a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.
A brief diversion for ‘current events’
So, I’m stepping aside from the ongoing “[UMC] getting unstuck” series this week. This week’s missive does illustrate some of what we’ve been considering; however, I won’t be making those connections explicit. You can consider on your own how this material reflects some of the difficulties we’ve been addressing in the series.
The GOP‘s antics in the House last week [1/3 to 1/6] form illustrations that are just too plain to ignore; so we’ll take a quick peek.
In addition to the 29 installments in our series (cf., beginning here; reset here & here; and last week), I invite you to check-out some helpful background that may well explain a significant part of how we [USA] came to a place in which things like I’ll highlight can even occur. The people at “On the Media” have produced a five-part podcast entitled “The Divided Dial.” It’s an interesting look at how talk radio has helped to shape our social/political climate. (listen here)
MAGA-wingnut faction now weaponized
I wanted a first-hand experience of the primary-source, so I watched C-Span wall-to-wall last week as it covered the shambolic mess involved in the GOP‘s election of a Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 118th Congress.
During last week’s debate regarding the GOP-proposed House “rules package” (watch debate here) the Democrats’ repetition of their concern over a “3-page addendum” to the package may have been a sign that they didn’t fully understand what the MAGA wingnuts were doing with their performative machinations during the fifteen ballots to elect a Speaker.
Beyond leverage to get the ‘one-member can move to vacate the Speaker’s chair’ provision into the rules package, the fifteen ballots were really all about the MAGA wingnut strategy:
- The first thirteen ballots were about leverage to get the provision in the rules to easily remove the Speaker; but, chiefly, to prove that Kevin McCarthy did not have the votes to become Speaker.
- The fourteenth ballot (MAGA wingnuts intentionally leaving McCarthy one vote short after he had declared earlier on the evening news that he thought he had the votes) was to prove the power of the wingnut faction, i.e., that at anytime they could rescind their six “present” votes (of the fifteenth ballot) and unseat McCarthy (he has only a 4-vote majority to spare).
- After the 14th failed ballot, McCarthy’s team motioned and called a vote to adjourn until Monday. This indicated that McCarthy had no idea that the wingnuts were planning to relent on the 15th vote — which they did. The MAGA wingnuts intended the 14th and 15th ballots to prove that they totally own and control McCarthy and the 118th Congress.
Now, any time that they don’t like what’s going on, just one MAGA wingnut can move to vacate the chair, and with their six “present” votes changed to “aye” votes (along with the 212 Hakeem Jeffries supporters) on the motion to vacate, McCarthy is very efficiently removed as Speaker and the work of the House grinds to a halt.
GOP “talking points” are a distorted mess
After electing a Speaker and passing the rules package, the first matter the 118th Congress addressed was the repeal of additional IRS funding that was recently appropriated. So, their top priority was the so-called “Small Business and Family Taxpayer Protection Act” (background story here).
—Note that the decades-long strategy of the GOP has been to cut the funding of agencies they don’t like (e.g., education), causing them to wither on the vine. In a time when their technology is seriously outdated and the complexity of the tax code and their responsibilities have increased exponentially, the IRS is twenty percent smaller now than it was in the 1960s.
So, the context is the recent spending appropriation omnibus that included $80 billion in additional funding for the IRS. This funding is spread over ten years, i.e., $8 billion per year.
All the GOP‘s arguments apparently forget the “over ten years” part. Nearly every GOP member speaking for the bill repeated the same false claims (watch debate here):
- …”doubling the size of the IRS,” e.g., 87,000 new “armed agents” will be coming through your door … FALSE – presently, there are roughly 93,000 IRS employees — in terms of total employees, funding for 87,000 agents over ten years (8,700 per year) largely covers retirements and other attrition/churn, not “doubling the size.”
- The 87,000 new “armed” [that’s just plain absurd!] IRS agents will be coming after the working class to exact more money. FALSE – all that anyone is interested in is helping the IRS with the resources they need to ensure accountability so that everyone pays their fair share.
Democrat speakers against the bill repeated the “over ten years” part numerous times, but to no avail; the GOP speakers kept repeating the same falsehoods.
Former IRS commissioner, Charles O. Rossotti, debunks GOP “hyperbole” (falsehoods) on this issue. (watch here).
Now, let’s be clear, working class people’s taxes are taken directly from their paychecks; they have little opportunity to cheat. It is the wealthy whose income is more difficult for which to account; they are the ones who have lawyers and accountants to help them game the system and unfairly exploit the complexity of the tax code to avoid paying their appropriate share. Who is it that the GOP are protecting from accountability and paying their fair share, and why? —Have we discussed multi-tiered flat tax rates lately?
Is it evil or just highly problematic that the GOP‘s talking points basically framed the role of the IRS as the enemy of working class people? (again, watch the debate here)
Thankfully, the bill will likely find its way directly into the Senate’s circular file.
Adding insult to injury
When it comes to proudly declaring falsehoods, George Santos appears nearly as brazen as DJT. However, with McCarthy’s razor-thin margin, at first he said, “it’s an internal matter.” Now, despite pressure from the New York GOP to oust Santos, McCarthy says that Santos stays for now — he means that Santos is a sure-vote that he’d like to keep.
Truth and decency are clearly not important for this Mr. Speaker.
The new Speaker may own George Santos and his vote; however, McCarthy, his office and the 118th Congress are wholly-owned by the MAGA wingnuts, as was proven in plain sight. That very likely means we’ll all want/need to buckle-up, as the 118th Congress may take us on a very bumpy ride.
NOTE: For this week I also stepped aside from my commitment to a 3-minute read limit. Please pardon.
Next week: A very special day. [this post (4-min. read)]
2 thoughts on “X-raying wingnut strategy”
Maybe a handful of more moderate Republican members of the House will realize that their best path for helping fulfill the desires of the American people is to reach a compromise with the Democrats. In which case they can use these same rules to call for a new vote for Speaker and elect Haken Jefferies. Such a collaboration could resolve many difficult problems that have plagued our government for decades.
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