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November 10, 2022

"You Do Not Reward Mediocrity:" In Wake of Disappointing Gains, Calls Grow for Kevin McCarthy to Step Aside and Let Someone Else Lead the House

I do happen to think that Trump is a drag on the party -- but so is the feckless, weak-willed GOP establishment.

And if they want Trump to go, they should lead first by example. McCarthy and McConnell should show Trump what "taking responsibility" looks like and resign their positions as leaders of their respective caucuses.

Is it time for "new leadership," "fresh blood"? I agree.

So pack your bags, gentlemen! Let the fresh blood flow!

But they won't, will they?

Quoting The Washington Times:

The House GOP's smaller-than-expected majority increased leverage for the chamber's arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus to demand concessions from Mr. McCarthy in exchange for support in his speakership bid.

Freedom Caucus member Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) says Republicans "have to have that very frank discussion. Going forward, I don't know who's going to end up being the leader. But if it's Kevin McCarthy, he's going to have to be far more, a little far more, tough than he has necessarily shown."

Every reality show contestant I've ever seen understands the creed, "I didn't come here to make friends." Why do all of these pussies think we send them to the Capitol or to state houses to make frenz with Democrats and the Democrat media?

The Freedom Caucus, I hear, is not against supporting McCarthy, but they will demand a heavy price in terms of "structural reforms" aimed at returning power to individual representatives, and stripping it from the Speaker of the House himself.

For various reasons, unfortunately, Democrats and then Republicans chose to abandon that bottom-up, pluralistic approach in favor of more of a winner-take-all model of governing. The House's rules were changed to give the Speaker greater sway over who became committee chairs and who sat on the Rules Committee. Majority legislators also began to rely heavily on the Speaker to fundraise for them, and to declare the party's legislative agenda. Getting a bill passed devolved into a top-down exercise led by the Speaker, his leadership team, and the Rules Committee. They would craft bills, often omnibuses, and present them to the chamber for an up or down vote.


The House Freedom Caucus (HFC), that rabble-rousing group of a few dozen righties, is pressuring McCarthy to give rank-and-file legislators more power. It has been reported that the House Freedom Caucus publicly issued a memorandum on "restoring the people's voice in Congress" this past July. Among the requests for rule changes was making committees more independent from the Speaker by allowing committee members to choose their chair. The HFC memorandum also calls for legislators to be re-empowered to offer amendments from the floor and to be granted five days to read any legislation called up for a vote.

Let anyone think they were kidding, last month the HFC doubled down by releasing a guide to new members of the House. It tells incoming congressmen the hard truths about life in a top-down House.

"The state of affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives has steadily deteriorated over recent decades -- to the point at which the balance of power is so lopsided that members of Congress find themselves with no meaningful role in policymaking. ... The result is the 'People's House' serves almost everyone in Washington except the American People."

The guide acidly informs the naive naif that a new legislator would be wrong to imagine her committee assignment will be based on her life experiences. No, "committee assignments are based on perceived loyalty to leadership and whether you agree to meet a fundraising quota."


McCarthy is well aware of what is being asked of him. He also knows that the HFC sent packing the two previous Republican Speakers, Ryan and John Boehner (R-Ohio). Certainly, he may feel he can work through this situation by pitching a few bones to the House Freedom Caucus but otherwise keeping the same leadership-dominated model.

Except, with a razor-thin majority, the Speaker (whoever it is) cannot govern at all without the Freedom Caucus.

By the way, Ron DeSantis was a member of the Freedom Caucus, the hardcore "MAGA"-oriented caucus of the House, before he ran for governor of Florida in 2018.

I point this out because people keep trying to claim that he's really "Establishment," like he's taking on the Establishment and shipping illegal aliens to Martha's Vineyard as part of some Long Con so he can become president and then say "Got ya, Suckers! Time for Comprehensive Immigration Reform! Viva McCain!"

Give me a break. He didn't have to make his life difficult and join the hated, despised Freedom Caucus. If he was a squish he could have been a part of John Boehner's squish leadership.

And if he wasn't a Freedom Caucus type, they wouldn't have taken him as a member. They control their membership lists; they don't have to let someone in just because he requests membership.

Correction: I was wrong; he didn't have to apply to join the Freedom Caucus, because he was a founding member.

Meet the Freedom Caucus Feb. 4, 2015

About 30 House Republicans will meet Monday evening to establish the bylaws of a new caucus animated by two principles: First, rank-and-file Republicans must pressure leadership to enact a more conservative agenda. And second, this pressure should never involve frantic scurrying on the House floor.

The House Freedom Caucus, an invitation-only group, will work in concert in order to guide the House Republican Conference at key junctures, starting with the debate over a border-security bill that has conservatives alarmed.

The argument was over the belief that this was a paper border security bill designed to provide Border Security Theater while permitting Obama to leave the border open and grant mass amnesty.

"We're going to focus on what we believe middle-class voters sent us here to do," Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), the de facto chairman of the organization pending leadership elections, tells National Review Online.

As a caucus devoted to moving leadership's agenda to the right, the group has a chance to take over the traditional role of the Republican Study Committee, which many lawmakers believe has strayed from its founding mission as an organization designed to pressure moderate GOP leaders to adopt more conservative positions.

As noted, the Republican Study Committee had been the group that was supposed to set a conservative agenda, but it was hijacked by moderates and liberals and turned into just another mouthpiece for Boeher and the neoliberal corporatist leadership.

The Freedom Caucus was formed to re-create what the RSC had previously been.

The RSC has served as the leading conservative caucus in the GOP conference since 1973, when it started as an informal group with just a few members. As it has grown in size -- it now has 170 members, close to three-quarters of the Republican majority -- many conservatives believe it's come to represent the more establishment wing of the party, and strayed from its original mission. The fissures in the RSC became apparent when then-RSC chairman Steve Scalise (R., La.) fired the caucus's long-time executive director for leaking information about conversations between members to outside groups that opposed a bipartisan budget deal in 2013. Scalise went on to win a race for House whip, while the fired aide, Paul Teller, went to work for Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

The Freedom Caucus is forming just days after Boehner suggested that conservative frustration with his leadership is misguided.

"Frankly, a lot is being driven by national groups here in Washington who have raised money and just beating the dickens out of me," Boehner told CBS during a joint interview with new Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). "They raise money, put it in their pocket, and pay themselves big salaries."

DeSantis says that Boehner's critique might apply to some groups, but not to prominent conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth.

"I don't think that they would be able to generate outrage or generate dissatisfaction where none existed," he says. "I think they're tapping into an existing dissatisfaction with Republican leadership and with Washington, D.C., more generally."

Anyway, if you prefer Trump, you prefer Trump. But claiming that DeSantis is a Johnny-Come-Lately establishment liberal is just a flat-out lie. He was fighting the GOP Establishment before Trump was enmeshed in the GOP enough to even know there was a GOP Establishment to fight.

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posted by Ace at 03:36 PM

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