Good Friday Morning! Except for the NFL, which is considering fining Seahawks player Jamal Adams for going off on a concussion protocol doctor on the sidelines after they examined him and prevented him from returning to the game. Adams clearly suffered a concussion, and you could see it live. The anger and blow-up he did afterward are classic concussion symptoms. I get that the NFL does not like Adams’ actions, but fining someone displaying the exact symptoms you’re pulling him from a game for is wild.
This week, I will dive into the obvious story of the week: the ouster of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker — links to follow.
- After campaigning against it, Joe Biden has authorized 20 miles of Trump-era border wall to get built. Most notable here is that Biden is waiving “26 federal laws, including requirements around environmental protection, safe drinking water, clean air and endangered species.” The move comes as Democratic governors and mayors are upping the pressure on the White House to do something about the growing issue. Earlier this year, 77 Democrats sent a letter to the White House demanding action on the border. Democratic stronghold cities like New York, Chicago, LA, and more are dealing with massive pressure on their welfare programs for the poor and homeless. Democratic cities that announced themselves as sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants are seen by those migrants as safe havens to go to, which is proving to be an insurmountable problem. For decades, Republicans correctly blistered Democrats as not caring about the border because the issue wasn’t on their front door – as long as Texas dealt with it, no one cared. That’s shifted, and Democrats are being forced to act. Things are getting so dire Biden is ignoring his climate-wing left to act. That’s notable.
- Mortgage rates hit 7.5% this week, a multi-decade high. According to the Fed: “The median American household needed 44% of its income to cover annual payments on a median-priced home as of July, according to the Atlanta Fed. That was the highest level ever recorded in data going back to 2006.” A few weeks ago, I wrote that we seemed destined for 8% mortgage rates, with US 10-year Treasuries surging. With interests moving up like this, it’s putting government debt front and center. The WSJ is warning if this continues, the “soft landing” hypothesis is in danger. What’s more concerning about this moment is that no one knows why treasuries are surging like they are now. There are plenty of theories, but not one agreed-upon explanation. The spike in interest rates due to treasuries likely takes any more interest rate hikes off the table – the Fed is getting more tightening without acting. But it also means we have higher uncertainty, and people fear what we don’t know.
Where you can find me this week
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Newsom vs. DeSantis Provides Large Contrasting Visions – Conservative Institute
Republican Knucklehead Caucus Dooms Conservatism, Again – Conservative Institute
The National Debt and Deficits Matter Again – Conservative Institute
House GOP Disaster and What To Do Next
For my first column of the week, I wrote about how much I disagreed with Rep. Matt Gaetz’s move to nuke McCarthy. I wouldn’t even consider myself a McCarthy fan, but taking out a Speaker for the sole purpose of burnishing your personal street cred to run for Florida Governor in 2026 is just an utter disaster.
I will get into the specific House rules and how to change future situations like this later. But first, I wanted to touch on how off-base Gaetz is with this move. I’m not a Mark Levin fan, but he and I are in lock-step agreement on this Gaetz-McCarthy spat that has derailed the GOP House. Levin said on X/Twitter:
Let’s cut to the chase
Gaetz is a POS demagogue who repeatedly lied during the House floor debate yesterday, and then, of course, simultaneously was fundraising and collecting email lists on behalf of the people. He insisted that the House failed to bring up 12 separate appropriations bills. The fact is they could not get them out of committee because Democrats wanted to spend a great deal more, which would have blown up the budget further, and conservatives opposed the bills. It had nothing to do with a refusal by McCarthy to oppose regular order. McCarthy refused to go along with a [Continuing Resolution] that essentially adopted the Senate omnibus spending agreed to, yet again, by McConnell and Schumer. Yet, Gaetz kept insisting otherwise. Gaetz said he’s sick and tired of deficit spending and pointed to the $33 trillion debt. I know of few conservatives who disagree. But what has he done about it?
