The humiliation of Kevin McCarthy as he stands for Speaker of the House represents the humiliation of the Republican Party. It is humiliation wrought by a fringe that is greatly enjoying its attention. If you have any doubt of the humiliation, consider the ecstatic mainstream media coverage of the show. They love it. What accounts for their joy? I think I have a pretty good fix on it.
If that doesn’t give you a clue, take in the look on the face of Democrat Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Why is this man smiling? This is Hakeem’s dream. He may not even have to wait until 2024 to make his next move up the ladder.
The fringe makes up a small minority in the Republican conference. No one told me arithmetic would be involved, but by my calculation it is something like 10 percent of the conference.
The ability of the fringe to create the current foofaraw derives from the Republicans’ narrow majority. Say this about the fringe. It is doing its best to make sure Republicans won’t suffer that difficulty in the next Congress, when they will be returned to the minority.
The fringe has brought a petty personal quality to their cause. What exactly do they want? Not McCarthy. They want someone else, who also happens to support McCarthy. Let the members of the fringe put their cards on the table where we can all see them.
What exactly are the unmet demands of the fringe? For some reason they haven’t made them public. I think they have something to do with being accorded powers and privileges they would not be accorded under regular order or the normal course of events.
It appears that Republicans need a strong Speaker — a Speaker a la Pelosi. The fringe is making sure that Republicans won’t have a strong Speaker. That too serves their purposes. A strong Speaker would put them in their place.
The Republican fringe makes the Pelosi era look like the good old days before an electoral force such as Lauren Boebert became a power player. It won’t be long before the Pelosi era is consigned to the mists of ancient history — maybe next week. In the meantime the new Republican majority looks like a clown show.
If and when McCarthy stands down, one of McCarthy’s supporters will be elected Speaker in the event that Hakeems’s dream hasn’t already come true. The fringe will declare victory and they will have won one. It will be “a famous victory” of the kind memorialized in the poem by Robert Southey.