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Kevin McCarthy Is Out For Vengeance, Baby!

house continues voting for new speaker after three failed attempts
Kevin McCarthy Is Out For Vengeance, Baby!Anna Moneymaker - Getty Images

As I may have mentioned, in Republican politics these days, cannibalism is on the menu. Now, it seems, not only is it on the menu, it's the damn Early Bird Grand Slam Special. From Politico:

A top McCarthy ally, Brian O. Walsh, is overseeing an attempt to recruit primary challengers to take on members of the infamous “Gaetz Eight” — the Capitol’s nickname for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and seven Republicans who supported his fire-McCarthy push — according to six people familiar with the plans who were granted anonymity to discuss them. The McCarthy revenge campaign is ready to marshal the former speaker’s considerable donor network on behalf of Republican primary candidates who are deemed strong enough to pose a credible threat to one of the eight. “These traitors chose to side with Nancy Pelosi, AOC and over 200 Democrats to undermine the institution, their fellow Republicans and a duly elected Speaker,” Walsh said in a statement. “There must be consequences for that decision.”

Oh, knock off the whole AOC paranoia, will you? Put a sock in the argument that it was the Democrats who were in any way responsible for how the crazies ran amuck and threw your boss out on his ass. Just stick with the pure, entertaining GOP-on-GOP crime. You owe the nation that much.

That quiet work shows McCarthy’s appetite for payback remains intense, even months after his October ouster as speaker and December departure from Congress. It also illustrates that even out of office, the former speaker and his supporters can make life miserable for his detractors — a further sign that the House GOP power struggle between burn-it-down hardliners and more establishment conservatives is alive and well. Walsh is acting with McCarthy’s blessing. While the former speaker is not involved in the day-to-day work of the project, he is briefed on its progress, as are key donors, according to a person familiar with the effort who was granted anonymity to discuss it.

It's hard to blame McCarthy. He really did get hosed pretty badly, albeit by people to whom he willingly handed the hose. This is old-school political payback, something those of us who cut their professional teeth in the Massachusetts State House learned about in our misspent youth. It's actually rather refreshing to see politics played at this most fundamental level, rather than dealing with the conspiracy fantasies currently skylarking through the heads of the people who gave McCarthy the boot.

“One of the most dangerous things that you could do is have an untethered McCarthy,” said Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a former top lieutenant of the ex-speaker. “In terms of some of the people that have done stupid things over the past several months.”

The Untethered McCarthy—coming this spring to the Abbey Theater, Dublin.

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