Kevin McCarthy, Leader, Speaker
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) waits during the US House of Representatives's sixth vote for speaker of the House Wednesday. Photo credit: © Cliff Owen/CNP via ZUMA Press Wire

As it turns out, all it takes to get House Republicans to be honest is for them to fight with each other.

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Something really strange is going on in the House Republican Conference this week. No, we are not talking about Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (CA) increasingly pathetic attempts to become speaker. Sure, that’s also historic, but something even weirder is happening: Republicans are being honest.

And this is not the usual “saying the quiet part out loud” honesty that we occasionally get from GOP lawmakers caught in an unguarded moment or behind closed doors. And it’s also not lawmakers speaking the truth to reporters — for example, by saying that Donald Trump is a moron — on the condition that they’re granted anonymity.

Nope. What we are seeing this week is Republicans going on record and explaining in pretty explicit language what the modern House GOP is all about. Of course, that’s not really their intention.

On the one hand, McCarthy’s supporters want to show that his opponents are just performance artists in it to raise money and their own profiles.

Here is a small sampling of what that sounds like:

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who also dropped the F-bomb a couple times to describe his colleagues, referred to GOP lawmakers who vote against McCarthy as “enemies” and “terrorists” who are “engaged in petty attempts to gain notoriety.” Tough to argue with Dan there.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) told reporters that “this is not about policy… This is about ego and fundraising and a bunch of other bullshit.” Spot on, Nancy.

On the other hand, the 20 lawmakers blocking McCarthy’s ascent to the speakership are also dishing out some truth.

For example, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), best known for his role in the Trump coup, lamented that the top agenda items the House GOP wants to pursue amount to “theatrics.” He also indicated that past House investigations into things like Benghazi largely ended up being for show. You ain’t wrong, Scott!

What’s truly hilarious about this is that each of the charges also applies to the people making them.

What people like Crenshaw and Mace want is for this fight, which is “all about ego,” to be resolved so that they can get back to, in their words, gaining notoriety, fundraising, and a bunch of other bullshit.

Is there a better description of what Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a fellow McCarthy backer, does all day? Marge, by the way, hopes “it’s over soon because, to be honest with you, I find it embarrassing.” And she is an expert when it comes to embarrassments.

As we have pointed out many times, House Republicans, in particular, are just a bunch of performance artists vying for Fox “News” hits, Twitter followers, and campaign donations.

The point is that, when all of these lawmakers say they want to put this episode behind them so that they can “do their jobs,” they are not talking about doing things that improve the lives of Americans.

What they want to do is pass virtue-signaling bills with no chance of getting signed into law, obstruct important legislation, and conduct nonsensical investigations.

Because, as we have pointed out many times, House Republicans, in particular, are just a bunch of performance artists vying for Fox “News” hits, Twitter followers, and campaign donations.

Speaking of Fox, you can hear the truth even on the GOP’s main propaganda outlet these days because the network has no idea how to cover this infighting (and would prefer not to do it at all).

Fox’s comic relief guy, Greg Gutfeld, correctly noted that a lot of the acrimony is driven by people who are primarily concerned about their own political future. Imitating these lawmakers, Gutfeld said: “I’m going to be like, I need to do this to make the people on Twitter happy… or [so] my buddies on television will invite me more often, because I’m seen as feisty.”

To his credit, Gutfeld gave a pretty accurate description of what motivates Republicans… as well as Fox News: Lawmaker A says something outrageous. He gets invited on Fox to repeat the thing. This gets Lawmaker A more followers and a higher profile and emboldens him to say something even more outrageous the next time. Wash, rinse, repeat.

For now, the speaker fight is disrupting this usually well-oiled, outrage-manufacturing machine. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Or, in the words of the truth-telling Crenshaw: “These fucking people. Now they’re just being clowns.”


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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