Big Kev Belittled

I just realized I’ve been so entranced by the shitshow Matt Gaetz created in the House I forgot to create a space where we could all laugh about it.

Kevin McCarthy has been removed as Speaker, with 8 Republicans voting to oust him. Patrick McHenry holds the gavel until someone figures out what comes next.

In the Senate as this was all going down, Democrats were making history as Laphonza Butler was sworn in to replace Dianne Feinstein.

In New York, Trump was slapped with his first (limited) gag order after he targeted the First Clerk of Judge Arthur Engoron.

As Tea Partiers were eating Kevin McCarthy’s face, Joe Biden rolled out Medicare drug price negotiations on ten key drugs.

Jury selection started in the Sam Bankman-Fried case.

The Fifth Circuit enjoined the Cybersecurity Information Security Agency from speaking with social media companies.

And somewhere way down the list of newsworthy events, Hunter Biden pled not-guilty.

321 replies
    • Matt___B says:

      Well…if Kev wants bragging rights, he can always say that his speakership lasted 2 months longer than Garfield’s presidency (1881-1881)

      • Rugger_9 says:

        And ~ six months longer than Liz Truss as PM, who didn’t beat a head of lettuce.

        As far as the House is concerned, it would appear to me that the 45-day extension will not be enough as long as the MAGA caucus can keep tossing sand into the works.

        I can see SBF going the way of Elizabeth Holmes, and while she gambled with lives (bad enough) I have no doubt SBF wiped out more than a few people (also very bad).

        I will enjoy Abbe Lowell taking apart the government’s case on the gun charge.

        As usual, Defendant-1 is daring a judge to toss him in jail, and FWIW I would speculate he’s on his last chances with Chutkan and Engoron. Doxxing anyone is bad and I can see Engoron in particular sending DJT to the sneezer (h/t Charlie Pierce) without access to anyone but his lawyers especially if anything is threatened on his clerk.

        • Scott_in_MI says:

          Even assuming that Engoron was inclined to order Trump detained, would he have the authority, given that this is a civil case?

              • Harry Eagar says:

                Matty Mattoun was a billionaire who went to jail in a civil case. Only for a day but he got the message. (If you can find the clip, look at his lawyers.)

          • Ebenezer Scrooges says:

            I agree with scroogmcduck. New York State has probably given him the authority. BUT! There is the issue of Secret Service protection: federal law. I don’t know if this would restrict Justice Engeron’s authority over Trump’s body.

            • Rugger_9 says:

              I doubt it, although it would be harder for bad things to happen to other inmates at Rikers if the Secret Service was witnessing as well.

          • Patrick Carty says:

            Why have a gag order if the judge can’t enforce it. Plus the gag order covers everyone involved just so there’s parity. But yeah we know one person involved has a difficult time keeping his thoughts to himself. This could be an interesting procedure.

          • Gerard Plourde says:

            The fact that it’s a civil case doesn’t matter. Violation of a court order is contempt and can result in imprisonment if sufficiently egregious.

              • Joeff53 says:

                Perhaps you could elaborate. I’ve done a contempt case or two in my day and I’m not aware of a difference arising from whether the underlying order came in a civil vs criminal case.

                • Elvishaslefthebuilding says:

                  I am not a New York Lawyer. The remedies available for civil contempt in New York are, no doubt, unique to that jurisdiction.

                  That being said, it appears from 15 minutes of research that the judge’s power would be governed by Section753 of the Judicial Code which appears to authorize imprisonment and fines for certain kind of civil contempt. The only enumerated item that seems to apply in the Trump case authorizes such sanctions in cases involving “A party to the action or special proceeding, . . .for any other disobedience to a lawful mandate of the court.”
                  It appears that imprisonment for civil contempt has become a tool that is used in domestic relations cases in New York.
                  I would think that domestic relations cases are distinguishable as the remedy of imprisonment is imposed to protect the rights of anotherr party in the case of a court order. My internet adventure found no cases where someone was cited with civil contempt and thrown in jail for being an asshole (like happens in the movies)..

                  • bmaz says:

                    Nope. Have to lay the foundation, and it is nowhere here there yet. Judge made the first step this morning, but still a lot ahead.

        • Phaedruses says:

          Seems like the judge felt the need to put extra emphasis his message at the end of the day

          Judge Kicks Reporters Out of Courtroom to Talk to Trump and AG

          A turbulent second day at Donald Trump’s bank fraud trial in New York came to an equally puzzling end, when the judge unceremoniously kicked out all journalists from the courtroom to speak privately with the former president and Attorney General Letitia James.


          Trump, James, and their respective legal teams remained in the courtroom for more than 20 minutes before exiting.

          Interesting trump did not give another court house steps speech after this.

      • HikaakiH says:

        (Because I’m a numbers pedant)
        12 PM is an ‘invention’ of digital clocks.
        There is no such thing as 12pm. That should be 12 noon.
        AM stands for ante meridiem, which is before noon, while PM stands for post meridiem, which after noon.
        12 AM is correct as 12 midnight is undoubtedly before noon on its day, but 12 PM is an oxymoronic time of day.

        • scroogemcduck says:

          Is midnight correct though. Which day is it? Is it the last moment of the first day or the first moment of the second? Is it botj

          • SteveBev says:

            The astronomical day commences at noon of the civil day of the same date.
            We may remark that the commencement of the astronomical day commences twelve hours after the civil day.

            By this token 12 midnight, being 12 hours before noon is the commencement of the civil day, and can be properly referred to as 12 am of X date. A civil day is the 24 hour period between X date and X+1 date

        • Henry Ridgeway says:

          12 noon and 12 midnight are redundant. AP Stylebook say noon or midnight, no 12 is needed.

  1. Anomalous Cowherd says:

    Every time I see “ Sam Bankman-Fried” , I parse it as “Some Bunk,man – Fraud!” Does that make me a terrible person?

  2. ExRacerX says:

    House Republican infighting > McCarthy’s replacement by a Democratic Speaker?

    Only time will tell, but I’m gonna go ahead and restock the popcorn supply, just to be prepared.

  3. Pat Neomi says:

    Today (or tomorrow, whenever it would be posted) is one day that I really miss not being on Twitter anymore. I sure would get a hearty chuckle out of the NYTimes Pitchbot tweeting out “Dems in Dissaray.”

        • Unabogie says:

          “There is no ethical consumption under capitalism” is a bromide, but it can be true. The reason to not be on there is that by being on Twitter, you are making money for a Nazi and now, with payments to “creators,” his Nazi friends too.

          So yes, there is a reason I cannot be on Twitter.

          • RipNoLonger says:

            Well stated. Yet some keep wanting to support Musk. And we all know that he can turn off the links whenever he wants. Too many government and corporate groups are using his personal communication channel.

        • Pat Neomi says:

          It’s so true. I exodus-ed soon after Musk took over, when it felt like doing so might–coupled with the seemingly many others who left–make a statement. However, I also partially (to what extent I do not know) premised my exodus on the fact that I was in the autumn of my undergraduate studies, and any excuse I could find to limit social media consumption seemed prudent. With a BA in hand, and when, in a month or two, I’ve put the cap on applications for the next educational step, I think I’ll have to revisit my Twitter absence. As commenters above note, there are arguably downsides to Twitter consumption. But absence makes the heart recognize (and perhaps grow fonder of?) the truly and seemingly irreplaceable benefits of it too.

