Matt Gaetz burns down the Republican House

Matt Gaetz burns down the Republican House

If you’re kicking yourself for missing the historic moment of a House speaker’s ouster Tuesday because you had to work or get your kids from school, relax: We watched, and all it boiled down to was hot air — sound and fury, signifying nothing except cynical nihilism and likely weeks of chaotic paralysis.

Oh, Rep. Matt Gaetz and his fellow rebels talked plenty about high principle and the crisis of the Republic, but all they were really doing was burning down the House, or at least the House Republican majority.


Professed conservative hardliner Gaetz got the chaos he wanted, ironically thanks to the unanimous support of House Democrats, who joined the tiny GOP Suicide Squad (Florida’s Gaetz plus Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Matt Rosendale of Montana) to vote the speaker’s gavel out of Kevin McCarthy’s hands.

Dems, of course, are reveling in the dysfunctional circus — and will presumably try to spin it out for as long as possible to the point that the madness winds up handing the gavel to Hakeem Jeffries, now the House minority leader.

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At the very least, the vacant chair means days or weeks when Republicans can’t advance any of their priorities, from the impeachment inquiry to spending bills that could reverse the ever-upward trend that Gaetz & Co. so bewail.

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No one knows what comes next: The rebels have no candidate for speaker, let alone a plan for keeping the party’s most moderate members from turning to the Democrats in desperation for a return to regular order.

Gaetz and his allies didn’t take a bold stand for anything but self-indulgent nihilism — they were mad at how things have been going, so they blew everything up.

The reality remains that the Dems control the White House and the Senate, so the Republicans in Congress are unable to get much done, let alone realize the demands knocking about in Gaetz’s wildest dreams.  

This arson no doubt feels good, like you’ve at last done something — just like punching a wall.

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Then your hand starts to hurt and you realize that that’s all you’ve achieved.

The trigger was McCarthy’s dealing with Democrats to pass a 45-day stopgap bill to avoid a partial government shutdown.

In retaliation, Gaetz himself allied with Dems to shut down the GOP House.

McCarthy’s deal, incidentally, got 126 Republican House votes. Gaetz’s vacate-the-chair motion got eight.

The defenestration leaves the House unable to do anything until it elects a new speaker.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down on the 45-day resolution to fund the government, upping the odds that Congress will have no choice in the end but to pass another of those omnibus spending bills that Goetz & Co. so relentlessly decry.

And the urgent question of aid to Ukraine — which could lose the war its now slowly winning against the Russian invasion if the help stops coming — remains in limbo.

Also up in the air: What Republican would even want the speaker’s job, so long at it means being held hostage by Gaetz and his crew?

This bit of history is a farce the first time around.