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Fascists And MAGAts Love Matt Gaetz— Everyone Else Wants to Punch Him Out

Everyone in Washington pretty much thinks of Nancy Mace (R-SC) the same way— an opportunistic careerist, unanchored by any semblance of values or principles… and way out of her depth. Republicans consider her word meaningless and Democrats… try their best to just steer clear. Mainstream media— with a straight face— thinks she’s a hoot. Friday, she interrupted a hallway interview Manu Raju was doing for CNN with South Dakota mainstream conservative Dusty Johnson. Johnson said aloud— and on air— what most Republicans only whisper: “Let’s be clear, Nancy Mace… it’s been a long time since she’s done anything productive to move forward this broader team. America’s got real problems and this is a time where we need people who are interested in problem-solving, not self-aggrandizement. I think Americans are sick of it and I know most members of the House are sick of it. It is time for big boys and big girls to stop with the nonsense and get back to work for the United States.”

That was pretty negative. But not nearly as negative as congressional Republicans feel about Matt Gaetz, who they feel led Mace and several others down the Trumpist chaos road that has brought the House GOP to absolute catastrophe, showing the party as dysfunctional and unable to govern and jeopardizing the seats of a couple of dozen swing-district incumbents.

Gaetz’s motion to vacate the chair will make history— but not in a good way. Gaetz did it for Trump and ideological allies and Trump puppets Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Matt Rosendale (R-MT) were on the same page. The personal hatred Bob Good (R-VA) has for McCarthy probably always had him on their side as well, but to make this work, Gaetz slithered around Congress for the better part of a month looking for other Republicans who would go along with his scheme. Many of his most obvious allies in the Freedom Caucus turned him down— even the brainless Boebert who was going to, until her Beetlejuice problem— but Gaetz was successful in talking right-wing imbeciles Tim Burchett (R-TN) and Eli Crain (R-AZ) into joining the conspiracy, persuading another McCarthy hater, Ken Buck (R-CO), to get on board and, least likely of all, talking publicity-hungry Mace into voting against McCarthy for no apparent reason, feeling electorally safe in her racially gerrymandered district since the Supreme Court waved its magic wand over it.

This NY Times headline is from 2019, not from last week: Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation but it was very much about the tactics Gaetz and Gym Jordan have been using— unsuccessfully— to get Jordan the speaker’s gavel. “Sitting in the Delta Sky Lounge during a layover in Atlanta’s airport in July 2017, Gaetz, a first-term Republican from the Florida Panhandle, decided it was time to attack. Gaetz, then 35, believed that the president’s allies in Congress needed a coordinated strategy to fight back against an investigation they viewed as deeply unfair and politically biased. He called Rep. Gym Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio, and told him the party needed ‘to go play offense,’ Gaetz recalled in an interview. The two men believed that Republican leaders, who publicly praised the appointment of Mueller, had been beaten into a defensive crouch by the unending chaos and were leaving Democrats unchecked to ‘pistol whip’ the president with constant accusations about his campaign and Russia. So they began to investigate the investigators… Gaetz and Jordan began huddling with like-minded Republicans, sometimes including Rep. Mark Meadows, a press-savvy North Carolinian close to Trump, and Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the head of the House Intelligence Committee.

Gaetz is the spoiled ne’er-do-well rich kid from a political family in Florida’s intellectually-desolate Panhandle. His corrupt father, Don Gaetz, served as state Senate president from 2012 to 2014. (He retired in 2016 but last week announced he’s running for his old state Senate seat, now open, again.)

This isn’t going where you might think it is by reading the first line. “Wednesday we watched, many of us aghast, as Matt Gaetz and a pack of fascist-oriented extremists barged into an impeachment deposition and shut it down, Gaetz stuffing pepperoni pizza's down his fat face... before waddling upstairs to vote against the SHIELD Act which seeks to protect American elections from foreign interference… This kind of Republican Party activity inside Congress may appear laughable to normal people but it absolutely encourages crackpots like Trumpist psychopath Rick Wiles to spread venomous calls for violence. That was in 2019, when Gaetz was, first and foremost, a desperate publicity hound, looking to make a mark— and a 10o pounds heavier..

Matt before Trump told him to drop 100 pounds

In May of 2019 I had three separate off-the-record conversations with three of Gaetz's Judiciary Committee colleagues. None of them said this but it’s an amalgam of what the three of them told me:

Gaetz is a classic low-achiever, punching above his weight and looking for a way-- any way-- to be relevant and to seem important. He tries modeling himself on Trump, but doesn't quite have what it takes. Even people in his own caucus say he's a joke behind his back. He sits on his cell surreptitiously rubbing his crotch while looking at online photos of AOC.

