Dem 50
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McCarthy Previews Some Score-Settling

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) shared a video that showed him attacking various Democrats with a sword, and killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Do you think that such rhetoric helped encourage the attack on Paul Pelosi (which was actually planned as an attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA)? It's certainly possible. Maybe even probable.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has a long list of offenses against decency. Included among them is mocking Pride Month, aggressively denying that trans people exist (and harassing a colleague who has a trans daughter), claiming the Uvalde shooter was trans (so, apparently trans people DO exist), and warning that "in about four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore. Everyone will be either gay or trans or non-conforming." Call it the straight replacement theory. Do you think that such rhetoric helped encourage the attack on an LGBTQ+ nightclub this weekend that was perpetrated by a far-right militia member and that left 5 people dead? It's certainly possible. Maybe even probable.

Gosar and Greene both occupy positions of great power. And, as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. That's doubly true with two people whose power is paired with a very prominent public profile. The things they've said and the things they've tweeted would be enough to get a regular employee at a regular workplace suspended (or terminated). So, it's entirely apropos that the two members were punished by their colleagues and stripped of their committee memberships. Actually, that's kind of "slap on the wrist" territory compared to what would happen to someone in most other workplaces.

Aspiring Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) does not agree that it was apropos, however. If and when he gets the Speaker's gavel, he's going to restore Gosar and Greene to their committees. That's no surprise; he has to kiss the rear ends of the MAGA crew because he needs their votes for Speaker. Apparently, however, that is not enough. Whether it's to please the MAGA crew, or to please the Florida man from whom he takes orders, McCarthy is planning some payback against Democratic House members.

The Minority Leader has thus far identified three members he would like to cut off. The first is Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), because (according to right-wing conspiratorial thinking), he's been compromised by China. The second is Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), because (according to right-wing conspiratorial thinking), he lied to the American public about the 1/6 insurrection. The third is Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN), because she's said antisemitic stuff. The only one of those that's remotely justifiable is Omar, although she's apologized for her ill-advised remarks. Further, it would be very.... interesting to strip Omar of her committee assignments on that basis, and then to restore Greene at the same time. After all, only one of them has ever ranted about Jewish space lasers, and it ain't Omar.

McCarthy is dithering over whether his plan is to strip them of all assignments or just to strip them of their most prominent assignment. At the moment, it looks like his notion is to boot the two men from the House Intelligence Committee and to boot Omar from all of her committees. But the would-be Speaker could change his mind at any time, depending on what Tucker Carlson thinks.

Of course, McCarthy can't do this by fiat. It would take a majority vote of all House members. If he can't even be certain that he can get 218 votes for himself, then it's likely an even taller order to get them for something as petty and obviously punitive as kicking Swalwell/Schiff/Omar to the curb. If just a handful of Republican members decide that this sort of tit-for-tat leads to a bad place, then that's all it will take to put the kibosh on the scheme. (Z)

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