Matt Rosendale is an extreme right wing Montana politician who has served in or run for almost every office in the state. A neo-fascist member of the Freedom Caucus and 100% Trump ally, he’s one of the hardline Never-McCarthy extremists. Yesterday he penned an OpEd for the Billings Gazette about why he’s determined to prevent McCarthy from becoming Speaker. He began with all the regular right-wing claptrap: stoking xenophobia and fear and bailing about DC being broken and Nancy Pelosi being a dictator.
“I know what an effective, functioning legislative body looks like,” he wrote. “This isn’t it. I’ve worked with a few of my colleagues to outline reforms to the House rules that will restore regular order and allow every member the ability to participate in the legislative process. We have proposed rules requiring legislation to be available for five full days before a vote, banning earmarks so votes can’t be bought, the ability to propose an amendment to legislation on the floor, and streamlined single-issue legislation to eliminate thousand-page bills. These ideas aren’t new— many of these rules were in effect before Nancy Pelosi was elected speaker. The proposed rule changes would restore basic elements to create a properly functioning legislature and guarantee that all Americans are represented.” His own party conference just overwhelmingly turned down his demand that earmarks be eliminated. That isn’t stopping him.
Several months before the House Conference Leadership Elections, I joined a group of members to propose these rule changes to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. He made it clear that he is unwilling to meaningfully change the rules and challenge the status quo in Washington. Current Republican leadership falls in with the majority of politicians who campaign on change but support the current system that provides them with undeserved power and privilege.
We need a leader who has the courage to fight and utilize every option to counter the destructive policies of the radical left. While Kevin McCarthy served as minority leader, I urged him to leverage our “must-pass” bills, like the federal and defense budgets, to prevent and change bad policies.
At the very least, we could have forced Democrats to remove unrelated provisions from legislation— for example, the radical “climate justice” language in the infrastructure spending bill or vaccination mandates in the defense budget. Instead, he squandered every opportunity to protect Americans from woke policies and advance conservative values.
If Kevin McCarthy couldn’t lead in the minority, he doesn’t have the ability to serve as speaker of the House. We need a speaker who is strong enough to get things done with a Democrat-controlled White House and can unite the Republican party. You didn’t elect me to be a rubber stamp. We cannot continue to do the same thing with the same people and expect a different outcome. My promise is to always fight for Montanans while in Washington.
Writing about the McCarthy drama for Punchbowl News yesterday, Jake Sherman reported that Steve Scalise, purportedly a big McCarthy ally, doesn’t want to take himself out of the running for Speaker… just in case McCarthy fails to ever get to 218. Scalise, who is even further right than McCarthy— and more friendly with the Freedom Caucus fascists like Rosendale— would agree with them on their motion to vacate rule change (the mechanism by which any member can seek removal of the speaker, which has been a red line in the sand for McCarthy).
He told Sherman that McCarthy has been having a lot of discussions with the neo-fascist wing “about the rules, two different meetings on rules, you know, and then there’s still a continued, ongoing dialogue with all the members.” CNN’s Manu Raju tweeted that Scalise told him that he would ‘not… get into speculation’ about whether he could emerge as a candidate if McCarthy couldn’t get 218 votes. Scalise: “Obviously our focus is on getting it resolved by January 3. And there’s a lot of conversations that everybody has been having.”
Sherman: “We don’t have to explain the impact of Scalise not shutting down conversation of himself being a fallback option if McCarthy fails.”
Sherman asked Scalise whether he believed the motion to vacate should be reinstated and Scalise said he thinks “that’s part of the conversation… You know, look, we had a lot of changes that we made to the rules to help make sure we can govern, while also making sure that members that wanted a voice were able to feel that they had a voice. So there was a lot of give and take in the rules two weeks ago, last week, and that’s, again, all part of an ongoing negotiation.”
In other words, wrote Sherman “So yes, Scalise says he’s for McCarthy. But Scalise declined to say whether he supports him on the motion to vacate– one of the critical decisions facing McCarthy– and whether the California Republican is ‘inevitable’ as speaker, as McCarthy is presenting himself to be.”
One Republican staffer who I used to have a strong personal relationship with told me that if it looks like McCarthy’s bid is falling apart, Gym Jordan would probably have as good a shot at the job as Scalise.