The real reason Kevin McCarthy just talked for 8 hours in a row

But that’s not what’s really going on here.

Start here: It was all for the show. McCarthy knows full well that he and his Republican colleagues as a minority party in Parliament have very little they can do to prevent the Democratic majority from passing this $ 1.75 trillion spending bill and sending it to the Senate.

What McCarthy was really trying to prove is that he is Trump-y enough for Trump conservatives, who have recently started sounding the alarm that McCarthy is not doing enough to fight the Biden agenda.

It’s absolutely no coincidence that McCarthy’s speech came just hours after former White House chief Trump (and Member of the House of Representatives) Mark Meadows rejected his leadership.

“They’re not skating to where the puck is,” Meadows said of McCarthy and his management team in an interview with the Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s podcast. “And so I would give them the grade ‘D’.” Separately, in a conversation with former White House Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Meadows suggested that if Republicans take over the majority in Congress in 2022, they should replace the former president. “I would love to see the hammer go from Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump,” said Meadows. “You’re talking about melting down. People would go crazy!”
And, as Politico noted Thursday, Meadows has not been the only pro-Trump vote to speak out against McCarthy this week.

Peter Navarro, a close Trump ally, said McCarthy’s decision not to put any of his people on the select committee on Jan. 6 was “without a doubt the dumbest chess piece in a chess game I’ve ever seen.” And Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said McCarthy was “weak” for his refusal to punish the 13 Republicans who supported the Biden infrastructure plan.

McCarthy needed a high-profile way of proving to the growing chorus of critics that he was very Trump-y. And what better way to do that than to hold the floor of parliament for eight hours with a speech in which every bit of red meat was thrown at Trump-adapted conservatives? McCarthy clearly hoped to capture Trump’s attention – and win his favor – with that achievement, thus silencing his critics.

McCarthy is probably still burning after what happened to him in 2015 in the wake of then-House President John Boehner’s surprising resignation. McCarthy was widely seen as the next speaker, but opposition from among the most conservative elements of the Republican conference in the House caused McCarthy to retire in favor of then-Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.

That story makes McCarthy uniquely aware of the danger of his goal of becoming Speaker from anyone resistance in the Trump wing of the party. And beating back his critics was his real goal with this house filibuster. It is still unknown whether McCarthy succeeded in that effort.


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