In the midst of the battle over Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Rogers set newsrooms ablaze by “lunging” at Rep. Matt Gaetz.
At the time, Gaetz and others had just finished securing major concessions from McCarthy, and one ballot later, the deal would finally be sealed. On the prior ballot, though, Rogers, who is set to chair the Armed Services Committee, was apparently angered by Gaetz voting present and chose to lash out.
Because Gaetz was on the receiving end of the rage, the press largely took Rogers’ side, exuding a “serves him right” attitude about the ordeal. That’s not a shock given the press will take the side of essentially anyone who opposes someone they themselves oppose. But I digress, I’m less worried about what the press thought of Rogers going after Gaetz than what I think think it says about the Republican Party.
Chaos on the House floor: After losing the 14th ballot for Speaker, Kevin McCarthy appeared to plead with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to change his vote from present to McCarthy.
Then, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) had to be held back from going at Gaetz. pic.twitter.com/foyCRVYrw1
— The Recount (@therecount) January 7, 2023
To be fair, the incident was sensationalized quite a bit. I’m not so sure that Rogers actually “lunged” at Gaetz as much as he just stood there and then got “held back” for no real reason. I’m also pretty sure that Rogers, being a noted toupee wearer, had no intention of actually getting into a fistfight that would have sent his fake hair flying.
But it was the visual that struck me the most, and not for the reason that got the press all excited. Rather, I was left wondering where that fire has been from Rogers and other Republicans when it comes to opposing the far left. When is the last time you saw a member of the GOP get that animated over yet another omnibus bill being forced down their throats? Or at watching a gun control bill pass against their will? Or at seeing a Democrat Speaker of the House strip their colleagues of committee assignments while ignoring bad behavior from the left?
Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to finally see a little fire from the typically meek GOP establishment. I’m just confused why they can’t point that fire at the other side every now and then. Instead, Washington Republicans are loathed to ever fight for things that might actually benefit their constituents, clinging to the status quo like a baby gripping its mother. Yet, when Gaetz doesn’t vote the way he’s told, suddenly they discover how to fight. How very convenient.
It all feels a bit cheap and pathetic. Rogers has the will to nearly come to blows over his own caucus member not voting the way he wants on the 14th ballot for Speaker of the House, but he’s nowhere to be found when that will is needed to battle Democrats. Besides, what exactly does Rogers think it means to be a representative? Should Gaetz not vote his conscience, and given the leanings of his district, the way his constituents want him to? I thought that was the point of having representation. Otherwise, let’s just have the president appoint oligarchs and go from there.
Unfortunately, Rogers is the perfect analog for most Republicans in Washington. He gets his powerful position on the House Armed Services Committee, shelling out ludicrous amounts of money to a wasteful, completely unchecked military-industrial complex. But when it comes to actually working towards real change, he’s nowhere to be found. He and so many other members of the GOP are addicted to the gravy train, and they will never be the ones to derail it.