He didn’t go to the House floor, certainly not on a regular and sustained basis, and hammer away on the outrageous, massive spending for COVID funds, which were used for every imaginable purpose other than COVID and drove the debt through the roof. Gaetz demanded that the former Speaker intervene in his ethics investigation and kill it, and despite text messages to the contrary, denied it. During his ramblings yesterday, Gaetz blamed House Republicans, who passed the most aggressive bill to secure the border from the ongoing invasion orchestrated by Biden and the Democrats, for not securing the border. And the worst, to me, is Gaetz working with the Marxists in the Democrat Party, who are literally destroying our country politically, culturally, and every other way, then denying it, while accusing the former Speaker of being the Democrats’ Speaker, trashing Jim Jordan and Jamie Comer’s investigations, accusing Chip Roy of being a RINO, and not uttering one word against Hakeem Jeffries, AOC, or the rest of the reprobates.
At the same time, he was frantically fundraising off his anarchy, on behalf of the people and the republic, of course, positioning himself as the David taking on Goliath. Gaetz and the others wound up killing the greatest effort to slash domestic spending in our lifetimes (30%), worked out with the Senate conservatives who wanted to use the House bill as leverage against McConnell, and now the Democrats control it all. This had nothing to do with saving the country, regular order, the debt, etc. This was an unprincipled, personal, political attack led by a demagogue who repeatedly lies to conservatives and the public generally, and who is the favorite Republican of the Democrat Party and their media.
According to Gaetz’s perverse logic, a big thank-you is owed to Hakeem Jeffries and the other Democrat Party Marxists should Jim Jordan, or another conservative, be elected the new Speaker.
Gaetz is busy on social media spinning and patting himself on the back. In fact, as I predicted on radio last night, if a conservative like Jim Jordan is elected Speaker, he and the other 7 and their media lapdogs will claim they deserve full credit. Actually, if you follow that logic, since Hakeem Jeffries, the Squad, and the other Democrat Party Marxists and know-nothings voted to vacate the chair, I guess they deserve the most credit for a conservative speaker. Jeffries delivered the entire Democrat Party caucus. Yet, just yesterday, Gaetz was attacking Jordan, too. He was attacking Chip Roy. Before that, he was attacking Byron Donalds. And the vast majority of the Freedom Caucus rejected Gaetz, Gun-control Nancy Mace, Ken “Liz Cheney” Buck, and the other reprobates as well. If Jim Jordan or another conservative is elected Speaker, it’ll be due to 210 or more Republicans electing one of them, because without the votes of the GOP caucus, there is no Republican speaker.
I quote him in full because he’s 100% correct. When Gaetz launched his diatribes against McCarthy and the rest of the Republican Party, he did so from the Democratic side of the aisle. There are multiple pictures of Gaetz blabbering in the House while the Squad and every other far-left loon on the Democratic side of the House is grinning along, having a good time. It’s bizarre to watch so-called conservatives cheer this on.
Enough of that. I want to talk about the two problems I see at the core of the House GOP.
The first is the incapacity to accept anything less than perfect victories. I partially blame this on the mindset of the House Freedom Caucus and the Tea Party years. What Gaetz did in blocking any CRs with any conservative wins in them isn’t a new thing. It’s been a feature of Republican House politics since the Clinton administration. John Boehner struggled with it heavily during negotiations with Obama.
As I said in the column, I place part of the blame for this on the fact that from 1931 – 1994, with short exceptions, Republicans were out of power in the House. Democrats ruled that institution with an iron fist, and we got some of the more powerful House Speakers in modern history, with Ray Bradford and Tip O’Neill. Before that, Republicans controlled the House during the 1920s and the Hoover/Coolidge years.
Americans (and Democrats) blamed Republicans for the policies leading to the Great Depression. FDR’s coalition ruled US politics throughout most of the 20th Century. It wasn’t until Nixon and Reagan that Republicans started having breakthroughs on the Congressional side, primarily in the Senate. And Republicans didn’t take over the House until 1994, under Newt Gingrich. By the time we got to the 90s, all institutional knowledge of how to run the House had disappeared from the Republican experience.
