House Republicans Are Acting In Good Faith

House Republicans Are Acting In Good Faith

I'm finding it difficult not to respect the most radicalized House Republicans these days. You don't "gotta hand it to them," but I wouldn't blame you if you did.

In their ritualistic, days-long humiliation of Kevin McCarthy, the hard-right faction of the Republican caucus extracted stunning concessions from McCarthy, by far the most prominent Republican congressman outside Mitch McConnell. The so-called Freedom Caucus's ferocious cucking of McCarthy means they can strip him of his speakership at any moment, they can commit crimes with no governmental oversight, they can freely spread COVID in the House chambers, and they can force their fellow Republicans to participate in the dismantling of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – a 50-year fever dream of the frothing American right wing. They'll also have control of key House committees tasked with releasing photos of Hunter Biden's junk.

McCarthy is a hostage to the red-pilled among him.  The worst people in the country got what they wanted because they're good at politics and they understand the powerful concede nothing without a hardened demand. It's conservative good faith at its finest, and as usual, it's scary as hell.

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Far-right House Republicans, including Matt Gaetz – who may or may not be a pedophile and human trafficker – refused to give an inch to the Republican establishment, which wanted to sweep McCarthy into power and be done with it. Red-pilled Republicans would not bend in pursuit of what they wanted – to do crimes, to be unaccountable, to drop a nuke on America's fraying social safety net. Establishment-adjacent Republicans like Jim Jordan – who may or may not be a pedophile enabler – will fall in line with the far-right agenda even after pretending to support McCarthy through his televised cucking. And none of the squish Republicans will push back against the rabid Freedom Caucus members. If they do – if they dare cross Gaetz and his fellow criminal politicians – they will pay the price, and they know that.

It makes one wonder why House progressives didn't launch a similar insurgent campaign against enemies of the left like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer in 2018 and 2020, when Donald Trump's toxic brand gifted Democrats a House majority. This was not the time to coalesce around centrist liberals who had done nothing with massive Senate and House majorities in the first years of the Obama presidency, the folks who had laughed at the prospect of Trump becoming president, who had done nothing but whine about Republicans blocking Obama from seating a Supreme Court justice. It was time to challenge the failed Democrats who had helped plunge the nation into dystopia. It was time to loosen their grip on power.

Progressives could have denied Pelosi the speakership until she agreed to concessions like a Medicare For All floor vote – which would apply massive pressure to performative Democrats who had ridden Bernie Sanders' coattails in 2018 – and committees led by the chamber's most left-wing members.

They could have withheld their support for Pelosi's speakership until she expunged committees of the most corporate-beholden Democrat toadies and forced a vote on outlawing stock trading among members of Congress (including the deeply corrupt and wildly unpopular Pelosi). That kind of leverage can net lawmakers quite a bit, as we saw last week with Republicans (my favorite part of the 2020 pushback against a challenge to Pelosi's speakership was the lie that Kevin McCarthy would magically become speaker if Democrats didn't line up behind their Kween).

Democrats don't do politics. They're too afraid, too weak. Republicans do politics very well, not to achieve legislative victories for the people they represent, but to enrich themselves and their friends both foreign and domestic, protect themselves from legal danger, and do the bidding of their myriad corporate masters and cable TV's most radicalized talking heads. Far-right House Republicans showed no fear in their fight against McCarthy. They operated in good faith and made him look weak and ineffectual. They made him beg for the speakership like a man crawling through the desert, dying for a drop of water. The Freedom Caucus gave McCarthy his drop of water, and in exchange, they now run the joint.

Follow Denny Carter on Twitter at @CDCarter13.