By Angelo Lynn
Editor’s note: Angelo Lynn is the editor and publisher of the Addison County Independent, a sister publication of the Mountain Times.
The ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is notable for many things — including the fact that it’s the first time in the nation’s history that a speaker has been dethroned, let alone in such a mindless manner — but one salient point stands out: the key antagonist, Rep. Matthew Gaetz, managed the coup with just seven other Republicans and did so without a plan to deal with the consequences.
For those readers who might only catch the headlines, it’s notable that 210 House Republicans supported McCarthy. That a handful of self-absorbed bomb-throwers can render the House immobile is a travesty in itself — and an indictment of Republican leadership.
That it was done with no Plan B is beyond reckless. But that such recklessness fits Gaetz’s modus operandi, along with a handful of allies, defines the dysfunction of the House under Republican control.
Their goal isn’t to govern, but to score political points so their social media feeds appeal to individual donors moved by those willing to blow up the status quo. Trump and his supporters fit into this same mold. No realistic solutions are offered; but they’re very good at blaming others for the complex problems the nation faces.
We’re not sorry to see McCarthy go. He was a self-serving, double-crossing politician willing to lie to friend and foe while rarely putting the national interests ahead of his personal ambition. One of his few noble acts was staving off a government shutdown last week by partnering with Democrats at the last minute, but such brinkmanship was due to McCarthy’s unwillingness to compromise much earlier and for putting the Speaker’s role in such a precarious position in the first place.
As a footnote to history, his failed speakership (269 days, the third shortest in history) will define the unruliness of a Republican Party struggling to get its footing after the destabilizing influence of Trump.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. Republicans are at each other’s throats and certainly have no fondness for
Gaetz and his rightwing gang. There is already talk among mainstream Republicans about expelling Gaetz. To that end, it’s possible the party could elect a more moderate leader who would insist the self-imposed rules that strangled McCarthy be tossed out and a status quo be reinstated that allows the Speaker to compromise with Democrats when needed to approve necessary legislation in the national interest. That would make sense.
But don’t hold your breath. The party has been in self-destruct mode since Trump came on the scene, and as long as he’s defining their stage, not much is likely to change.