The GOP civil war heats up in testy Tuesday meeting

The GOP civil war heats up in testy Tuesday meeting

Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy’s wild ride to the speakership promises only to get bumpier. He’s not backing down from having a floor fight, and his loudest detractor just announced his official challenge. That means there will be a contest for the top job on the floor come Jan. 3 unless McCarthy can pull some kind of maniac-appeasing miracle off in the next three weeks.

Rep. Andy Biggs, former Freedom Caucus chair, is officially running, he tweeted. And editorialized in right-wing rag Daily Caller. He’s going to “break the establishment,” says. “Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment,” he tweeted. Never mind he fell flat on his face the first time he tried this in last month’s straw vote in the the party conference. Biggs went head to head against McCarthy and lost 188-31.

Biggs’ announcement might mean that they don’t really have a mystery date to bring to Jan. 3 like they’ve been teasing. Or maybe they do. Some Republicans are saying he’s sacrificing himself as the primary target of McCarthy’s team so that someone else can emerge unscathed. Sure. It’s pretty hard to imagine anyone not in the House looking at this crew and saying, “Oh, yeah, I want to be in charge of that.” 

Meanwhile, Festivus’ airing of grievances came early as the GOP conference met again Tuesday.

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Rep. Ralph Norman, seen here whining that his people just aren’t getting enough attention, is one of the four definite “no” votes for McCarthy on Jan 3. The Washington Post’s whip count still stands at four definite no votes and one “very likely no.” Another possible no, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, went on Fox Radio on Monday and bashed McCarthy as part of leadership that apparently dropped the ball ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“Where was the leadership in December 2020, when we were barreling towards chaos and we all knew it and some of us were saying it out loud? … I’m just saying you need leadership in this town, and I ain’t seen it,” Roy said. Roy was an early Big Lie proponent, pushing the Trump team hard to “find the fraud” after the election, and ended up being a reluctant opponent of Trump’s fake electors scheme. So he’s … not wrong in his assessment, which is a very strange thing to be writing about Chip Roy. He might be opposing McCarthy out of actual principle. Go figure.

At any rate, they all emerged from Tuesday meeting in even more chaos than when they went in, with the Freedom maniacs coming up with even more petty complaints. However, what also emerged according to Politico’s sources who have been involved in all this is that McCarthy’s “allies are starting to doubt that McCarthy can survive the gauntlet needed to win the gavel.”

So that’s fun. But McCarthy’s allies are also warning the maniacs that they could be forcing a speaker that they’ll hate even more if they keep this up. That presumes there are enough of them to pick their person, and that there will be help from Democrats. There will not be any help from Democrats.

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