    • BobBobCon says:

      Along with “Dems in Disarray” one of the eternal cliches of the DC press corps is that Democrats need to try harder to be bipartisan and reach across the aisle to find compromise. Idiots like Thomas Edsall and Carl Hulse endlessly chant about how both sides are moving farther apart, never the GOP going into outer space while Democrats remain on planet earth.

      The GOP can’t even agree with itself, unlike the Democrats under Pelosi. But the entrenched DC press will still find a way to blame Democrats.

      • Pat Neomi says:

        So true. The breach grows wider, but so many refuse to fully analyze what’s causing that. Suffice to say, it’s not “both sides” moving apart from each other.

    • Estragon says:

      I’m not sure if this is meant in jest but Bakersfield is… a little grim. Now Techachapi, on the other hand, is charming. And there’s good rafting on the kern river.

        • gertibird says:

          There is the famous “Tehachapi Train Loop” that climbs up from Bakersfield to Tehachapi. It’s the steepest elevation change of a train in America. You can drive to the vantage point and watch the figure eight of the train climbing over itself through a tunnel to gain the steep elevation. A fun and interesting day trip if you live in LA or there about. Trains do the climb every few hours. Downtown old Tehachapi has some good local eatery’s and a neat outdoor museum of old fire alarm equipment that is worth seeing.

      • punaise says:

        Yes, I omitted the coastal elite snark tag. While it is rather dismal, I’m sure there are some discreet upsides. Daughter and son-in-law survived four years there for professional reasons and hightailed it out of there as soon as they could. However, Sequoia National Forest to the east (the Kern River watershed) and WindWolves Preserve (a land trust) to the west offer some great outdoor recreation settings.

              • bmaz says:

                Lol, I could pretty much walk to El Charro (no, I don’t, am lazy and drive). It is not the same as it used to be though, new owners “updated” it.

                • jmac10878 says:

                  BUMMER… When I was preparing to move to Tucson in 1999, I was lucky enough to get seated at a table that the head chef was waiting on that night. He heartily approved of my order of the Carne Seca Topopo, and nearly peed his pants when he put it in front of me and my wife said (with a straight face) looks like a volcano.

        • P J Evans says:

          I used to have family in Oildale. (They’re all dead or moved elsewhere in the San Joaquin valley.) It was “hang a left at the water tower” onto Wells, and up a few blocks.

      • Tracy Lynn says:

        I would never say this even tho I’m a coastal elite. But I have a friend who lived in Tehachapi who called it “The heaven between two hells,” as it is located between Bakersfield and the Mojave Desert.

      • xxbronxx says:

        Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives at the 93 year old Bakersfield Fox Theater later this month is reason enough to go to Bakersfield. Maybe it is grim but it’s also home to non-stop great music of the Country kind.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Bakersfield’s only redemption is as the birthplace of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Life without the Highwaymen (and the Buckaroos) would have been much less fun on the dance floor. Music made for a truck pulling a horse trailer.

          • nord dakota says:

            Back in the 70s, my friend (from LA) and I (from MN) traveled from MN to LA by way of a family friend ride to Seattle and then thumbs the rest of the way. We ended up in Bakersfield at one point. It looked and felt like, say, 1961 (I swear a guy drove by with his t-shirt sleeve rolled up and holding a pack of Marlboros). We got a ride from a fatherly truck driver. But the guy who got us to Bakersfield we were (98%) convinced was Merle Haggard using a different name. In mountainous areas (where we started, I really had no idea where we were most of the time) he’s holler about aiming for the hillside because his brakes weren’t great.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      I’ve always found Bakersfield to be a good place to drive through on the way to someplace else.

  4. RitaRita says:

    I watched a little bit of the “debate” preceding the vote.

    For Republicans, at least in public, even the faintest whiff of working with Democrats to achieve something good for the nation seems to be an unpardonable offense. And their expectation that they could achieve all of their goals this year without Democratic support in the Senate or the White House seems as fanciful as Trump’s real estate valuations.

    I think Democrats may have supported McCarthy but they felt that he didn’t keep agreements and they didn’t appreciate McCarthy taking victory laps on the Sunday shows while trashing Democrats.

    • harold hecuba says:


      I think it’s quite possible that Patrick McHenry (temp speaker) keeps the gavel. Yeah, he’s a Republican with the usual Republican policy leanings, but he’s not a complete nut. I think he’s someone Dems can work with.

      The next couple of days will be interesting, to say the least.

      • ToldainDarkwater says:

        This is a reasonable guees, but this isn’t a reasonable situation, and the Gang of Eight aren’t reasonable. They will likely seek the same concessions from McHenry, or even more. Will he give them?

        This group wants a shutdown. If the process drags out for more than 45 days, that’s good for them. To be fair, almost nobody in the House thinks they are acting in good faith. But what’s the way forward?

        I think one possibility – I wouldn’t call it likely – would be for 4 (or more) Republicans from districts that Biden won switch their caucus and their party affiliation, and make Jeffries the Speaker.

      • punaise says:

        “If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest… I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me McLiberty or give me McBeth!”

      • Patrick Carty says:

        Sincere question since I don’t know the answer, but is McHenry beholden to the same draconian dog leash McCarthy was on? Like a single disgruntled colleague can call for a procedure to remove? Didn’t the original/ previous rules call for 12- 15 votes to initiate removal?

        • ToldainDarkwater says:

          I would think the new speaker is not obligated to any of the promises the old speaker made. McHenry’s hold on the gavel is only relevant to proceedings toward electing a new speaker, in my understanding. He cannot conduct ordinary business. So mostly the question of whether he is bound is not relevant.

          • Patrick Carty says:

            So hopefully the Gaetz Caucus is out of ammo regarding further threats against moderate Republicans. They manipulated Kevin with an ominous future but today just cashed it in. Matty played his hand and now it’s done.

        • wrog____ says:

          it’s not about McHenry but rather the Next Speaker, and I believe the answer will be yes unless they can also do a rules amendment, and I don’t know what the threshold is for doing that in the House in the middle of the session (at the start of the session it’s simple majority to adopt rules but they usually make amending harder; if they need 2/3, life gets Interesting)

          • Patrick Carty says:

            Doesn’t 2/3 make it even harder for Gaetz to continue? If all Democrats and any sane Republicans vote to re-establish the old rules he stands no chance except for the seven other cretins to go along. At some point the republicans need to stop digging.

            • Fraud Guy says:

              The first rule of holes is to stop digging.

              However, for Republicans, the first rule of a-holes is to get a bigger shovel.

              • pasha says:

                Minor correction: For Republicans, the first “rule of holes” is to FUNDRAISE that you want a bigger shovel — and inquiry into whether money is actually used for the shovel is “election interference”

      • gertibird says:

        Will the new speaker be subject to the current rule where one person can vacate the Speaker like Gaetz was able to do? If yes, no speaker will be able to get anything done or at least has any possibility of getting through the Senate or the presidency. That is a huge problem for the Republican Party.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Lol, read this from Joan McC at dKos:

        Her lede pretty much nails it:

        “If the man who slammed down the gavel on Kevin McCarthy’s time as speaker seems unfamiliar, that’s not surprising. Despite two decades in the House, Rep. Patrick McHenry has a record remarkably unblemished by anything resembling accomplishment. His entire career seems to consist of keeping a safely Republican seat occupied and generally being a rude little snot.”

        The list of his assholeries is long and depressing.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Clyburn is attributed with the report that the McCarthy disrespect on Face the Nation (and the host laughed at him for floating this idea), claiming the Ds were responsible for the delays.

