So They Call Them "Conservatives"
What does this title even mean: GOP leaders face down conservative threats to paralyze House again. The GOP leaders are Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Majority Leader Steve Scalise. McCarthy’s 3 top allies are Patrick McHenry (NC), Garret Graves (LA) and French Hill (AR). I remember when Patrick McHenry, a closet case and murderer, was first elected, he pledged he would be so far right that no one would ever be too his right. Since then, more extremist members have been elected but no one could possibly ever accuse McHenry of not being conservative— nor Scalise, Graves or Hill. They are very, very, very right wing by any standard. McCarthy’s record is also extremely conservative although some claim he just follows the money and doesn’t believe in anything at all. That may be the case, but his log, long record is still his record and reflects a conservatism further right than any of the 5 Republican Speakers since anyone reading this was born— Joseph Martin (1947-1949 and 1953-1955), Newt Gingrich (1995-1999), Denny Hastert (1999-2003), John Boehner (2011-2015) and Paul Ryan (2015-2019).
So what does that title in The Hill, a publication run by right-wingers, supposed to mean? The conservatives they refer to are right-wing members of Congress Andy Biggs (AZ), Matt Gaetz (FL), Ralph Norman (SC), Ken Buck (CO), Matt Rosendale (MT), Tim Burchett (TN) and Bob Good (VA) and it would be reasonable to throw Scott Perry (PA), Lauren Boebert (CO) and Chip Roy (TX) into that mix. Are they more conservative than McCarthy, Scalise, McHenry, Graves, Hill or other top McCarthy allies like Jim Jordan (OH) and Marjorie Traitor Greene? Nope.
But neither The Hill nor any other DC trade papers are willing to openly refer to them as either fascists, Nazis, neo-fascists or even nihilists, terms that more accurately describe them than contrasting them to Team McCarthy by insinuating that they are conservative and his somehow crew aren’t or are even less conservative.
Or are the political media outlets like The Hill trying to redefine “conservative” to mean pawns of the Trump-Putin axis or supporters of political violence or, how about overtly anti-democracy? Technically, none of that works because Team McCarthy travels those same roads. Or maybe they want to associate the word with... Democrat-lite?
Mike Willis and Michael Schnell are making the point that the fascist or nihilists are, once again, giving the conservatives trouble as the House reassembles today and that McCarthy and Scalise are “struggling to quell the [fascist] angst that’s threatening to derail their legislative agenda heading into the summer’s major policy fights with President Biden.” The 11 fascists and nihilists shut down the floor 2 weeks ago, forcing McCarthy “to host a string of closed-door meetings last week with hard-liners, who want concrete assurances he’ll demand deeper spending cuts in the coming fight over government funding [but] there was little sign of progress by week’s end, when the hard-liners left Washington grumbling about McCarthy’s strategy for 2024 spending and warning that they’re ready to shut down the floor once again if the Speaker doesn’t meet their ill-defined demands.
Arizona neo-fascist Andy Biggs said “I haven’t been overly pleased or participatory… but I’ll just say that I don’t think we’re moving in the right direction as far as solving this massive growth in national debt. My biggest concern is, what’s the coalition that the Speaker has built? We want to know who his coalition partners are. Is it the Democrats, or is it going to be the conservative voices and the other Republicans in the conference?”
Asked whether the [fascists and nihilists] would resort to their successful strategy of blocking floor action, Biggs didn’t pause.
“Oh, I think it’s always on the table,” he said. “I’m an ‘all tools’ guy.”
“That is a distinct possibility,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) echoed when asked whether the floor could shut down this week.
Those threats highlight the dilemma facing McCarthy and GOP leaders as they attempt the delicate balancing act of cutting deals with Biden and the Democrats— for the sake of enacting must-pass bills like raising the debt ceiling and funding the government— without infuriating the [fascist] firebrands who view deficits as a greater threat than a default or a shutdown.
“I’m not worried about a shutdown,” Rep. Ralph Norman (SC) said. “The country’s going to be permanently shut down if we don’t get our spending under control. And I’m tired of hearing, ‘We’ll do it tomorrow.’”
…McCarthy has tapped a familiar top deputy, Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), to help in the effort to mitigate the conservatives’ concerns, according to those familiar with the talks. Graves took a lead in the negotiations with the White House over the debt ceiling bill, and he appears to be doing the same in the current talks.
“The Speaker introduces Garret and then five minutes later walks out,” said Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), another hard-liner who helped gum up the floor earlier in the month.
After days of talks last week, however, some [fascists] said there were no breakthroughs to report.
“Haven’t had anything new since Monday,” Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) said as he was leaving Washington late last week. “I guess we’ll see what next week brings to us.”
Asked what requests he’s made of leadership, Rosendale was vague.
“I never asked for anything but good government,” he told a reporter. “That’s what you need to put in there.”
But if there’s no progress by the time the House is set to vote on another rule— which could happen as soon as Wednesday— Gaetz last week suggested conservatives might block floor activity once again.
“There’ll be more votes next week and more rules, and if there’s not a renegotiated power-sharing agreement, then perhaps we’ll be back here next week,” he told reporters last Monday.
…“It’s not going well, and we don’t have future meetings scheduled,” Gaetz said Thursday.
The talks with McCarthy were going poorly, he said, “because they’re all about spending at this stage of the game”— an issue that has been center stage in the leadership-conservative squabble.
The GOP hardliners for months have pushed to cut fiscal 2024 spending down to 2022 levels, which would lead to a reduction of about $130 billion from current spending. But the debt limit deal struck by Biden and McCarthy set 2024 spending well above that figure— essentially frozen at 2023 levels with a 1 percent increase set for 2025— in a move that infuriated conservatives.
In an apparent attempt to allay that anger, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)— the chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee— said her panel would mark up bills below the cap, at 2022 levels. But even that show of good faith was not enough to earn the trust of the GOP hard-liners, who accused leadership of utilizing budgetary “gimmicks,” known as rescissions, to make the cuts appear larger than they are.
“The American people aren’t stupid,” Good said. “The American people need us to cut spending.”