Republican ‘mainstream,’ not just Freedom Caucus, sent House into chaos
Right wing Republican representatives Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan want to be the next Speaker. Both are MAGA Republicans who back Trump and who supported his Jan. 21 insurrection at the Capitol. Politico via AP

The mainstream media described the removal this week of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as “historic.” What they failed to note, however, was that it was the predictable result of the path on which the GOP has traveled for quite a long time.

House Speaker McCarthy empowered the MAGA extremists in order to get elected to the Speakership. He empowered them, with no objections from anyone in his own party, because all of the Republicans, even if they claim they are not MAGA extremists, are supporters of the fascist Trump for election in 2024, or they are lawmakers who voted against the certification of the results of the last national election, or they are cowards afraid to stand up against the Trumpites.

Republicans as a whole have supported racist gerrymandering, kicking people off the voter rolls, attacking the labor movement and its allies, opposed immigrant rights, opposed criminal justice reform, backed banning of books and destruction of abortion rights, and supported so many other right-wing and repressive policies. Whatever bad things can be said about Matt Gaetz and the so-called handful of Republican “firebrands” who voted to remove McCarthy can be said many times over for McCarthy himself and for almost every single Republican in Congress.

So-called “mainstreamers” as bad as Gaetz

So-called mainstream Republicans, for example, declared yesterday that Gaetz showed his true motivations when he sent out fund appeals right after the vote to remove McCarthy, fund appeals designed to rake in $30 and $40 dollar contributions in exchange for his role in dumping McCarthy. The Gaetz fund appeals went to supporters in the right-wing MAGA base.

Those mainstream Republicans criticizing Gaetz for his fundraising were silent, of course about the huge contributions in dark money they get from the Koch brothers and other corporate behemoths.

How ironic it was indeed that McCarthy said after he was toppled “I don’t regret standing up for choosing governance over grievance.” How did he stand up for governance and against grievance when he pushed for the impeachment of Joe Biden even as he offered not a shred of evidence against the president? How did he stand up against grievance when he attacked Democrats almost immediately after they bailed him out when he could not get his own party to vote to keep the government open?

The New York Times said Speaker McCarthy was doomed by just eight extremist members of his own party. The reality is that he was doomed by his own action in elevating the extremists to positions of power and by his own party which, through its policies, has fertilized and nurtured the soil in which extremism grows.

In the days before the vote to oust him there was pressure on Democrats to consider helping McCarthy survive or at least to remain neutral in the fight to dethrone him.

More than dislike for McCarthy, it was resentment for having been spurned and attacked by him during the nine months of his Speakership, that helped fuel their decision regarding a bailout.

In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday morning, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, instructed Democrats not to bail out the speaker, citing Republican failure “to break with MAGA extremism.” McCarthy and all the Republicans, of course, are responsible for the scourge of MAGA extremism.

The meeting with Jeffries, according to people who spoke to the press, turned into a listing of almost countless grievances against McCarthy and against right-wing MAGA extremism.

Many in the Republican Party as a whole, Democrats noted, voted against the certification of the Biden election and remained silent about or defended the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. They noted McCarthy reneged on the debt limit deal he made with Democrats. They noted McCarthy’s backing of Donald Trump in the face of his many indictments and his silence about all the crimes of the ex-president. They were particularly angry about McCarthy’s backing of the impeachment push against Biden and the silence of Republicans in general about the phony impeachment drive.

“We’re not voting in any way that would help Speaker McCarthy,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington State, said ahead of the vote. “Nobody trusts Kevin McCarthy, why should we?”

The attitude of the Democrats pushed finally to their breaking point, was that the Republicans inherited the chaos for which they laid the groundwork. What they did not say, however, is that sowing chaos is a time-tested tactic used by fascists seeking power. The implications for the 2024 elections are clear. All the Republicans must be sent packing by the voters if democracy is to survive.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.