      I also noticed that Van Drew yelled to pull a fire alarm when casting his no vote to GOP giggles.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Just to add a bit of petty spitefulness, the pro tem Speaker wants to boot Pelosi out of her office because he can. Karma will be a bitch on wheels when it comes.

        I think there will be a shutdown because the GOP will never vote for Jefferies (because he’ll not be pliable at all) and only a mouthbreather will be acceptable to the MAGA caucus.

        Will the courtier press cover this like they should? Nope.

        • P J Evans says:

          It’s her hidden office, not the official one. But McCarthy must have known about it, and *he* didn’t kick her out. Worse than that, the guy set a deadline the ends before she gets back from DiFi’s funeral.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Not only does Patrick [Mc]Henry want to kick Pelosi out of her long held office, he is demanding she be out by tomorrow because he is changing the locks. She, meanwhile, is in San Francisco for DiFi’s funeral on Thursday.

          What a petty little shit.

        • Harry Eagar says:

          Hard to figure that one. Even if McHenry has some personal animus against Pelosi, he makes things harder for his party. Don’t know anything about him other than hearing a couple of brief interviews on Bloomberg. He did not impress.

          • Rugger_9 says:

            McHenry also apparently booted out Hoyer as well.

            The diss will not be forgotten, and karma is coming.

            • bmaz says:

              It took, what, 12 hours or less for McHenry and the GOP to fire off this petty bullshit? And with Pelosi in CA with Feinstein’s dead body. What ghouls do this? And Hoyer too.

              • gertibird says:

                The republican party is claiming it is the freedom party republicans that are petty and causing the problems, but with this latest move one can see it isn’t just them in the republican party. There are a whole lot of others supporting them too.

                • harold hecuba says:

                  And now CNN says that McCarthy is behind the request to kick Pelosi out…so he can move in.

                  McHenry may not be a complete nut, but those kneepads of his are starting to wear thin. He’ll need new ones once he takes up residence under McCarthy’s desk.

  5. BobBobCon says:

    If the execs at major outlets had a lick of sense, they’d dump the editors and reporters who embedded themselves in McCarthy’s orbit. Odds are that the minority had far better intel into what was going on across the aisle and were more likely to give an honest readout.

    But standard operating procedure among House reporters is to camp out by the GOP leadership’s offices and let their staff feed them the storyline of the day.

    Tim Alberta had them all pegged as bad faith operators going back to Mark Meadows’ time running the Freedom Caucus. McCarthy is just another faker in the same mold as Meadows.

    Hill reporters need to expand their source networks to include more Democrats and stop treating the GOP’s statements as remotely close to reality. But that means thinking and admitting mistakes, so I’m not holding out hope.

    • Rayne says:

      I had to re-read your comment because I thought you wrote “obit” but you wrote “orbit.” Shucks.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      You have pegged it – they just camp outside of the xxx-du-jour. Much easier than getting up and wandering down the hall for another opinion.

      As Rayne wrote, orbit vs. obit – sometimes they are the same thing.

      What has happened to the hungry reporters? Are they too well fed?

      • Rayne says:

        Other way around, I think. Reporters at the big outlets are under the gun to produce high volumes of clicky-baity content and insufficiently rewarded for pushback on subjects.

  6. Cicero101 says:

    McCarthy mounting a spurious impeachment inquiry against a Democratic President might play a part in the Democratic House declining to support him.

        • P J Evans says:

          Whoever is fourth now.
          Pres, VP, Speaker, then I think it goes through the Cabinet in seniority of department.

          • Molly Pitcher says:

            After the Speaker comes president pro tempore of the Senate, and then Cabinet secretaries, depending on eligibility.

            • bmaz says:

              Yes. The answer is currently Patty Murray. Frankly, I’d be good with Patty Murray, but not looking forward to Speaker Jim Jordan.

              • Scott_in_MI says:

                I’d be surprised if Jordan could muster the votes, though honestly I don’t have a more-likely alternative candidate to offer. I still maintain that the best thing for the country would be for the requisite number of reasonably-moderate Republicans to fall on their swords (career-wise) and cast votes for Hakeem Jeffries as speaker, so that the Republicans can get back to the kind of back-bench sniping that is obviously their core competency these days. Yes, yes, I know; still, a boy can dream.

                • Rugger_9 says:

                  I cannot see the Ds voting for anyone other than Jeffries especially after the events and rank pettiness of this week by McCarthy and McHenry. That means only GOP votes will be in play.

                  There is the MAGA camp and what passes for the ‘establishment’ camp (though they’re nuts as well) and both camps have drawn lines in the sand about what they will accept. Litmus tests abound as well so I see three blocs like a parliamentary system. None of them at this point will work with any of the others.

                  That points to a shutdown in 42 days, and FWIW I’ll be really surprised if the courtier press will lay the blame on the GOP where it clearly belongs. Instead, they will flog the Ds for not being ‘reasonable’ for the sake of the country because that is what the editors will allow them to print.

                  • RitaRita says:

                    Dan Balz of the Washington Post and the Editors of the New York Times both talked about Republican chaos and dysfunction. Maybe they can no longer ignore the obvious.

                    • Rayne says:

                      When pointing to articles a link would be nice even if the source is behind a paywall and Murdoch-owned.

  7. scroogemcduck says:

    Serious point – this all begins with gerrymandering and Republican-only primaries.

    When you have districts where literally anyone on the Republican ticket will get elected, and the Republican primary voters are lunatics who will reliably vote for the candidate with the Q badge who wants to disband the Government and send the Dems to Gitmo, you end up with a House full of Gaetzes, Bohberts, Taylor-Greenes and Santoses.

  8. boatgeek says:

    [channeling my inner Nelson] Ha, Ha!

    So Judge Engoron told the parties in the NY trial that “Personal attacks on members on my court staff are unacceptable, inappropriate, and I won’t tolerate it [in my courtroom]” and to “consider this a gag order for all parties from posting about any members of my staff.” Trump promptly went out into the lobby and said, “This trial is a rigged trial … You saw what was just put out about [Chuck] Schumer and the principal clerk — that is disgraceful.”

    Anyone want to take an over/under bet on how long before Engoron gives Trump a time out in the graybar motel?

    • IainUlysses says:

      I can’t see how the court can make that work. I also don’t see how the court can tolerate trying to harass a clerk. Did he actually post her phone number or was that bad initial reporting?

      Sanctions in the 7 figures maybe? It’s nuts.

      • boatgeek says:

        AIUI (IANAL), NY law allows for jail sentences of up to 30 days for contempt of court. Aren’t violations of gag orders punished via contempt of court? The other available sanctions for contempt (fines in the $1K range) wouldn’t be a deterrent to Trump.

          • boatgeek says:

            That’s fair, though Engoron appears to (rightfully) have a very short and steep ramp in this case. He’s done stern warnings (public comment and possibly the post-trial conference last night). It’s possible that he also issued a fine last night, but so far nobody is talking. If fines don’t work, the next logical step is jail.

            On reading more news coverage today, I’m not 100% sure that my timeline above is accurate. I haven’t seen anything that explicitly says that the “You saw what was put out” comment came after Engoron issued the gag order from the bench. It seems likely, but I haven’t seen that spelled out. If that comment was before the gag order, then we are at an earlier stage of ramping up.

  9. Jharp jharp says:

    So then. Is Hunters Biden’s crime worse than this one?

    I found this rather shocking. Am I wrong?

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man was sentenced to probation after he made a false statement during the purchase of a gun that was used in the killing of a Chicago girl in 2021.

    According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, 25-year-old Eric Lamar Keys Jr. was sentenced for making a false statement while purchasing a firearm.

