McCarthy evidently believed that by courting Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avatar of hyper-performative politics, he could co-opt her wing of the party. He was set to offer her valuable committee assignments, and, according to Draper, had even offered to create a new leadership position for her. But her elevation would be valuable to other Trumpists only if there were concrete things they hoped to accomplish together. Putting Greene on the Oversight Committee does nothing to help those who aspire to her notoriety. They don’t want policy; they want airtime.
One of the most amazing aspects of the House Republican crackup has been watching Greene’s angry exasperation as her shot at real power is imperiled by attention-seeking hard-liners. “They’re proving to the country that they’re just destructionists,” she said on Sunday. It was the embodiment of the Twitter meme: “‘I never thought leopards would eat MY face,’ sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.”
By bowing first to Trump and then to Greene, all McCarthy has done is show other Republicans how much there is to gain from pushing him around. His downfall isn’t surprising: Almost no one who has sold his or her soul to Trump has come out ahead. (The jury is still out on the Republican conference chair Elise Stefanik.) The reason these deals with the devil always go bad, I suspect, isn’t metaphysical. It’s simply that Trump sycophants are ultimately undermined by their weak and flabby character. [Continue reading…]