On Monday, writing for The Bulwark, conservative commentator Charlie Sykes slammed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his powerlessness in the face of extremist demands from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for support to elect him as speaker if Republicans win control of the House next year.
Sykes described McCarthy’s deference to the controversial congresswoman as “an example of the depth of self-humiliation required to be a ‘leader’ in the party these days.”
"He calculates that bending the knee to Greene is simply the price he has to pay to wield the gavel," wrote Sykes. "He is confident that Republicans will win back the House next year, putting him within tantalizing reach of the object of his desire. If sucking up to Gaetz/Greene/Boebert/Gosar & Co. is the price he has to pay for power… he’s more than willing."
Among Greene's demands include expelling Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) from the House Republican Conference — even though Kinzinger, at least, will not be in the next Congress at all — and removing the Homeland Security Committee leadership from Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and strip Greene herself of committee assignments.
The problem for McCarthy, noted Sykes, is that this kind of deal-cutting is likely to leave him more impotent than ever.
"One suspects that McCarthy is not much given to introspection, so it’s not likely he’s asked the question: After he comes to his throne, what then?" wrote Sykes. "What will happen to a speaker who rose to power by shrinking himself? What sort of power will be wielded by a man who obtained it through displays of weakness?"
"Trump holds the GOP leadership hostage; and that leadership is held hostage by its most junior members, who in turn, are creatures of a political culture that is increasingly inflamed," concluded Sykes. "In the GOP, it’s humiliation all the way down."
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