Over the weekend, Kevin McCarthy decided that he was a lot more afraid of the House Republicans who are in toss-up races and didn’t want a shutdown, than he was of carnival barkers like Matt Gaetz. In response to the budget deal, Gaetz vowed to get McCarthy ousted. But then House Republicans leaked to the media that they’re planning to expel Gaetz if and when the House Ethics Committee issues a negative report about him.
Gaetz, for his part, was reduced to tweeting this on Sunday night: “I am trying to change Washington.” When you’ve just gotten your butt handed to you in a House floor showdown, and your own party is talking about issuing a report accusing you of underage sex trafficking and then expelling you, and all you have to say for yourself is “I am trying to change Washington,” you clearly think it’s over for you. You’re trying to write your political epitaph.
As I said earlier, it’s a bit tricky to try to predict how the McCarthy-Gaetz standoff will play out. They’re both essentially vowing to oust each other, and the kicker is that they’re both in such vulnerable positions, they might both succeed in taking each other down. Or they might both just lick their wounds and limp away. But Gaetz sure does sound like someone who’s suddenly seeing his political life flashing before him. I’m not saying he’s done, but he sure sounds like he thinks he’s done.