    Documents said that officers with the Chicago Police Department were dispatched to a shooting at a McDonald’s in April 2021. When officers arrived, they found a man shot in the stomach and a 6-year-old girl who had been shot and killed. The release said the suspect was arrested and one of the guns used in the shooting, a Glock .40 caliber pistol, was purchased by Keys 48 days before the incident.

    Along with the two-year probation period, Keys is required to pay a $800 fine, the release said.

    • sunflore says:

      INAL..Dr. Wheeler, if I am not mistaken in my understanding, has suggested that HB may have a claim of selective prosecution, or at least the publicly available information suggests this

    • nord dakota says:

      Idk where this is at currently considering gun rights decisions but remember reading (in re people pointing to Chicago as proof gun access restrictions do not deter violent crime) that people in Chicago buy their guns in Indiana.

  10. Peterr says:

    I’d love to see the headline “Matt Gaetz Cooperates with Dems to Remove GOP Speaker of the House”.

  11. Ichibod Crane says:

    One of the more surprising outcrops from the Kevin McCarthy drama is that Newt Gingrich is shocked! Shocked I tell you, that Matt Gaetz called to kick out Kevin McCarthy. You can draw direct line from the actions of Gingrich to Gaetz. Once Gingrich called to destroy all bipartisanship in the House, the next step would be the fracturing of the parties.

    • Ichibod Crane says:

      Sorry, meant to note that this based on an opinion piece written by Newt in the Washington Post.

    • Purple Martin says:

      Yup, I read the Gingrich WaPo piece and observe most of the comments concerned an accurate point that Gaetz is simply the entirely predictable outcome of a process Newt Gingrich himself initiated.

      In Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Mike describes his bankruptcy as happening “in two ways…gradually, then suddenly.” The Republican’s Congressional failures began gradually as Newt’s 1990’s partisan weaponization of political polarization shifted the House of Representatives’ from advancing realistic policy objectives, to naked pursuit of power. That gradually accelerated with Mitch McConnel’s quieter, more subtle, but effective and even more partisan molding of the Senate to the same ends.

      Finally—suddenly—Donald Trump’s naked longing to wield power as a Putin-like authoritarian met up with MAGA populism’s deadly combination of insecurity and moral superiority, resulting in an almost cartoonish desire for a Strong Man leader, for someone powerful to validate the greed, bullying, sexual abuse, racism, and xenophobia they once hid.

      None of this was ever based on conservative principles. All of it inflicts substantial damage on America’s culture and society. Together, the naked quest for power has driven the devolution of Republicans from a political party interested in sustaining and managing—that is, conserving—the classical western liberalism they once supported, into a purely populist cultural movement primarily characterized by the resentment, envy, greed, fear, and rage of its base.

      In an interview about the 2022 midterm Republican election results, Newt Gingrich said:

      I feel like a guy whose compass is so goofed up I have no idea which way is north.

      That’s as perfect an accurate, less that 20-word self-distillation of a person’s entire life, as any I’ve ever heard.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        “Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so.”

        (Regarding the suggestion of self-awareness on Newt Gingrich’s part.)

  12. IainUlysses says:

    Let us all congratulate McCarthy on his historic ouster.

    Will it take more or less than 15 votes for the next one?

    • Legonaut says:

      I expect more than 15 votes before we’ll see the white smoke. The current Republican caucus is in even greater disarray than it was in January (if that’s possible), plus now there’s proof that the bomb-throwers will actually throw the bombs. The math doesn’t work, and Republicans can’t math at the best of times.

      Who’s gonna volunteer for the kind of blender that ate Boehner, then Ryan, and now McCarthy?
      All McCarthy’s concession of the vacate rule did was sharpen the blades on his own suicide machine, and make the House even more ungovernable for Republicans. (As usual, I expect it’ll take another Democrat majority to fix the Republican’s blunder and restore sanity.)

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump targeted the clerk of one of New York’s Supreme Court justices, because he doesn’t like his boss or the prospect of being held accountable by anyone, let alone where he might/will lose his ability to own or transact business in New York.

    The clerk doesn’t need that shit. They have a modest, good job, that’s hard work in one of the world’s most expensive cities in the world. They don’t need some would be billionaire using them like a pinata, and possibly putting them in danger. Engoron was restrained.

    Is this Trump acting out against the weakest figure within his reach because he thinks that’s always a freebie? Is he just desperate? Or is he framing it as purposefully trying to enrage the judge in hopes that he makes a reversible error? I don’t care any more. I see it as affirmation that Trump is so volatile and abusive a personality and businessman that he deserves the harshest consequences allowed for any proven illegal conduct.

    • RitaRita says:

      When Trump violates the gag order, I think an appropriate sanction would be for Trump to pay for additional security needs of court personnel.

    • BirdGardener says:

      “Trump targeted the clerk of one of New York’s Supreme Court justices, because he doesn’t like his boss”—the clerk Trump targeted is a woman.

      Since the start of the trial on Monday morning, Greenfield has been sitting immediately to the right of Engoron, which placed her directly facing Trump. She resumed that same seat Tuesday afternoon, as Engoron read the gag order.

    • SteveBev says:

      And the content of the attack was particularly batshit crazy

      Trump is spinning. Getting more volatile, and the attacks are more delusional.

      I would have thought that this set of behaviours warrants an update to the filings before Chutkan.

      Engoron appears to have dealt with it well. But there is zero chance, IMHO, of Trump learning his lesson and gaining control of himself.

      He is lashing out it would seem because he has no idea what else to do.

      But utterly baseless attacks on a public servant targeted purely because of their proximity to a judge is as you say a disgusting new low for this total asshole

      • Jim Luther says:

        Is he really getting more delusional? Than show me the birth certificate. Than throwing paper towels at hurricane survivors. Than injecting Covid patients with bleach. Than deleted emails? Than Mexicans are murderers and rapists.

        I think this is the same deranged Trump he has always been. He is a symptom, his supporters are the cancer.

        • SteveBev says:

          Fair points all.

          It just seems to me that his present situation is one where he is being boxed in and his petulant reaction is to goad the authorities to go further, feeding his martyr complex, and the grievance mongering brand his supporters buy into.

          But it seems to me that he is setting traps for himself as the sort of ploys which have served him well in the past, look ever more desperate and ill considered. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking/motivated reasoning on my part, but this seems closer to angry meltdown than feral manipulation.

          • fatvegan000 says:

            I agree with you, SteveBev, I think he’s starting to unravel. To me there is a manic desperation in his language, and real rage present now that wasn’t there in the past (when he was mostly just performing for the circus crowd).

      • MWFfromSAT says:

        Trump’s behavior is batshit crazy. If Engoron believes that too, why could he not issue an order for an extensive medical/neuro/psych-evaluation for Trump—along with a daily drug test? Just the threat of that might be a deterrent for future behavior. Of course, IANAL, and do not know if this is an appropriate remedy.

    • Peterr says:

      Trump always — ALWAYS — punches down. It’s what he does. It’s who he is.

      He stiffed contractors, because they couldn’t fight back in any meaningful sense.
      His wives he has viewed as disposable and interchangeable.
      He mocks disabled reporters and soldiers.
      He goes after female reporters, who (among other things) have to try to maintain a sense of professionalism and thus can’t kick him between the legs.
      And then there’s the Access Hollywood tape and the experience of E. Jean Carroll . . .

      It’s not a surprise he went after this clerk. The surprise is that he didn’t do it sooner.

      • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

        “Trump stiffs contractors” is a bit of a myth. In reality, NYC contractors knew who they were dealing with. They knew that Trump would never pay the final payment, and bid so that their last progress payment would make them their desired profit. Trump thought he was ripping them off. His staff knew better, but did not want to tell the Boss for fear of tantrums. I learned this from the South Orange dog park, where the contractors roamed.

        • velcroman says:

          With all due respect, that is anecdotal data. I am willing to stipulate that the contractors in the dog park were telling the truth. But they are quite likely the minority that figured out how to play that game, and other commenters have provided documented examples of people who fit the “myth”.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Only partly anecdotal. The history of Trump stiffing creditors is well-documented in at least hundreds of law suits and, not least, in his multiple bankruptcies. He has sometimes spent more to defend against payment of legitimate debts than the cost of the debt.

          It’s an ego and power trip, because he’s most often pissing on the little guys, who haven’t the sophistication and leverage of more powerful players, who inflate their fees to compensate for Trump’s well-documented history of non- and under payment. None of that takes into account the litany of suppliers who refuse to do business with him.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Bullies are cowards. They never pick on someone their own size because, as you say, Peterr, that terrifies them. Trump is an even bigger coward than most. He can’t even fire people; he gets others to do it for him.

        He is still a terrorist. Like Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden, he will sacrifice anyone (including his children) to protect his own hide. I suspect many terrorist leaders are secret cowards. This makes them all the more dangerous as they incite yet more violence to prove otherwise.

  14. ToldainDarkwater says:

    I am somewhat amused by the call to expel Gaetz. I expect it to go nowhere. There have been much bigger, more obvious crimes committed by Trump, and they didn’t. Of course, if Gaetz turns out to be unpopular with Republican primary voters…

  15. klynn says:

    I’m looking ahead with concern about the Nov budget vote. Shutting the country down the week before Thanksgiving, Black Friday and going in to varied holiday seasons would be a mess. With the FAA impacts, college youth who rely on flying home, may not be able to get home. SMH.

    • Rayne says:

      The upside is that the House will feel enormous pressure to resolve this since they and their constituents alike will need uninterrupted air travel.

    • ItTollsForYou says:

      A unanimous agreement by government workers not to work without pay would put a hasty stop to any shutdown, methinks. I can’t imagine the arrogance of doing nothing to avoid a shutdown, keeping your own paychecks flowing, and being personally served by unpaid cafeteria workers, janitors, etc. Absolutely incomprehensible.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        That might serve the Republican desires very nicely. Shrink the government until you can drown it in a bathtub. If Reagan were president he’d fire all government workers who didn’t work for free.

  16. Konny_2022 says:

    And the Supreme Court’s hearing on the CFPB case reportedly went not as bad as expected, with not only the three liberal justices but also Barrett and Kavenaugh asking skeptical questions.

  17. David F. Snyder says:

    I can’t laugh just yet. This ouster doesn’t increase confidence abroad (recalling the manipulation of a politically divided nation by the Nazi party) nor market confidence. This is a win for the MAGAs against their party’s moderates. The main thing keeping the ship afloat is the economy and it seems to me the MAGA are shooting straight at it.

    • emptywheel says:

      You’re right. This could get really bad. It could mean that a Trumpist becomes Speaker (I don’t think they’d go as far as Trump, but Jim Jordan sounds like he’s running and they could bring someone in like Stephen Miller or (if they’re willing to ignore the GA felony counts) Mark Meadows.

      But you could see two kinds of things in the McCarthy supporters yesterday: concerns about fundraising, and concerns about total chaos. I’m not sure a Trumpist fixes that. What replaces loyalty through fundraising is loyalty through threats.

      If Scalise were healthy I’d say he’s a shoo-in, which would put a fairly unabashed racist in charge. I’m not sure who else could lead this mess.

      • ItTollsForYou says:

        I think he’d be a real shot in the ass.

        (Not making light of gun violence. Satirizing that he doesn’t seem to think it’s a big issue)

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        Re: the felony counts, rule 26(a) of the House Republican Conference rules for the 118th Congress says “A member of the Republican Leadership shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          At least Jordan’s the devil we know. Scalise is the devil most people don’t really know, due to the media’s insistence on portraying him solely in the light of victim–a portrayal he exploits–rather than looking at any other aspects of his career, such as what he does when he’s the one with volition.

          • pasha says:

            He once described himself as “David Duke without the baggage.” There is no doubt from whence he’s coming.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              pasha, you may have no doubt. Most have never heard of this–or anything else about Scalise, with the sole exception of him being the recipient of gun violence from the radical left.

              One of the many problems with bothsidesing issues is how it paradoxically elevates someone like Scalise into the position of token martyr.

              • Rayne says:

                Probably need quote marks around “radical left” because most of the American left including radicals don’t shoot people. Lone gunmen in U.S. are rarely left of center.

                Even the NRA recognizes the left isn’t big on unregulated guns since it has made campaign contributions almost exclusively to GOP electeds and candidates since Citizens United (and an infusion of Russian dark money).

      • CoffaeBreak says:

        Can Trump be speaker? Yikes. I found this on the web (forgive me if the HTML doesn’t work.)
        Republicans own rules for speakership.

        Rule 26—Temporary Step Aside of a Member of Leadership who is Indicted
        (a) A member of the Republican Leadership shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed.

    • ducktree says:

      I’m not so sure I’d have confidence in the lunch meat or condiments coming out of his family business.

  18. Nessnessess says:

    Am I the only who thinks (I’ve seen no mention of it) that part of what is driving Gaetz in his quest to not simply defeat My Kevin, but to (as EW’s subject line says) “belittle” him, are his own feelings of belittlement and humiliation at the Cassidy Hutchinson anecdote, where he was hitting on her, and Kevin (with whom Cassidy apparently is or was close) telling him to “Get a life, Matt.”

    This is another instance of the need these men have to perform their masculinity to and for and on each other, but mostly to prove it to themselves. Insecure masculinity.

    Trump and Gaetz both use their neckties to signal their dickitude, with Gaetz’s always peeking out the bottom of his jacket as it falls around his conspicuously (suspiciously?) wide hips.

    • BirdGardener says:

      FWIW, Tim Burchett told the bbc that he voted against McCarthy because he thought the latter was “condescending” about Burchett’s religious beliefs.

      Rep Tim Burchett of Tennessee spoke to reporters after Kevin McCarthy was ousted as Speaker, and he offered some insight into why he voted to get rid of his fellow Republican.

      Burchett mentioned an interview he did with CNN last night where he mentioned he would be praying about his decision.

      Then this morning, McCarthy called him with what Burchett described as an “air of desperation”.

      “And then the first thing out of his mouth was very condescending” about his religious beliefs, Burchett said.

      Burchett said that tone “answered my question” of which way to vote.

      • Peterr says:

        Some I suspect of wearing their ties too tight, as there appears to be a lack of sufficient oxygen reaching the brain.

    • emptywheel says:

      The bigger problem for Gaetz is it sounds like the Ethics Committee will confirm the allegations that almost got him indicted. He needs to find a Speaker who will kill that.

      • Rwood0808 says:

        The buzz here in Floriduh is that Gaetz is running for Governor. Since they let him slide on the sex trafficking charges he thinks he’s unbeatable.

  19. KittyRehn says:

    I have to wonder who’ll replace McCarthy and how many ballots it’ll take to get them in. Guess it’s time to go buy some popcorn. The clock is tickin’, although I have a sneaking suspicion parts of the GOP aren’t too worried about that 45 day deadline. We live in interesting times.