For years there have been rumors circulating about Gaetz being, basically, a polymorphous pervert— read to jump on anything that moved. The earliest one I looked into was the suspicious death of a college lover, a possible roommate, but it’s a rumor from a shaky source, Wayne Madsen (who reported both Mark Foley and Phil English were closet cases long before they were forced to resign— for being closet cases) that has never been proven.

Matt and Nestor-- and a reassuring tweet from Matt

More or less next came the lurid exposés about Nestor Galban, a teenage “roommate” exactly half his age who he has described as his helper and as his son, a House page… and a local college student. He never admitted he and Nestor were lovers and mostly kept him, since he was 12, just tucked away in his closet. The came the biggie— trafficking a minor. Keep in mind, Gaetz was the only member of Congress to vote against the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act, a bill allocating additional government resources to help combat human trafficking. He was on of 25 Members to vote against the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and one of just 20 Members to vote against the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act. In 2018, Gaetz and his wingman, Seminole County tax collector Joel Gaetz, were sex-trafficking minors with fake ID they proved the children. Greenberg was indicted and agreed to testify against Gaetz but the Justice Department didn’t charge him because it was felt that none of the witnesses would be seen as reliable for a jury. (The House Ethics Committee “investigation” is still on-going and was part of why Gaetz went after McCarthy, since he blamed McCarthy for not ending it.)

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published a column by Molly Ball, Matt Gaetz Tore the House GOP Apart. He Isn’t Sorry. “Many of his colleagues,” wrote Ball, “blame Gaetz for the paralysis and acrimony that have ensued. When Gaetz rose to speak in a closed-door party meeting on Thursday, McCarthy told him to ‘sit your ass down,’ and another Republican, Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois, cursed and lunged at Gaetz. Asked about the encounter afterward, McCarthy told reporters, ‘Listen, the whole country, I think, would scream at Matt Gaetz right now.’… Any majority party is bound to have divisions. But the upheavals that have racked the House GOP since January are less a reflection of any coherent faction than one man’s singular will. It was Gaetz who took it upon himself to block McCarthy from the speakership in January, joining with 19 others to deny him a majority until he agreed to crippling concessions. One of those was the ability for a single member to bring the motion to vacate, which Gaetz then deployed to remove McCarthy this month.”

She noted that “Gaetz doesn’t have a posse… Instead, Gaetz, a canny student of procedure with a knack for tapping the conservative zeitgeist, has taken it upon himself to assemble a shifting band of dissidents. And up to now, he’s been dramatically successful. To many Republicans, the hair-gelled Gaetz is personally responsible for not only sparking the current chaos but setting a destructive precedent that continues to hobble the body, as small minorities assemble to block any speaker from being elected. Colleagues have called him a ‘charlatan,’ a ‘vile person’ and a ‘Republican running with scissors.’ Former Speaker Paul Ryan said on CNBC, ‘What Matt Gaetz did is a disgrace.’ Rep. John Rutherford, one of 20 Republican holdouts who consistently didn’t support Jordan for speaker, explained his opposition: ‘I’m a no on allowing Matt Gaetz and the other seven to win by putting their individual in as speaker.’ While critics accuse Gaetz of attention-mongering, he insists he is about outcomes, not headlines. He says he has received a flood of approving feedback from conservatives across the country. ‘Chaos doesn’t scare me! American decline does,’ he wrote on social media late Thursday.”

In the speakerless weeks since he pulled the trigger, Gaetz has tried to be strategic, fading into the background at times and speaking little in the conference meetings he terms “struggle sessions.” Recognizing that he might hurt more than help his cause of electing a new, more conservative speaker, he has sought to avoid further inflaming his colleagues. On Tuesday he apologized for a fundraising email that called the Jordan holdouts “RINOs”— Republicans in Name Only— saying it was sent by his campaign without his approval. McCarthy on Wednesday suggested the email was responsible for losing Jordan votes.
As the House feuded last week, Gaetz jetted to Florida to co-headline an event with Trump, who shouted him out as “a big celebrity.” Asked on Fox News Radio whether Gaetz’s actions had hurt the party, Trump said it depended. “Maybe we’ll end up with one of the great speakers of all time, in which case Matt Gaetz did a tremendous favor,” the former president mused. On a recent episode of his “Firebrand” podcast, Gaetz touted “the America First vision for public policy— that’s what I represent, that’s what President Trump represents, and undeniably it is what Jim Jordan represents.”
On Friday, Gaetz failed in a last-ditch effort to boost Jordan. He and a few others who voted against McCarthy offered to be censured or kicked out of the party, if in exchange Jordan foes dropped their opposition to his speaker bid. Colleagues dismissed the offer as a stunt, and a majority of Republicans voted behind closed doors for Jordan to end his quest.
Whether McCarthy is replaced by a similar figure or a more conservative one, Gaetz wins either way, said Liam Donovan, a Republican lobbyist. If a conservative wins it would make Gaetz a hero to the right; otherwise it would further his argument that the D.C. “cartel” is conspiring to frustrate conservatives’ aims.
“It just sets up the grievance-based grift that powered him to this point,” Donovan said. “Matt Gaetz can’t do anything but win in this situation.”

