Republican division comes home to roost

October 6, 2023 4:26 am

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-California, is surrounded by staff, security and journalists as he walks to the House Chamber ahead of a vote at the U.S. Capitol on Oct. 03, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images)


There’s an old saying that some people are so mean if there’s no one else to fight, they fight with themselves.

That’s exactly what’s happening right now in Congress as the paper-thin Republican House majority turns on itself in an ugly attempt by extreme right-wingers to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy’s big “crime” is that he supported a very short-term continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded last week. Some crime, eh? But because he passed it with votes from Democrats and didn’t let the radical right-wingers burn down the government.

They were led by none other than ethically-challenged Matt Gaetz, another nutball from Florida — a state which is particularly known these days for producing some of the wackiest politicians. They certainly don’t have the market on nutty politicians cornered, however, especially when you consider “Mad Matt” Rosendale that Montanans sent to Congress.

Ironically, this incredible Republican leadership debacle is simply the GOP being bitten by its own mad dogs — the same ones they unleashed on the American public under Donald Trump’s presidency and that continues to this day.
The old “divide and conquer” strategy has long been used by politicians of all stripes, but the GOP has taken it to new heights by basically applying their “you’re with us or you’re against us” standard to the entire U.S. population.

How timely is it that while the House writhes with internal strife, the former president who so willingly stoked those flames is now in court facing a $250 million fine and the potential loss of his New York properties and businesses over fraudulent practices and deceptive, highly overstated claims of their worth? Funny that the guy who falsely claimed to write his “Art of the Deal” book is now being busted because it was really “Art of the Steal.”

Yet, far from stoically facing the consequences for his financial deceptions, the former guy has lashed out at every public official involved. Apparently, for someone who continues to flout his supposed popularity, any and every judge, prosecutor, attorney general and lawyer in the nation, including those he appointed, is out to get him. That is why he says they should all be recalled, disbarred, shot or hung.
Like the savage infighting in the House, the very guy who used lies, hatred and threats to turn Americans against each other now believes those same tactics are being used against him by none other than the entire judicial system. And like so many authoritarian wannabes, he’s furious as his supposed power dissolves and his fantasy is shattered because “no one is above the law” means just that.
But while Trump turns slowly on the spit of his own devising, McCarthy faced a similar, albeit quicker, fate in Congress. The Democrats didn’t rush to save him:  As reported, Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, whom McCarthy kicked off the Intelligence Committee, said: “This is someone who voted to overturn the election. This is someone who reneged on the budget deal with the president. This is someone who betrays his word on pretty much a daily basis. That’s not someone we have to trust to run one of the most important institutions in the country.”
Government by chaos has never been a good idea. Now that the GOP harvests the bitter fruit from the seeds of division and hatred they so purposefully sowed, perhaps they’ll learn the wisdom of “what goes around comes around” — and realize that despite our differences of opinion, “live and let live” is a far better and more sane path to the future.
George Ochenski is a longtime Helena resident, an environmental activist and Montana’s longest-running columnist.

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