Shooting the Hostage

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol Building following passage in the House of a 45-day continuing resolution on September 30, 2023. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

On Tuesday I felt like an architect who realized that a building he designed has a catastrophic flaw …

… during a hurricane, after the building had already begun to sway and creak.

I wrote on Monday that Matt Gaetz’s weird grudge against Kevin McCarthy is one of the best things to happen to the now-former speaker as a politician. McCarthy is a contemptible figure, liked by some but respected by few, yet passes for downright statesmanlike when compared to the gentleman from Florida. From his energetic Trump toadying to his sneering populist grandstanding to his alleged, uh, personal eccentricities, no one embodies the repulsive amoral narcissism of the MAGA movement better than Gaetz. (Well, almost no one.) Pitted against McCarthy in a test of strength for control of the House, I assumed everyone to the left of Lauren Boebert would take sides against him.

I assumed wrong.

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