Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan Put on a Clown Show in the United States Congress

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Photo credit: Drew Angerer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Drew Angerer - Getty Images

The only thing keeping me from supporting the abolition of the Senate, even as an intellectual exercise, is the continuing descent into Bedlam of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives. The idea of these people, and the people they’re training in statehouses across the land, running amok in a unicameral setting is the political equivalent of a slasher film.

Wednesday and Thursday were banner days for cultivated insanity. On Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, whose career termination clock is ticking faster and faster, got in a hopeless wrangle with Rep. Jamie Raskin. Gaetz was appearing as a witness before the Rules Committee regarding Steve Bannon’s subpoena. (That was delicious enough on its face.) Also on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan went ballistic in the same context. Raskin treated both of them with the appropriate amount of scorn, although I admit dropping “blah, blah, blah” in the middle of a Gaetz tantrum is not something that would have occurred to, say, Henry Clay.

Later, Gaetz took to the floor of the House and startled all concerned by announcing that someone was trying to kill him—specifically someone named CIA Bob at Your Front Door on orders from Portland. He claimed that CIA Bob came to Washington and was detained by the Capitol Police, who recommended CIA Bob be incarcerated, but that the Department of Justice overruled the suggestion. Gaetz railed against the “double standard.”

You can bet that if my name were Omar or Tialib, you bet this person would have been arrested.

Delightful chap, as always, even in extremis.

On Thursday, on an unrelated but unfortunately coincidental matter, Attorney General Merrick Garland testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan is a member of that committee. The usual nonsense ensued. Jordan ran through a list of talk-radio hot topics going back to the phony IRS “scandal” of the Obama years. He went bananas about the DOJ’s response to the (highly organized) campaign to disrupt school board meetings, and tore into committee chairman Jerrold Nadler because Nadler wouldn’t let him show a video. The hearing later was enlivened by Rep. Andy Biggs asking Garland if he were going to indict Dr. Anthony Fauci, Matt Gaetz asking Garland about lobbyists being named prosecutors, Rep. Ken Buck asking Garland about Hunter Biden, and Rep. Scott Fitzgerald asking Garland about the Clinton Foundation. If the hearing had gone on a few more hours, I guarantee someone would have asked him about what he was going to do about the Credit Mobilier.

Elsewhere in the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy scrapped with a reporter while blowing smoke about how the special committee was invalid. But the true piece de resistance came during the two debates over whether or not to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for ignoring the special committee’s subpoenas. First came the debate on moving forward for a vote on the “rule,” advancing the bill holding Bannon in contempt to a vote. Every single Republican speaker chose instead to argue in favor of a bill curtailing what they said was proposed surveillance on the part of the IRS. Rep. Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, prefaced his every appearance at the microphone with a reminder that none of the Republicans were addressing the issue under debate.

Photo credit: Greg Nash - Getty Images
Photo credit: Greg Nash - Getty Images

The Republicans were a bit more on point in the afternoon. Jordan showed up again and gave a Trump stump speech from September of 2020. (“Greatest economy in 50 years” “Built the wall” etc. etc.) Gaetz, apparently unafraid of CIA Bob, accused the Democrats of dealing in “alligator tears.” (I admire his devotion to his reptilian constituents in Florida—the four-legged ones, anyway—but that’s not the phrase.) The resolution to hold Bannon in contempt passed in a landslide, and now it all sits with Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to carry it out. For his part, and in a statement that will drive some people straight up the wall, Garland would not commit to begin the prosecution of Bannon immediately.

What was clear throughout the two days is that there are members of the Republican caucus in the House who are deathly afraid of the select committee looking into the events of January 6. They want to talk about anything but that. You could hide Jupiter in the cloud of squid ink they ejected over that 48 hours. But it wasn’t big enough to hide the looming figure of El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago, who issued a statement that no Republican chose to condemn.

The Unselect Committee of partisan Democrats, and two very weak and pathetic RINOs, should come to the conclusion after spending many millions of dollars, that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the Presidential Election, not on January 6th—which was a day of protesting the Fake Election results.

The squeaking was audible, and it will get louder.

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