Ordinarily, I would be furious at having to actually care about anything GOP Reps Kevin McCarthy and Liz Cheney say, or do, or, uh, the fact that they exist. A helpful rule of thumb when it comes to these two — and really, anyone within the Republican party’s leadership caste — is that their fundamental ethos is predicated on “making themselves and their friends rich” and “making life worse for everyone else in the process.” That’s it. The rest is just details. But sometimes – very, very rarely — I’m reminded that these two people exist and, rather than vomiting hard enough to crack my computer screen…I laugh.
Here, for instance, is what I’m laughing about today: the fact that two of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in office today absolutely hate each other. And they hate each other because of Donald Trump, a bloated pancreas of a man whose significance in the world decreases in direct proportion to the number of Republicans who enthusiastically join his human centipede of delusion. Even better: McCarthy and Cheney hate each other so much, it’s threatening to drag the rest of the GOP down into the slop with them.
“I think she’s got real problems,” McCarthy blabbed to Fox News host and marshmallow failure Steve Doocy during a hot mic moment ahead of an on-air interview Tuesday morning. “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.” He went on to agree with a bunch of his top lieutenants and allies that Cheney is probably going to be booted from the GOP leadership, telling Doocy that “someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.” (McCarthy then said a watered-down version of this in the interview.)
At issue here is Cheney’s eagerness to move the party past Donald Trump, whom she voted to impeach (McCarthy did not), presumably so Republicans can continue enacting the same boondoggle policies and engendering the same nativist bigotry Trump did, but without quite so much attention-grabbing scandal. McCarthy, meanwhile, has looked around at the political landscape and decided that lip service to the halcyon days of pre-Trump Republican bullshittery notwithstanding, he’d still rather be in the former president’s relatively good graces for the time being. Or at least until he knows whether Trump plans to run in 2024 or not.
Does the minority party in Congress need this extremely petty feud between its top two lieutenants right now? No it sure doesn’t! And yet, that seems to be exactly what McCarthy and Cheney are itching for. To which I say: great! This is all part of the same fundamental schism that led to Mitt Romney — the former standard-bearer for the GOP and lifelong Republican son of a lifelong conservative icon — to get booed by thousands of his own constituents this weekend at the Utah Republican Convention.
Democrats, in a rare moment of political acumen, have already seized upon the chaos this leadership fight — and the broader Trumpian rift — within the GOP has created. In a blog post on her website, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi(s staff) capitalized on the feud, writing that “House GOP Leaders are looking to push Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as House Republican Conference Chair – their most senior woman in GOP leadership – for a litany of very Republican reasons: she won’t lie, she isn’t humble enough, she’s like a girlfriend rooting for the wrong team, and more.” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki was slightly more wry in her assessment that “the Republican Party seems to be spending a lot of blood, sweat, and tears trying to figure out where they stand and what they stand for.”
So, good. Let McCarthy and Cheney fight. Let them pull the GOP down around them. Let the Democrats egg them on and dance on the rubble of what was once the Republican Party. If I absolutely have to pay attention to anything the GOP leadership is doing, at least let it be them eating their own young for no other reason than to debate the merits of kissing a retired billionaire’s ass. This is what conservatives deserve. They can have it.