The New York Times reports that certain store-brand Freedom Caucus loons are honking like angry geese about the debt ceiling deal and are threatening to scuttle it — and McCarthy. (Gift link.) Here’s a representative sample:
“Absolutely and completely unacceptable,” said Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Freedom Caucus, in describing the legislation. “Trillions and trillions of dollars in debt for crumbs. For a pittance.”
But so far, McCarthy still has name-brand Freedom Caucus loons like Jordan and Greene onboard. WaPo notes that it doesn’t look like any more than two House Rules Committee Repubs will defect, meaning the bill will likely go before the full House: (Gift link)
Two of the committee’s nine GOP members — Reps. Ralph Norman (S.C.) and Chip Roy (Tex.) — belong to the Freedom Caucus and have come out against the deal.
“The Republican conference has been torn asunder,” Roy said at a Freedom Caucus news conference Tuesday, where members of the hard-right caucus took turns bashing the deal and lamenting that McCarthy, in reaching a deal with Biden, had broken the GOP’s unified front…
But so far, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a libertarian-minded conservative who sometimes sides with the Freedom Caucus, seems to support the deal. His vote would give Republicans enough support to adopt the rule, since the four Democrats on the committee aren’t expected to offer their support on this procedural step.
You’d expect more reflexive acting out from the Oppositional Defiant Disordered Party. DeSantis blasted the bill almost as vociferously as if the legislation were a drag queen when asked, but it’s not a topic he’s dwelling upon since there are actual drag queens to bash. And at least one GOP critic went there, noting that DeSantis voted to increase the debt ceiling when he was a congressman.
Trump opened his big yap about the issue early and recklessly advocated for default, but that was before McCarthy endorsed a deal. Since then, Trump has been uncharacteristically mum on the issue. Josh Marshall has a theory on why there’s not more sturm und drang:
It goes without saying that Trump couldn’t give a crap about any of this. Trump’s guiding star is always his own personal benefit. But some issues still have more traction than others. Whether that’s because he actually has some residual concern for them or just recognizes they are important to his political brand is irrelevant for these purposes. Fiscal policy, debt and deficits matter to him least of anything. So there’s no need for Trump to get involved here. If it looked like it were sinking on the right he’d definitely jump in to get a piece of it. But other than that he simply may not care. The risks of intervening are also real even though there’s not a lot of upside…
One point is staring us in the face. This Republican Party cares a lot less about fiscal policy than even the old GOP. The post-1970s GOP was always opportunistic and hypocritical about spending and debt. These days, though, they barely care about it enough to manage the hypocrisy. Consider DeSantis: that whole terrain of politics is totally absent from his presidential pitch. To the extent the current GOP wants to re-form the federal government the energy is entirely on purging it of non-conservatives, Deep Staters and the like. Authoritarian politics, anti-BLM and gender culture war politics, the border. Those are the Republican issues. A necessary though not sufficient explanation of how McCarthy seems able to sell this agreement is that basically no one in the GOP actually cares about the thing they were demanding.
Sounds about right to me. It’s economic terrorism desultorily cosplayed as fiscal restraint, but so far, they can’t even bother straightening their wigs or getting the details of the historic uniforms and weaponry right. They don’t really give a shit.