House Republicans aren’t getting anything done to benefit the nation or the voters, but they are achieving at a high level in at least one area: sheer disarray. Actually, make that two areas: sheer disarray and intense spitefulness.
The big talk among Republicans these days is impeaching President Joe Biden, with a split between people who want to impeach now without even pretending to have investigated and assembled impeachment-worthy evidence against him, and people who want to do it after a series of show trials designed to insert uncorroborated allegations into the public consciousness. Then there are the so-called “moderates,” who will whine to the press about the awful position they’re being put in—then fall in line when it’s time to vote on whatever the extremists have gotten Speaker Kevin McCarthy to back.
All of these groups are sharing their feelings with the press. The biggest splash this week was made by reports that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called her former ally Rep. Lauren Boebert a “bitch” as the two joust over whose impeachment resolution will get the most attention and fundraising leverage. But it’s just one moment of hostility in a party with a lot of them.
RELATED STORY: House Republicans desperately seeking reason to impeach Biden
Greene says Boebert “copied my impeachment articles and probably did it, it seems to me, because there’s a fundraising deadline coming up at the end of the month,” and that she will be forcing a vote on her own impeachment resolution soon. When she does, have no doubt that she will fundraise off of it—in fact, Boebert sucking up Greene’s planned fundraising juice is no small part of the fury here.
RELATED STORY: Tense—or typical?—moment in House as MTG calls Boebert a 'b----'
Greene, though, is at risk of being purged from the far-right House Freedom Caucus over her closeness to McCarthy, which is seen as compromising her far-right purity. For her part, Greene says she’s just being “more realistic” in her tactics.
Greene’s “more realistic” tactics will still put Biden-district Republicans on the spot, though, and they’re unhappy about how often that’s happened recently.
“I am concerned,” about having to vote on impeaching Biden, Rep. Tony Gonzales told CNN. “One witch hunt for another witch hunt makes this place all about witch hunts. Meanwhile, the American public are focused putting food on the table, keeping their kids safe in schools, keeping inflation down. Real issues.” That’s nice talk, but since Gonzales participated in party-line votes on referring Boebert’s impeachment resolution to two committees and on censuring Rep. Adam Schiff, it has to be filed as just talk until he actually votes against a Republican witch hunt.
And Gonzales is going to face that again and again. Whether it’s Greene and Boebert with their separate efforts to force an impeachment vote, or committee chairs like Jim Jordan and James Comer taking a little longer to put a fig leaf of fraudulent “investigation” and “evidence” on their eventual impeachment efforts, House Republicans are not letting this go. Given their failure to show how they would productively govern the United States by passing meaningful legislation—even if it died in the Senate—attacks on the president, the president’s son, and top administration officials are all they have to convince their base they’ve done something with two years in control of the House.
Extremism is a powerful drug. And these people are so awful that infighting was probably inevitable the moment Republicans had power. It's a virtuous (from Democrats’ point of view) circle: Republican disarray begets failure begets more disarray.
So-called moderates like Gonzales are reportedly trying to get McCarthy to stop giving in to the Freedom Caucus, but giving in to extremists is what McCarthy does—especially since the deal he struck to become speaker on the 15th vote gave any single member the ability to call for a vote to replace him. McCarthy is spending as much time trying to save his own hide as he is trying to lead his party. Not that McCarthy’s party is leadable, even under someone far more adept than he is.
RELATED STORY: Freedom Caucus insists McCarthy broke promises
Take Rep. Matt Gaetz, sounding like the id of the Republican Party. Using privileged resolutions to force votes on things like impeachment, as Boebert did, is “actually going to be a new doctrine for us,” he told CNN.
“I sort of have had enough struggle sessions,” he said. “I’m ready for action, action, action.”
If that action involves Greene and Boebert trading insults, Greene at risk of being kicked out of the Freedom Caucus, McCarthy being eternally under pressure, and every Republican who represents a district that voted for Biden having to take unpopular vote after unpopular vote, I’m here for it.
This week on “The Brief,” we are joined by Christina Reynolds of Emily’s List. Reynolds is the Senior Vice President of Communications and Content at the progressive organization, which works to get women elected to office. On the anniversary of the outrageous Supreme Court decision to take away the reproductive protections of Roe v. Wade, Reynolds talks about what she is seeing up and down the ballot this election cycle.