Rep. Matt Gaetz is now winning praise from The New York Times’ Michelle Cottle — a pretty clear sign his antics are serving the lefties he claims to oppose.
At issue, mainly: the Florida Republican’s constant threats to force a vote of confidence in Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which would achieve exactly nothing, with a small but real risk that it would wind up handing control of the House to the Democrats.
And a guarantee that it would gum up the House works when Congress needs to pass a resolution to avoid a federal shutdown.
McCarthy, who’s done plenty for conservative causes, is pushing a continuing resolution, or CR, that would keep the government running to Oct. 31 while trimming most non-defense discretionary spending by 8% and restoring some Trump-era border controls.
Gaetz isn’t the only hard-liner to say that’s not enough, but he is the most obnoxious — and the one rushing to the cameras every chance he gets.
Talking, but not acting: McCarthy has already dared Gaetz to file the “motion to vacate” he keeps talking about.
Meanwhile, the activist arm of the solidly conservative Heritage Foundation backs McCarthy’s CR, a joint product of the House GOP’s Main Street and Freedom caucuses.
No, it doesn’t go as far as it should: Washington desperately needs to get its books into better shape.
But blowing up the House Republican majority is a step in the wrong direction, especially when the Senate and the White House are in Democratic hands.
Gaetz’s game here looks neither practical nor principled, but just a play for social-media hits and self-aggrandizement. (He vehemently denies reports he’s planning to run for governor in Florida.)
A shutdown would neatly take the spotlight off President Joe Biden’s disasters, from the open border and growing illegal-migrant crisis to still-high inflation and soaring gas prices, and from the growing evidence of his corruption uncovered by other House Republicans who’re actually doing their jobs.
We expect that most of the rebels refusing to vote for the CR will settle down and put party and principle first: Republicans’ best bet here is to put the ball in the Senate’s court and let Democrats decide if they want a government shutdown.
But for now, Democrats are chortling, with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (B’klyn) talking up the Republican “civil war.”
Reality has to kick in at some point: Gaetzian narcissistic nihilism only guarantees a loss for the team, and the nation.