  20. OnKilter says:

    All in all, a very sad day for our democracy.

    According to the NYT “After the speaker publicly blamed the shutdown on House Democrats, minority leader Hakeem Jeffries advised his party to vote against him.”
    So 208 Democrats and 8 Republicans voted to support the removal of McCarthy as Speaker.

    McCarthy lied to and about his Democratic colleagues too many times. He was untrustworthy and unworthy. Had McCarthy been a fair player, Democrats might have supported him.

    Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.) was named interim speaker. This could be good news for the country if McHenry can form a bi-partisan majority to pass the budget in the next 45 days.

    • Hope Ratner says:

      It was just reported that McHenry gave Nancy Pelosi notice that she must vacate her secret post-Speaker office by tomorrow. The contents of her office have already been taken out without notice and with her not being in DC. She is in SF attending DiFi’s memorial service.

      • phred says:

        It appears that the pipe dream of McHenry being an interim improvement, is just that. Kicking Pelosi out of her office in a matter of minutes from becoming the Whisperer of the House while she is out of town for a funeral, is the sort of childish petulant behavior that Republicans hold dear.

        What an embarrassment these people are.

      • Peterr says:

        Pelosi is not pleased. From The Hill:

        “With all of the important decisions that the new Republican Leadership must address, which we are all eagerly awaiting, one of the first actions taken by the new Speaker Pro Tempore was to order me to immediately vacate my office in the Capitol,” she said.

        “This eviction is a sharp departure from tradition,” she continued. “As Speaker, I gave former Speaker Hastert a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished.”

        She called on McHenry and House Republicans to focus instead on legislation.

        “Office space doesn’t matter to me, but it seems to be important to them. Now that the new Republican Leadership has settled this important matter, let’s hope they get to work on what’s truly important for the American people,” she said.

        Pelosi is in California in preparation for the memorial services of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) later this week. She did not vote on the motion to vacate Tuesday.

        “Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time,” she added.

      • scroogemcduck says:

        McHenry adviser: “You can try to build some bipartisan consensus and maybe be the next Speaker, or you can end your chances of getting Democrats’ support right now to get 30 seconds of coverage on Fox.”

        McHenry: “Is that even a question?”

  21. BobBobCon says:

    Idiots in the DC pundit class are going to struggle to explain how Pelosi managed to keep her chair and keep her caucus united with the same narrow margin as McCarthy, but still try to claim that both sides are equally dysfunctional.

    One of the open facts about Pelosi, though, is that she dealt in good faith with her most liberal wing, and they returned the favor. Serious liberals like AOC and Jayapal made it clear that they wanted a major Green New Deal bill passed, along with other bills, and Pelosi worked to get these bills through. And unlike the GOP, what they pushed were substantive policy measures, and not idiotic PR nonsense. Pelosi didn’t crack skulls, she pulled people together.

    But I will guarantee that this all gets written off by the Peter Baker crowd as divisive and meaningless.

      • punaise says:

        Class act, new guy: (via Josh Marshall – paywalled?):

        But it does seem of a piece with what’s emerging from the post-McCarthy wreckage. On the one hand it seems inevitable that you’ll see a more aggressive and chaotic House leadership. Who wants to get the McCarthy treatment? But we’re also seeing a lot of retaliation against Democrats. The GOP caucus was overwhelmingly against this. They can’t lash out at Gaetz and his crew. So the Democrats are the only others they can lash out against. News just broke that acting Speaker McHenry former Speaker Pelosi to vacate her Capitol hideaway office by tomorrow. She’s not even in DC.

        Pelosi accompanied DiFi’s body back to SF over the weekend.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There’s no petty too low for today’s Republican Party. It’s like a mad house full of junior high schoolers.

          • Peterr says:

            I know junior high schoolers.
            Junior high schoolers are friends of mine.
            Gaetz, McHenry, et al. are NO junior high schoolers.

            I’m thinking they are more like toddlers, but without a toddler’s sense of wonder and imagination. They use words they don’t understand, thinking they are some kind of magic incantations, and throw amazing tantrums when they don’t get their way.

      • BobBobCon says:

        She wasn’t perfect, but the contrast between her and McCarthy us astonishing. Any recent GOP speaker, for that matter. None of them managed any worthwhile legislative victories of substance, just the occasional junk food, and under McCarthy not even that. And none of them had any courage, either.

    • David Brooks says:

      I only heard for the first time today (where have I been?) this from Nancy Pelosi’s 2018 letter to colleagues: “Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power”. I think I’ll use that in my next municipal committee meeting.

  22. Zinsky123 says:

    What an incredible news day! Speaker of the House thrown out! Ex-president slapped with a gag order! Son of sitting president pleads not guilty to gun charges! Wow! An unbelievable confluence of events. I almost feel like a tide has turned today but I don’t want to get overly confident. I don’t see how the GOP gets anything but slaughtered in the 2024 elections after today’s debacle. One interesting point to contemplate – Trump actually got what he wanted out of the recent budget chaos – Ukraine funding was cut. Vladimir Putin is probably clucking his tongue right now….

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Trump, and more to the point Putin, are reaping great rewards from this. Mr. “I alone can fix it” gets to wait in the wings as if none of this were his making. And Putin gets the jackpot: American politics looks broken as hell.

      Why even bother with democracy when it devolves into a bunch of blithering idiots spewing insults back and forth?

  23. GKJames says:

    Just saw live coverage of McCarthy press conference. Quite a tale he told to justify the impeachment investigation. In sum, “The president shouldn’t have lied to us” … about the meetings, the payments, the shell companies, etc. No sign of skepticism from the crowd of reporters.

    • P J Evans says:

      Still trying to save himself with more lies that are easily checked – if you’re not a reporter.

    • RMD de Plume says:

      stenography appears to be the core skill of journos, on behalf of editors that are either conservative leaning, or doing backflips on a balance beam, afeared of losing their bothsides balance.

      “there’s a demographic out there that we need tap into…now, go out there and bothsides the shit of things!”

    • RitaRita says:

      McCarthy held a pity party press conference.

      He did a good job of imitating Nixon in Defeat. The aggrieved victim rewriting history shtick went on for way too long. The one true part of his self-pity parade was his anger at Matt Gaetz.

  24. Old Rapier says:

    I’d guess that there are dozens of R’s in the House who wished they could switch parties, or soon will think so, but they rightfully fear for their lives.

      • Peterr says:

        With a reelection campaign looming, any potential switchers would likely require the Democratic leaders to make sure that they would have lots of support in a 2024 Democratic primary. Not sure that the leaders would go for that, as it would mean pushing against currently announced candidates they likely helped recruit in the first place.

  25. Matt Foley says:

    Please tell me the gag order won’t stop A Lyin’ Habit from crying on Jessie Waters’ shoulder. I’m starting to enjoy that.

  26. wa_rickf says:

    It’s a dirty dastardly deed that Patrick McHenry pulled on Nancy Pelosi – kicking her out of her office and changing the locks – while Nancy is in San Fran attending Dianne Feinstein’s funeral services.

    • CoffaeBreak says:

      As a Democrat, I am proud yet tire of all the times that Democrats took it in the stomach and then turned their cheek for the betterment of the nation. (Not that I am saying the DEMs are perfect either, but… really what is wrong with The GOP?)

    • timbozone says:

      Yep. Reminds me of some of the shittiest nonsense I’ve witnessed from bosses and such. “Oh, you’re out of town on personal grievance leave? My bad!” Ugh. Why does the American public tolerate such shitty people as their representatives? They like working for asshat bozos like that that much?

