Yesterday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (F-FL) said that a bright line Kevin McCarthy couldn’t go past without triggering a “motion to vacate” would be having a majority of the GOP caucus vote against his debt ceiling/budget deal with Joe Biden. This gives away the game. They might as well say that they’ll end McCarthy’s speakership the second he announces he’s identifying as non-binary. The couple dozen Freedom Caucus diehards are now setting the bar comically high because it’s suddenly clear the cudgel they’re allegedly holding over McCarthy has been vastly overstated.
Holding a press conference, saying the deal is super bad — who cares? If anything, that helps McCarthy so long as it doesn’t brand the bill as a conservative betrayal in a way that would start pulling large numbers of backbench members into opposition. That’s clearly not happening. These things catch fire or spin out of control when members are hearing about it in their districts, something usually driven by talk radio, Twitter memes or Fox. But that’s not happening in this case, probably to a great degree because fiscal politics isn’t a major driver in the GOP today. What does drive things is sticking it to Joe Biden, owning the libs, stomping people when they’re at your feet. And it’s still not really clear to me why that hasn’t had more traction — because Republicans got basically none of what they were demanding. But here we are.
A binding alliance with two critical members of Team Crazy — Greene and Jordan — clearly plays some significant role in this. The rest are barking but they’re not making any noise. Even Meatball Ron got into the action yesterday, missing the ball and coming out against the deal in the hopes of getting some traction against Trump. But it seems like a miss, something that might have had more traction if it didn’t come when his campaign was already in free fall.
These things can change of course. Sometimes things pass more or less easily and then the mood shifts and opposition congeals after the vote. But I’m skeptical that happens in this case.