opposition.

      CONSERVATIVES have long griped that CLF is playing in safe open seat primaries, trying to snuff out conservatives
      CLF will now not spend in safe open seat primaries
      BIG BIG agreement in the House Republican world.
      BIG WIN for conservatives.

      Marcy then retweets:
      CBHessick [7:26 AM · Jan 5, 2023]

      Reading about this PAC money deal, and I’m reminded that the Court declared that these organizations were constitutionally exempt from campaign finance regulations because they couldn’t coordinate with elected officials and candidates.

      Ironically, this PAC deal appears to violate even CJ Roberts’ narrow vision of illegal political corruption: It’s quid pro quo bribery The holdouts will give McCarthy their vote in return for a thing of value (staying out of certain primary elections).
      7:46 AM · Jan 5, 2023

      Replying to @CBHessick
      I’m sure Ginni’s best friend will be right on that.

      • harpie says:

        Two signers of the Conservative Partnership Institute letter listed Club for Growth as their organization:

        1] The Honorable David McIntosh // President // Club for Growth
        2] Scott T. Parkinson // Vice President for Government Affairs // Club for Growth

        Signer’s include: Ken BLACKWELL, Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] THOMAS, Ed CORRIGAN, Russ VOUGHT, Cleta MITCHELL

      • harpie says:

        11/7/20 – [Mike] LEE to MEADOWS:

        Please give this to the president [] We’re sending this as a private communication from us to him through you. We are not issuing it as a press release. [] Use it however you deem appropriate [] And if it’s helpful to you for you to leak it, feel free to do so [Many of the same signers as the CPI letters]

        Dear Mr. President, We the undersigned offer our unequivocal support for you to exhaust every legal and constitutional remedy at your disposal to restore Americans faith in our elections. This fight is about much more than just this election. This fight is about the fundamental fairness and integrity of our election system. The nation is depending upon your continued resolve. Stay strong and keep fighting Mr. President. Sincerely, Senator Mike Lee // Congressman Andy Biggs // Congressman Mike Johnson […] David McIntosh, President, Club for Growth PAC […]

        • bmaz says:

          No. Brady, Jencks and Giglio control, and this is absolutely pertinent information and the defense and DOJ entitled to it. J6 are just being incompetent assholes.

          • harpie says:

            I was pretty sure this had not been intended here.
            I think it was not, based on your comment from another post?

      • EricofMariposa says:

        Historical analysis of the KOCH MACHINE 2023:

        “In 1980, David Koch ran for vice president with the Libertarian Party, an organization created by the real estate lobby to give an air of legitimacy to their efforts to outlaw rent control and end government regulation of their industry.

        His platform included a whole series of positions that were specifically designed to roll back and gut FDR’s ‘big government’ programs (along with those added on by both Nixon and LBJ’s Great Society) that had created and then sustained America’s 20th century middle class:

        — We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.
        — We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.
        — We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services…”

    • EricofMariposa says:

      How about “Dum Dum Boys,” after Iggy Pop’s 1976 song:

      “Former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox Business’ Larry Kudlow that the leaders of the revolt were ‘throwing the equivalent of a temper tantrum, with no workable plan to resolve the crisis.’ He appealed to viewers to call lawmakers blocking the McCarthy advance to make clear they believe their campaign is ‘so destructive and, candidly, so stupid.’ ”

      ‘Madness.’ ‘Chaos.’ ‘Stupid.’ How the McCarthy stalemate is playing on Fox News
      James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, 7 January 2023

Comments are closed.