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        I can’t imagine the Democrats throwing their weight behind anyone the GOP puts forward. If I were Hakeem Jeffries, I’d give the Republicans a week to fumble around and demonstrate how utterly unable they are to wrangle their own members, and then quietly invite a few of the saner, more moderate reps in to give them my terms for their surrender.

    • emptywheel says:

      It will be useful for Putin to have him proposed. I THINK there are 8 Republicans who would vote against, but the reason you propose him-and maybe run someone like Stephen Miller who has not been indicted with 91 charges–is bc it gives some whip to enforce loyalty.

      They’ve already driven out the people who voted to impeach Trump. They can drive out the people who vote against Trump as Speaker.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Why would Trump want it? It’s a job. He hates real work. Yes, press opportunities aplenty, but also lots of walking back and forth, and no “residence” with a TV. I can’t see it.

        • Rayne says:

          Paid campaign role, though. He can pontificate to captive audience and get paid to do it. There’s nothing to stop him from doing that and using it as a cudgel to beat every House GOP into submission in the process.

          But that’s assuming the current House rules don’t bar him from the speakership.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            His followers pay him continuously to pontificate continuously. And they don’t require him to set foot in DC.

            • Rayne says:

              True, based on his most recent fundraising numbers.

              But being House Speaker would confer legitimacy on his rants in a way no other role could offer. If on the floor of the House in session, his bullshit would become Congressional record.

              Writing that makes me want to barf.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Trump would love that. It would give him a brand new “speech or debate clause” defense to all his planned breaches of current and incoming judicial gag orders. It would also put him third in line for the Presidency.

    • velcroman says:

      As mentioned by others, Republican House Rules prohibit people who have been indicted for certain felonies from being leaders, including Speaker. Not that rules have stopped them in the past, but it might give more people pause.

    • theartistvvv says:

      “The only candidate for Speaker I am currently supporting is President Donald J. Trump.”

      Is MTG waffling, what with the, “currently”?

  27. scroogemcduck says:

    Some of the Republicans are SO CLOSE to getting the point! Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to miss it and convince themselves that appointing Jared Kushner as Speaker is totally better than working with Democrats to get someone who can actually govern.

    “These insurgents have no plan and now they’ve created even more chaos and it’s not good for the House, it’s not good for Republicans and they have no clear path forward,” fumed Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team.

    “A handful [of] House members just want to blow up the institution and themselves in the process. Sad,” Cornyn posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, immediately after the vote to ouster McCarthy.

  28. Rwood0808 says:

    I’m probably missing something here but let me float this scenario:

    If I understand the procedures correctly the house members can vote “present” when the time comes to install a new speaker. That vote does not count toward anyone nominated.

    If the majority of the GOP hates Gaetz, despises the hard-core MAGAts, and wants to have a moderate speaker in place, would it not behoove the Dems to vote “present” and therefore give the moderate GOP the power/leverage/votes they need to nullify the MAGA wing and place someone who will actually get something done for them?

    This would also give the Democrats a way to say “We stepped back so the GOP could clean up its own mess, when they are done we’ll get back to work.”

    If this is correct what’s to stop Jeffries from approaching the moderate GOP members and saying “Nominate a real speaker and we’ll stay out of the way.”

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      What’s stopping Jeffries is: what are the moderate GOP members willing to concede in exchange for Democratic support? Remember that it works the other way as well: get enough GOP members to vote “present,” and the Democrats can vote Jeffries into the speakership. The questions is which of those scenarios is an easier lift, in terms of the number of votes needed to shift and who’s willing to make what concessions.

      • gertibird says:

        My concern about Jeffries as Speaker is without a Democratic majority Republicans can and I believe will block any legislation that doesn’t have extreme cuts that are anathema to Democrats. They will then blame it on the Democratic speaker for being unable to pass legislation. And blame the entire Democratic Party and Biden as being unable to govern. Republicans could easily force a shutdown. As long as there is a republican majority I believe there needs to be a republican speaker.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A Speaker needs a consistent majority behind them or they turn into Kevin McCarthy. Why would any Democrat take the gavel without having that? They would be volunteering to be blamed for Republicans not allowing stuff to be done.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      That’s one scenario.

      Another is that they sit and agree someone genuinely bipartisan with support from moderates on both side, with agreement on a range of bills that should be brought to a vote (given that that is one of the things the Speaker has key control over). No idea who that person is – maybe someone like Ben Bernanke would be centrist enough, if he agreed to do it.

    • Rwood0808 says:

      “with agreement on a range of bills that should be brought to a vote”

      Overeach like this will just ensure it won’t happen. How about we settle for nullifying the MAGAts, keeping the government up and running, and showing the voters how unpopular the far-right actually is?

      If the GOP can’t recognize a lifeline when one is thrown to them then they deserve whats coming.

      Everything trump/maga touches dies, if they want to prove it once again… let them.

      • Scroogemcduck says:

        I don’t think it’s overreach. If the GOP can agree on a candidate they have enough votes (in theory) to appoint that person. Any compromise candidate is very likely to get more Dem support than Republican support.

        • Rwood0808 says:

          I think if the Dems were to start attaching a range of bills to the deal it’ll turn into a Christmas tree and nothing will happen. Best to keep it simple and resume the normal bickering after the unruly kids have been run off.

  29. Rugger_9 says:

    It’s not clear to me what the process will be when the House comes back Monday / Tuesday (10/9 being Columbus and Indigenous Peoples’ Day). Normally I would expect that the election of a Speaker is sole priority, which would help the MAGA caucus shut down the government as they want. However, it sounded like McHenry said that as Pro Tem he functions as Speaker until a new one is elected which means the 12 budget bills would potentially proceed. Since this rule is one made in response to the J6 riot, it would appear to me that the intention was to keep things moving until an election could be scheduled for continuity reasons.

    However, that depends upon what the current rules adopted in January actually say and I don’t have them in front of me. Please correct me if I missed something here, but I would suspect that if continuity is the rule then McHenry will not be too keen to give up the gavel. Is he a shutdown guy?

    • velcroman says:

      From some minimal research, it does not look like much can be done other than debate and vote for a speaker. And, apparently, reassign office space. Committees can meet and hold hearings and votes, but nothing can come up on the House floor until a Speaker is elected.

  30. Doctor My Eyes says:

    When I think of the idiot personalities and the clown show they treat us to, I can find pleasure and even laugh out loud sometimes. But when I think of the existential threat facing our republic and the consequences of losing it, the humor quickly fades. This is a time to think, not in terms of personalities and individual come-uppance, but rather in terms of strategy in the context of combatting a ruthless external threat to the independence of our country. I agree with those who have argued that this is a time to make common cause with anyone who supports constitutional government and the rule of law no matter what other differences exist. These differences can be sorted out later by means of the messy democratic process. Such strategic joining of forces is a lot easier to talk about than to accomplish.

    If the Dems actually made their decision to oppose McCarthy on the basis of something he said on tv, I find that to be petty and disturbing. On the other hand, if their calculation was that the republic is best served by ousting the speaker, then I support them. I don’t claim to know the best course of action.

    I’ve been thinking of Solomon’s proposal to cut the baby in half. One claimant said “Sure” while the other claimant would prefer to part with the baby than to see it killed. The Solomon story has a happy ending because, when the claimants revealed their true feelings, he had the power to award the baby to the person who cared for it. There is no Solomon to award control of the House to those who would place survival of democracy above achieving their party goals. This asymmetry is a big advantage to those who want to burn it down.