Yesterday, Ben Jacobs looked at how increasingly panic-stricken Republicans are about their inability to stop the civil war Gaetz— if not started—fired the first shot in. “After two weeks of Republican chaos,” wrote Jacobs, “the House is frozen without a leader, imperiling both the prospect of keeping the U.S. government open with a funding deadline less than a month away, and supplying U.S. allies Israel and Ukraine with aid to shore up their defenses. Next week, Republicans will attempt yet again to elect a Speaker, as the party explores new, previously unimaginable levels of division, chaos, and bitterness. In particular, the fight over Jordan’s candidacy has opened new wounds in a party full of them. Many of the same rebels who held McCarthy hostage in January were also those who helped block Scalise in order to hold the position open for their favored candidate, Jordan. But they soon got a dose of their own medicine from Establishment Republicans outraged over the gambit. This led to a perfect storm for Jordan that united members concerned about his hard-right beliefs with those embittered that the hard right had blackmailed the conference by sinking anyone but Jordan.”

In 2019, Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer referred to Gaetz as Trump's favorite congressman and his most sycophantic fanboy. In 2016, Trump had won Gaetz’s district 67.5% to 28.2%, Trump's best performance anywhere in Florida. Two years later, Gaetz was reelected with virtually the same margin-- 67.1% to 32.9%. Mencimer wrote that the then-37 year old Gaetz "has earned a reputation for becoming one of the party’s highest-profile members by cheerleading for the president and emulating his public bullying and trolling. Gaetz seems to spend more time on Fox News than in congressional committee rooms, and when he does legislate, it’s sometimes for show. After Trump mocked the House Intelligence Committee chair, one of his chief antagonists, as ‘little pencil-­neck Adam Schiff,’ Gaetz went on Tucker Carlson’s show to announce a resolution to boot the California Democrat off the committee. Gaetz called it the Preventing Extreme Negli­gence with Classified Information Licenses Act, or PENCIL Act."

"Matt Gaetz is living proof that Veep was less parody and more prophecy," says Steve Schmidt, a veteran Republican political strategist and Trump critic. "To some degree, he's a character in the grandest reality show of all. He exists at the hinge of reality and alternative reality."
Gaetz is often described as Trump's protégé, someone who’s become a Fox News staple not just by sucking up to the president but by trying to out-Trump Trump with insults hurled at Democrats and anyone else with the temerity to challenge the president. But Gaetz hasn't simply been copying the president; he was cultivating a Trumplike persona long before anyone considered the possibility of a President Trump. And the two men share more than just a love of playground taunts. Gaetz's political ascent was also fueled by a rich father who paved his way, and a series of unorthodox financial maneuvers.
The meanest member of Congress hails from a town called Niceville, a sleepy enclave of about 15,000 nestled on Choctawhatchee Bay, just off the Gulf of Mexico. When Gaetz was growing up, it was 90 percent white, solidly middle class and best known for hosting the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival-- in honor of the plentiful local fish, not the hairdo. The Gaetzes owned a second home in the nearby town of Seaside, where The Truman Show was filmed. Gaetz, who devoted his career to getting on television, spent much of his childhood in a house made famous by a character trying to get off TV.
The Gaetzes were conservative and religious, as was the surrounding community. (Two abortion doctors were murdered in the area during Gaetz's childhood.) Matt's mom suffered life-threatening complications while pregnant with his younger sister but opted not to have an abortion and was partially paralyzed as a result. Matt Gaetz has said her decision influenced his anti-abortion positions.
But if anyone is responsible for Gaetz's rise to political fame, it's his dad, whose deep pockets and even deeper connections in Florida politics are one reason Matt is known in his district as Baby Gaetz. "Matt would be an assistant manager at Walmart if it weren't for his father," says Steven Specht, a Democrat who ran against Gaetz for Congress in 2016.

2 commentaires

22 oct. 2023

And the yan: after 55 years of doing absolutely nothing about any sort of nazi evil, people like everyone mentioned by name in this column become not only relevant but electable.

and when people like this get elected, this is what you get. a pre-nazi shithole about to evolve into a reich in which people like this become your fucking leaders.

what if you had elected a party that would stand up to nazi evil since 1966? what if you had elected a party that would have passed reforms benefitting everyone instead of only benefitting the rich?

what if you'd have voted like an intelligent and thoughtful voter instead of one who is lazy and dumber than shit?

22 oct. 2023
En réponse à

what if...? why, it might well have been like 1932-1966 again. or still.

What the FUCK happened to all the democrap voters anyway?

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