Ironically, within three years of having that gavel, Newt was also threatened with a motion to vacate. There were reasons to do that, but Newt’s replacements were never any better. And the next strongest Republican Speaker would be Boehner, who the hard right hated.
Even with that, you’d think that Republicans could rely on their experience running state legislatures to help navigate the House. That hasn’t been the case, even in the slightest. Once Republicans enter the House, they lose all their common sense.
More specifically, it’s as if any capacity to accept or build on small victories in the House is gone. In conservative legal scholarship, building on small wins is expected. On the legislative side, if you aren’t ideologically pure with legislation, it gets shot down on the right. It’s bizarre. Only the left builds off these small victories.
That brings me to the motion to vacate rule, that ended McCarthy’s speakership. I don’t like the “one person can trigger this clause” rule. It’s not new. We get it from the foundation of all House rules, Thomas Jefferson’s 1837 manual on the subject. The rule is simple, “A Speaker may be removed at the will of the House.”
That changed in 2019 when Democrats under Pelosi’s leadership changed the motion to vacate rule to this: “It can only be brought up for a vote over the objection of leadership if offered at the direction of a party caucus or conference instead of just a single member.”
Pelosi and her leadership team faced threats from their far-left flank and used this to nip any single-member challenges in the bud. When McCarthy convinced the GOP caucus to vote him in as Speaker, one of the specific concessions Gaetz wanted was the single-member rule back. Gaetz couldn’t have done this to Pelosi.
In truth, I’m torn on this rule. We live in an era of closely divided government, so these minor factions can effectively grind the House to a halt. My libertarian-leaning friends find this to be a good thing, but I do not. The purpose of the House is to reflect a more democratic and populist process compared to the Senate. Blocking the House up prevents it from acting as a conduit for the nation’s political energies.
Pelosi’s insight in preventing small, extreme factions from nuking House leadership was important. For her, she was trying to block the progressive caucus and the Squad from challenging her. On the Republican side, you have to watch out for people like Gaetz and the House Freedom Caucus.
The House certainly witnessed chaos in the past. People are always looking out for their own interests above that of the country. But it’s also fair to say our politicians have significantly less character than in previous eras. Modern politicians use social media, cable television, and more to boost their own platforms, not caring about the legislative functions. And with people like Gaetz more interested in their follower count and fundraising numbers, attacking House Leadership to attack House Leadership is an end unto itself, which wasn’t always the case in past eras.
That said, I’d support re-raising the bar of the motion to vacate. Derailing the entire Republican caucus, regardless of whoever the Speaker happens to be, is a recipe for disaster. Notably, Gaetz never had a plan for what came next. He voted for chaos to boost himself.
There are so many vital tasks the House needs to undertake, from avoiding the government shutdown to investigating Biden and more. And all of it has been sidelined by one man’s pettiness and self-serving attitude. It’s gross, and I hate it.
All that said, I remain a staunch supporter of boosting the size of the House. During the Constitutional Convention, the original idea was to cap House district sizes between 30-40,000. Even if we increased that to 100,000, it would boost the size of the House to around 3,300 members. Removing the one-man vacate rule and expanding the size of the House would significantly dilute the power of one Matt Gaetz type – they’d have to learn to coalition build, which is difficult for self-absorbed influencer wannabes.
The House is becoming less democratic, and that’s a bad thing. Strengthening parties’ power while boosting the House’s size would help in multiple ways.
Links of the week
Leaked U.S. strategy on Ukraine sees corruption as the real threat: A report obtained by POLITICO details specific plans to reform Ukrainian institutions and warns Western support may hinge on cutting corruption. – Politico
The Hidden Calculation Behind the Yom Kippur War: It’s long been the greatest question about the war: why Israel waited to be attacked. But what if it was convinced to wait by its closest ally, the United States? – Mosaic Magazine
X/Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
USB Desk Fan Perfectly Cools USB Port Used To Power It – The Hard Drive
Travis Kelce Just Hoping To Get Song About Him Out Of This – Waterford Whispers News
Thanks for reading!