February 7, 2021

TO MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, YOU’LL REGRET THIS AND YOU MAY REGRET IT A LOT SOONER THAN YOU THINK: Kevin McCarthy got exactly what he wanted from the Marjorie Taylor Greene vote.

While McCarthy said many of Greene’s statements — most made before she was elected to Congress — “do not represent the values of my party”, he still condemned the very idea of voting to remove her from committee posts as “cynical” and “hypocritical”. He also cited a number of controversial statements made by Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota (a Black Muslim woman who was a frequent Trump target) and House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters of California.

But a number of current and former House staffers — as well as a prominent historian of the House — say that in their opinion, McCarthy’s opposition to Thursday’s vote to remove Greene from her committee assignments was all for show. Instead, the entire exercise was meant to goad Democrats into giving him a weapon to entrench one-party Republican rule by targeting their members wholesale if he is ever permitted to hold power.

“Kevin is just about as happy as a pig in s**t right now,” said one House veteran, an aide to a long-serving Republican member who called the events of the past few days an “entirely predictable” exercise that will be cited in the future as a failure by Democrats to think in the longer term.

Kurt Bardella, a former aide to Republican Representative Darrell Issa, suggested that McCarthy got exactly what he wanted by Greene being voted off committees without his support.

And note this:

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, posited that McCarthy’s refusal to take any action was possibly deliberate, meant to goad Democrats into giving him the precedent for future revenge.

“We’ve seen that the Republicans have often weaponized the kind of mechanisms that are intended to make Congress better or create more accountability and use them for partisan gain,” he said. “The fact that Republicans decided not to really do anything about their Congresswoman Greene problem suggests that the scenario [of letting Democrats give them the power to remove minority members from committees] wouldn’t be outrageous in their mind.”

It’s different when we do it. How dare the GOP use our own tactics against us when they’re in power!

(Classical reference in headline.)

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