    Did the temporary speaker change Pelosi’s locks out of anger that the Dems refused to provide cover for GOP dysfunction? And in response, will the Dems be even less willing to compromise in future? If the pols retreat to their corners to shout epithets across the aisle, Gingrich’s dream will have been realized. Indeed, the government may be drowning even now. Are there any GOP pols left who would respond to honest bids to make common cause in rejecting the extremism? I can only hope that Dems of good will are working hard through back channels to find out.

    I think often of George Washington’s stern warning about the dangers of party. I hope that enough of us can take his advice to heart, because I believe that our democracy is in grave danger. In his farewell address, Washington described forces that could destroy the nation’s new constitutional order. Among them he “warn[ed] you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.”

    This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

    Proving Washington’s point is the current discussion of a Red Caesar, a concept made no less dangerous by its stupidity and fundamental anti-Americanism.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Sorry. I knew I was pushing it and couldn’t quite rein it in. I’ve been wanting to post that for a long time.

        I promise to exercise more discipline in future.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Bmaz was correct, of course, in calling me out for excess length. Why the need to pile on with an irrelevant remark?

          There was content in my comment, I think laid out clearly enough. Did anyone notice? I also think the point I made is pertinent to present company, as your gratuitous snicker underlines. It’s fun to sneer at others, one could say it’s addictive. I see a lot more passion behind sneering at personalities than passion behind serious discussion of the issues we face. It’s not all about how wrong the “others” are. It’s not about watching the show while eating popcorn.

          It was a mistake for me to start commenting here. Please carry on.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      I meant to make clear that I think the Dems are being presented the impossible choice of turning the House over to the extremists or seeing the government cease to function. Dems are fighting an enemy who thinks they have no right to govern even when duly elected. I mention the Solomon story to highlight the difficulty of their situation. I do not propose ceding control of government in order to “save democracy” as the media constantly urges. I hope they can find a third option.

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Changing the locks on Nancy Pelosi’s office (if it was done), because she was at Dianne Feinstein’s wake and unable to remove her things, is more evidence that on the Republican side of the aisle, humanity has left the building. So was demanding that she vacate her office in the first place. Pettiness has replaced governance.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      The burning question is how to respond to this pettiness. Anyone who has ever been in relationship knows that focusing on the failings of the other person never, ever leads to a satisfactory outcome. What is the adult response? It is certainly not to respond in kind. Pelosi’s reply to the petty indignity was spot on. Her office space is a trivial matter compared to the weight of governance.

      • Knowatall says:

        So, what to do with a rabid dog? I love dogs, but won’t let a rabid one near me. That’s a no-compromise situation. The GOP has been pushing and prodding towards a static, immutable position for decades. This is their end game; a dare that ‘liberals’ won’t punch back. This is a terrible social-political dynamic, which may very well end in catastrophe.

  32. BobBobCon says:

    One of the things I find interesting is the silence about what lobbyists are doing now. Billions are at stake for companies like Lockheed Martin in getting defense funding through, but there seems to be no reporting on what they’re thinking or doing.

    The contrast to health bills is striking — there is always a flood of press releases and reporting about off the record sources.

    This is a perfect setup for lobyists — with margins so narrow, they ought to be in a position to throw a lot of weight around, and I can’t believe there is no evidence for any reporter who looks for it. Even complete disengagement from all sides would be news. But I think it’s a sign of how bad the Hill press corps is that it’s being left unmentioned. It would be like reporting on a new car model and leaving out any mention if it ran on gas or batteries.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      Overheard conversation between Gaetz and an aerospace lobbyist:

      “So Matt, we’ve got these national security-critical development projects going on and if we lose track of our funding stream we’ll be setting our nation’s preparedness back by years, if not decades!”

      “Sorry Barb, but I’ve got more important things on my plate at the moment…but since we’re talking: I’ve been meaning to ask you whether you’ve noticed that your assistants are getting a little long in the tooth, lol. And I mean, Jesus, Barb, can you get them to spend a little more time in powder room before they show up for work, especially if they’re wanting to take selfies with me?”

  33. Yankee in TX says:

    “In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican!” H. L. Menken

  34. BirdGardener says:

    Btw, Trump has again dropped off the Forbes 400 list, and his desire to get back on this list was mentioned at his trial in NY as one of his motivations for fraudulently inflating the value of his properties.

    My source for the above trial coverage information: —hope it works; I deleted the stuff after the question mark and copy/pasted it into another window, and it worked for me.

    My thanks to the poster who provided a link to this reporter a couple days ago.

    • BirdGardener says:

      My statement was not entirely correct. Here’s the quote from Adam Klasfeld:

      During opening statements, the NYAG’s counsel cited the Forbes billionaires list specifically as one of the motives for Trump inflating his net worth on financial statements.

      Source-link above.

  35. CovariantTensor says:

    He did outlast Liz Truss. Gotta give credit where it’s due. Especially considering he essentially signed his own death warrant, by giving the lunatic fringe the power to introduce a motion to vacate any time it pleased them.

    The $64 question now is who has the votes to replace him. Jim Jordan? Without a single Democrat? I think not. Scalise strikes me as more likely to pick up a Democrat or two, and not be blackballed by any in his caucus. But I could be wrong about either.

    I’m not sure how good a move it was for the Democrats to vote as a block for the motion to vacate, as opposed to some “present”, which I think could have saved his sorry ass. The Republicans are already using that as a talking point about how evil the D.s are, and many will buy it. McCarthy was at least the devil they knew, even though he reneged on the deal Biden thought he had with him. I don’t see anyone else weighing in on these questions.

    • ButteredToast says:

      Aaron Fritschner, staffer for Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), has an excellent thread getting to the crux of the matter:

      “This came down to trust, and that’s the word I saw and heard from House Democrats more than any other word. We did not trust Kevin McCarthy and he gave us no reason to. He could have done so (and I suspect saved his gavel) through fairly simple actions. He chose not to do that.”

      Here is a link to the full thread, through Nitter (doesn’t require a Xitter account to read): .

      I agree that Scalise is the likeliest next Speaker, but mainly because he—like McCarthy—has gotten away with posing as “reasonable” to the media despite having a solid rightwing record and having voted to overturn the 2020 election. But IMO, no chance he picks up any Democratic votes. That would require him to make concessions to Democrats, and is he likely to do that? Doing so would lose him the votes of the lunatics in his own caucus. There is no reason for Democrats to vote for any Republican for Speaker unless they get at least *something* in return. Even in parliamentary systems, parties don’t join a coalition without something tangible in exchange.

      • BirdGardener says:

        Yes, I don’t understand why McCarthy allegedly expected the Democrats to support him without receiving any concessions. All stick and no carrot doesn’t work when you don’t have all the votes you need.

  36. Matt Foley says:

    You know, I didn’t think Hannity was a serious journalist until he told Gym Jordan that Trump can be POTUS and Speaker at the same time.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      “The former president is under several federal criminal indictments, which House Rule 26 dictates would disqualify him from serving in GOP leadership.”


    • velcroman says:

      Article I, Section 6

      “no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office”

      Not to say someone won’t argue that the President is not an Officer (as some have done for the 14th amendment thing) or that the Speaker is not a Member, since they are not elected, but worth something.

  37. Yankee in TX says:

    “Shana. They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say let ’em crash.” – Airplane

  38. Marinela says:

    So Matt G. wanted Kevin M. out. What is Matt’s end game? I don’t understand what is the point he is trying to make.
    Somebody made a comment he needs money.

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