by Dov Fischer
Oh, no! McCarthy … For the first time in history … And the House is in chaos … And the Republicans cannot govern … And Matt Gaetz just handed the 2024 presidency to Joe Biden.
The November 2024 election will be decided by specific discrete things:
- Events that unfold in the last 4 weeks before November 2024.
- Whether the GOP can do better at getting out an early turnout.
- How the GOP deals with vote harvesting, unsupervised drop-box voting, and six-week election windows.
- How the GOP handles poll watching and vote counting.
Th-th-the-that’s all, folks.
It won’t matter how many more indictments are filed against Donald Trump or how many convictions juries have handed down by then, or even whether he is in prison by then. The months of no baby formula in America won’t matter. Supply-chain disasters won’t matter. The catastrophic derailment in Palestine, Ohio, won’t matter. All the times Biden talked to himself, walked in circles, nibbled on children, and got led around by a bunny rabbit won’t matter. And certainly the House speakership change won’t matter.
All that will matter are the above delineated factors.
I have been following politics closely since 1971, when, as a high school kid, I campaigned for my local city councilman in Brooklyn. That’s more than half a century of being a political hawk and junkie. In those days, I used to think that every cataclysmic event would impact an election. I have been a youth, and I have aged, and I have learned that it does not. If it did, there really would have been a Republican wave in 2022 after economic chaos, food prices through the roof, no baby formula, Kamala moronic, and Biden catatonic. But in the end, Afghanistan did not matter. Kamala’s insane giggling did not matter. Rather, what mattered was getting out the early vote. Ron DeSantis understood this in Florida, as did Brian Kemp in Georgia.
And it mattered to run acceptable candidates. Dr. Mehmet Oz is a dignified guy, a media celebrity like the sort Trump loves. But he was a carpetbagger from neighboring Jersey. If the GOP had run the other guy, David McCormick, they would have defeated that partly demented, disgusting zhlub in the hoodie, shorts, and sneakers without socks. Likewise, in Georgia, Trump’s terrible error in December 2020 urging Georgian Republicans not to bother voting because the system is rigged led to the election of Raphael Warnock, and that gave him the advantage of incumbency in 2022 when he ran against a thoroughly unacceptable opponent, who had fathered more kids than do most goats and had a terrible hidden history that was bound to come out at election time. But, again, Trump — whom I heartily endorse for reelection, as you will read in my next column — goes for celebrities. Alas, not all voters do.
That is what matters in elections. Not whether Speaker Kevin McCarthy is replaced a year beforehand.
Amid all the static, it is easy to overlook that McCarthy actually got 210 out of 218 Republican votes. That’s 96.3 percent, a great academic grade on an exam in the few remaining schools where they bother giving grades anymore. However, as Bill Clinton might have said, close but no cigar. The final result will not hurt Republicans one bit a year from now.
Let’s get away from media spin and talk three simple truths:
- McCarthy, regardless of whether you like him, did great on the vote. You wish that 96.3 percent of the people you encounter in your life would vote for you. His problem was that he had the slimmest of House majorities to begin with. If he had a normal-ish House majority, he would have survived a few dissenters. That is substantially why this has not happened before in
- The reason Nancy Pelosi ruled with an iron fist with a comparably tight majority is two-fold: First, she knew where her Democrat caucus members’ skeletons are buried and would not hesitate to destroy people in their careers and personal lives if they got out of line. McCarthy, regardless of your politics, is too decent for that. For example, he vigorously raised serious money to support election campaigns of even his Republican opponents. Second, Pelosi outflanked her extremists by adopting an almost universally extreme-left agenda. She out-Ocasio’d Ocasio and out-Squaded the Squad. (The one exception: To the end, Pelosi honored her family legacy of supporting Israel and did not sink to the Squad’s Jew-hatred.) By contrast, McCarthy chose not to adopt a more extreme-right position to outflank his right. Instead, he relied on the symbolic support of a Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert to signal his street cred to the MAGA world. Not enough.
- Third, something personal is at Matt Gaetz’s craw regarding McCarthy. There was that thing with allegations about Matt fooling around with girls, and McCarthy did not preserve, protect, and defend him. So we all get to watch Payback 101. That’s how life works. It is the reason why siblings sometimes destroy each other, ruining great families and making for gripping cable television; why Yankee Alex Rodriguez hated Yankee Derek Jeter for years (and maybe still does); and why “Never Trumpers” will destroy the country, hand it all to the Squad, and elect Colin Kaepernick president rather than let Trump win again.
Where do we go from here?
The GOP will meet, and it will pick someone like Steve Scalise. The guy got shot to death playing baseball for the GOP team and came back to life. You can’t vote against a guy on his second coming. He’s a nice guy. Trump likes him. McCarthy likes him. He likes McCarthy. He likes Trump. He’s from Louisiana. Everyone who visits New Orleans likes the Garden District and the French Quarter, even though (i) we don’t like the French and (ii) you can see the exact same Andrew Jackson statue that stands in Jackson Square if you go to Washington, D.C., or visit the Tennessee state capital in Nashville. To vote against Steve Scalise is to vote against beignets and to vote in favor of shooting congressmen. Democrats might vote that way, but not Republicans. And if not Scalise, someone else, whoever. Hardly matters — as long as he or she can raise bundles of money, whether from Republican campaign donors or Burisma.
The next Speaker will have to walk a bit more of the walk, not just talk the talk. Appropriate money for the wall and to police that border as though it were Stalin’s bedroom (which still didn’t help him and won’t stop illegal immigration either until Biden–Harris are booted). Subsidize airfare and bus fare expended by Texas, Florida, and other border states to help transport illegal immigrants to street corners in the sanctuary cities where they are beckoned. Cut off earmarks and all the hidden bonanzas that each congressional representative tucks into the budgets. Reassess the strategy behind sending endless billions to Zelensky without careful fiscal accountability and a more comprehensive strategy assessment of whether we should cut him off or mega-supply him to win beyond an endless stalemate. Do not dare touch Social Security — because people paid into it based on broken federal promises they believed and because those are the GOP’s voters. Cut every social welfare program that can be cut. Close down the Department of Education by strangling its funding. (Education is a local matter for the states, not for federal intrusion.) Kill every new initiative Biden instituted unless, by chance, it actually is any good. Kill all spending on climate change nonsense that is not truly based on unimpeachable science. Fire government workers who do not have tenure. Stop borrowing money from China so we can pay interest to China on prior loans from China so they can buy property and businesses in America.
In short, just as Pelosi made it hard for Trump to govern, it is time for Republicans to tie up Biden with so many investigations and money cut-offs that his head starts spinning even faster than before until it completely unscrews. And impeach the intestines out of him.
That is what matters.