We’ve got another press dive into the world of House Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy, and once again, it manages to be darkly, unintentionally hilarious. The political press just cannot help but paint every politician’s personal acts of revenge as Machiavellian strategery, weaving a grand basket of complications around an egg of a premise that would otherwise look tawdry, just lying there on its own.
Yes, The Washington Post has a look at “How Kevin McCarthy’s political machine worked to sway the GOP field,” and the answer is “with money.” What the Post has discovered is a devoted effort by McCarthy and his wealthy allies to sabotage the careers of would-be House Republicans who don’t back McCarthy’s leadership ambitions. Most of it is through the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC, but because this is American politics and American politics is deeply crooked, an assortment of other billionaire-backed PAC names pop in and out to help the cause as needed. There is no part of our election system that is not either controlled outright by money, or that cannot be tweaked by a single anonymous rich person so that it better aligns with their own anonymous interests. We do the voting, but it’s anonymous rich people that decide which names are on the ballots.
Mind you, there’s a bunch of blowhardism thrown in from the parties involved about how no, no, McCarthy and his allies are just trying to make sure the party presents more “electable” Republicans than what they’ve currently been dredging up, to form a “more functioning GOP caucus.” And it’s a pretty damn thin case: McCarthy and allies are still backing, for example, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a sedition-backing one-person wrecking crew making her way through every pretense at decency her party once tried to maintain, even as they spent freely (though secretly!) to sabotage Madison Cawthorn after Cawthorn let slip that Washington, D.C., Republicanism was a cesspit of cocaine and sex parties.
I dunno here, but let’s see if we can tease out what the difference is between the pro-sedition treasonbastards that McCarthy’s money team is willing to embrace and the pro-sedition treasonbastards that go too far.
“In safe Republican districts, controversial Republicans like former New York State party chair Carl Paladino, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini and Trump-endorsed congressional candidate Joe Kent have been targeted after distancing themselves from McCarthy’s leadership …”
Oh. There it is right there. Well hell, why’d we need any of the rest of it?
Take, for example, the case of Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, who voted for Trump’s impeachment—the sin that turned other members of the caucus into pariahs. The intolerable sin. And yet, McCarthy’s allies spent big against her Trump-backed opponent, Joe Kent:
“Kent, her Trump-endorsed challenger, opposed McCarthy as speaker …”
It does feel like a pattern:
“Sabatini, a friend of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), had been an outspoken critic of McCarthy.”
So what we have here is a Republican would-be majority that is willing to tolerate political positions from pro-sedition to pro-impeaching the people who tried to do the sedition, so long as you don’t tick off that one little box that will irritate Kevin McCarthy on a, shall we say, professional level.
And here we thought Republicanism didn’t have coherent policy stances. Look! We just found a big one! Bow to the guy who controls the money, or get the snot kicked out of you!
As I said at the beginning, there’s something deeply funny about this reporting. The whole premise is that rich people close to Kevin Owen McCarthy are trying to filter out some of the most conspicuous Nazi-loving or pro-sedition wackadoodles from Republican ranks. The people behind the PACs are trying to sell it as a noble effort to pull Republicanism back from, at the least, openly supporting the democracy-ending rebellion.
But even on its own terms, it’s inconsistent with reality as we know it. McCarthy continues to make very nice with the head seditionist who got people killed inside the Capitol as part of an attempted overthrow of the government. McCarthy keeps vowing to restore the committee assignments one of the most brazen pro-seditionists of all if voters put him in charge. House leadership has specifically worked to defend avid seditionists while punishing members who spoke out to condemn Trump for the attempted coup.
Instead, the most aggressive moves McCarthy and his allies have made against any House Republican were reserved for the one irritant who mentioned, on tape, that boy howdy there are a lot of coke orgies going on behind House Republican scenes.
THAT SEEMS VERY RELEVANT SOMEHOW. Can’t put my finger on why. But yeah, sure, these are some bold moves by Kevin McCarthy and his biggest fundraisers to, uh, kneecap the political careers of anyone who badmouths Kevin McCarthy.