By Mike Landry January 6, 2023 at 4:14pm
One of the big shifts in recent years was seeing leftists show who they truly are. Reactions to President Donald Trump, to COVID, gay marriage and other controversies were not hidden in the left’s double-talk practiced for decades.
We finally saw them for what we always knew they were.
Some might say there’s a similar reveal going on now in the fight to elect a speaker of the House: It’s a battle pitting the Republican establishment against members of Congress desiring to rid the lower chamber of its longtime swamp-like practices.
But it’s not a clear picture.
No less than Trump favors beleaguered Kevin McCarthy in his effort to win the speakership. As do venerable GOP strategist and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and most Republicans currently in Congress.
And, seemingly, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, as she sparred Friday with Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, an anti-McCarthy stalwart.
If Republicans team up with Democrats to elect a moderate GOP speaker, as Ingraham indicated is possible, Gaetz said he will take drastic action.
“If Democrats join up to elect a moderate Republican, I will resign,” he said, so certain was he that such a situation is impossible.
A key point of the Ingraham-Gaetz exchange was Ingraham’s contention that McCarthy has agreed to multiple demands of the Republican dissenters. What would it take, she wanted to know, to move forward and install McCarthy as speaker?
“What else do you require that he do or agree to before Matt Gaetz will say ‘OK, I’m onboard’?” Ingraham asked.
“I wouldn’t be betting on my vote for Kevin McCarthy under almost any circumstance,” Gaetz replied.
“So it’s personal then!” Ingraham declared, noting that Gaetz and other Freedom Caucus members had successfully negotiated issues such as more accountability for the speaker, earmarks, term limits and border security.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Ingraham said. “You can’t say, ‘I’m a man of principle and I believe in X, Y and Z, but if he gives me X, Y and Z I’m not gonna vote for him.’ What? How does that make sense?”
“Kevin McCarthy is the masthead of the lobby core,” Gaetz replied, saying he resented McCarthy’s close relationship with special interests that dictate decisions on public policy and leadership.
“Kevin McCarthy has been in the leadership for 14 years,” Gaetz continued. “He has sold shares of himself to special interests, to political action committees, and so that’s why I don’t think he is an appropriate choice.”
Ingraham challenged Gaetz, a vocal Trump supporter, with Trump’s endorsement of McCarthy. “Is he wrong?” she asked.
“I think President Trump is wrong to the extent that he supports Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz said. “I’m gonna support President Trump when he runs for re-election in 2024, but I’m not gonna back him on this play.”
Do you support McCarthy for speaker?
While Ingraham indicated she supported Gaetz’s criticism of the Republican establishment, she said, “I’m always also about the art of the possible. What’s possible here?”
With the very real specter looming of McCarthy ultimately assuming the speakership, Gaetz said, “If Kevin McCarthy doesn’t bow out, then he will have to live the entirety of his speakership in a straitjacket constructed by these rules that we’re working on now.”
Countered Ingraham: “You prefer a speaker with a straitjacket than one who you believe is just a spend-o-rama, right?”
“Well, I’d prefer a straightjacket if it’s Kevin McCarthy. If it was a Jim Jordan, we certainly wouldn’t need that,” Gaetz replied, “because we trust Jim Jordan. We have zero trust in Kevin McCarthy.
“There’s just a large body of work to evaluate — his continuous voting for big spending bills, his support of amnesty in the past, his refusal to join us in trying to break up Big Tech.
“This is someone whose compass is like a wet finger in the wind,” Gaetz said.
In some respects, the debate over Kevin McCarthy has an inside baseball feel to it. Serious people — Trump, Gingrich, Ingraham — question why a decision for McCarthy can’t just be made to allow Congress to move forward.
But representatives opposing McCarthy are not “terrorists,” as claimed by Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw, or “deranged,” as Gingrich said. They are speaking for the many Americans sick of the corrupt legislative sausage-making and who desire reform.