House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made it his job to throw his caucus members under the bus whenever Donald Trump demands, so it's perhaps not surprising that he is actively fomenting rage against the 13 House Republicans who voted to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill last week.
What is notable is the fact that the Republican Party has devolved into a circular firing squad over the $1 trillion bipartisan measure—negotiated by Senate Republicans and backed by no fewer than 19 of them, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell himself.
On Monday, McConnell called the bill a "godsend" to his state after touring a farming company in Morehead, Kentucky.
"We have a lot of infrastructure needs, both in rural areas and with big bridges," McConnell told local CBS affiliate WKYT. "It’s a godsend for Kentucky.”
But McConnell didn't stop there. At a separate stop in Covington on Monday, the dry-as-dust senator said he was "delighted the House finally found a way to pass the infrastructure bill last week," according to NPR affiliate WKU.
“This will be the first time I have come up here in a quarter of a century where I thought maybe there was a way forward on the Brent Spence Bridge," he said of the aged bridge that connects northern Kentucky and Ohio.
Let's leave aside the fact that it took Democrats to deliver a bill that finally helped McConnell's constituents after 25 years of GOP inaction. Nonetheless, mark down the date! This is likely as close as we may ever come in our lifetimes to hearing McConnell gush about a legislative accomplishment that stands to benefit more than just his wealthy donors.
Meanwhile, Trump—whose four-year "infrastructure week" stretch made him an international laughingstock—is out for blood after President Joe Biden nailed down a deal in about nine months.
“Why is it that Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat Socialist Infrastructure Plan, and induced others in his Party to do likewise, when he was incapable of getting a great Infrastructure Plan wanting to be put forward by me and the Republican Party?” Trump complained in a statement. Let’s hope he didn’t spend too much crafting that pitiful train wreck of a message.
Trump also used a private event Monday hosted by the National Republican Congressional Committee—which exists for the sole purpose of electing House Republicans—to bash the 13 House Republicans who voted for the measure.
“I love all the House Republicans. Well, actually I don’t love all of you. I don’t love the 13 that voted for Biden’s infrastructure plan,” Trump reportedly said amid a 90-minute speech mostly devoted to grousing about his 2020 election loss and hating on Biden.
That probably didn't help someone like Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, a veteran member whose "yea" vote invited a voicemail from someone saying, “I hope you die. I hope everybody in your fucking family dies.”
The same caller tagged Upton a "fucking piece of shit traitor," aping the language of extremist GOP Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Greene disparaged the legislation as socialist, saying, “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill." She was one of the ringleaders of a fringe faction that promised to get revenge on her GOP colleagues, who likely thought it might be good politics to facilitate fixing some potholes, bridges, and tunnels in their districts through well-paying jobs.
That "socialism bill" passed the upper chamber with support from nearly 40% of the GOP caucus. So now House Republicans are calling a substantial number of Senate Republicans socialists.
Outside of Washington, the bipartisan bill gave GOP 2024 presidential hopefuls the opportunity to demonstrate their fancy footwork.
On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis denigrated the bill as "pork barrel spending," presumably referring to beneficiaries like McConnell, who hailed it as a godsend to his constituents.
But by Tuesday, DeSantis was grousing about not getting enough of his own pork.
“So I’d like to know more about this,” DeSantis told reporters in Spring Hill. “Is Florida being treated well in this? Or are they basically funneling money to a bunch of very, very high tax and dysfunctional states?”
Such as Kentucky, governor?
DeSantis maintained that he wasn't "apprised of the legislation" as he continued to rail against it, wondering whether Florida was getting its fair share of the spoils.
A top GOP 2024 contender, folks. They're not getting any brighter, are they?
But the split screen between the Senate and the House GOP was perhaps most stark. McConnell effectively surrendered to a cohort of his caucus members who, for once, wanted to do at least something for their constituents. Heck, he even voted for the bill, probably because he knew not doing so was shit politics.
Meanwhile, McCarthy—Trump's mini-me—helped his fringiest members demonize their colleagues as "traitors," thereby spurring a round of death threats against them and their families.
Rep. John Katko of New York, who voted for the bill, defended his vote by invoking a one-time GOP patron saint.
“Ronald Reagan cut deals all the time with Democrats for the good of the country. That is what we’re supposed to do. This isn’t a zero-sum game,” Katko told Spectrum News. “The bottom line is, we got to move this country forward.”
If only Katko's colleagues actually cared more about their country than their cult.
This isn't your grandfather's GOP anymore. Ronald Reagan is finally dead to them.
Republished with permission from Daily Kos.