Rep. Ken Buck is a prototypical Freedom Caucus member. The Colorado Republican relishes being a maverick, voting his conscience, and fighting with leadership—or with his extremist colleagues—when he feels like it. Now Buck finds himself enmeshed in that “perfect storm” he warned Speaker Kevin McCarthy was coming, and the House Republican majority is turned inside out. Buck is now on the outside of a ridiculous scheme, which has been put into motion by McCarthy, to move forward on impeaching President Joe Biden.
The problem is that Buck remains reality-based. He used to be a federal prosecutor, so he knows some stuff—like the fact that in order to impeach a president, you have to have evidence that they’ve done something impeachable. “The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden — if there’s evidence linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor. That doesn’t exist right now,” Buck said in an interview on MSNBC last weekend.
He called Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s threat to shut the government down if McCarthy didn’t agree to start an impeachment inquiry “absurd.” Now Greene is on the warpath. “This is the same guy that wrote a book called ‘Drain the Swamp’, who is now arguing against an impeachment inquiry,” Greene said. “I really don’t see how we can have a member on Judiciary that is flat out refusing to impeach. … It seems like, can he even be trusted to do his job at this point?”
It’s possible that Buck was involved in ousting Greene from the Freedom Caucus (he had a lot to say about it) a few months ago, or that Greene thinks he was, so she might be going after him for that. One of the reasons Greene was booted was because she was too cozy with leadership—specifically with McCarthy. Whatever the case, there is now a contingent in the House GOP that is aligning themselves with Greene—and apparently leadership—against Buck.
A number of sources told CNN that “there is growing frustration” in the conference, “including among the leadership ranks,” over a number of Buck’s positions, probably stemming back to his vote to certify the 2020 election and his defense of former Rep. Liz Cheney when Republican leadership was kicking her out. He’s also voted against some bills McCarthy considers key to demonstrating his leadership, like the debt ceiling deal and the defense authorization act. These are very Freedom Caucus things to do; Buck has never voted for a debt ceiling authorization because he hates the debt. About half of his fellow caucus members also voted against it.
It’s a hell of a thing. One of the most Freedom Caucus-ish members of the Freedom Caucus is now sounding like a reasonable, sensible, establishment kind of Republican, and leadership is running with the hare-brained impeachment idea. There’s clearly no room for being reality-based in the House with Kevin McCarthy (at least nominally) in charge.
That’s a Republican Party in disarray.
Freedom Caucus revels in its internal chaos
‘MAGA circus’ steamrolls over McCarthy, again
Greene owns McCarthy, and he doesn’t even realize it
Why does it seem like Republicans have such a hard time recruiting Senate candidates who actually live in the states they want to run in? We're discussing this strange but persistent phenomenon on this week's edition of "The Downballot." The latest example is former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, who's been spending his time in Florida since leaving the House in 2015, but he's not the only one. Republican Senate hopefuls in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Montana, and Wisconsin all have questionable ties to their home states—a problem that Democrats have gleefully exploited in recent years. (Remember Dr. Oz? Of course you do.)