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Happy Monday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Yazwell was known to become visibly irritated when offered any kind of raisin-infested baked good.
Because it happened on Friday and I was beginning my weekend news (non-sports) blackout, I haven’t discussed the George Santos expulsion with anyone.
I just know that I think it was boneheaded, shortsighted, and self-defeating.
In other words: classic Republican congressional fare.
For a very long time now, the problem for conservatives vis-à-vis the Republicans in Washington is that it all too often feels as if they would prefer to be a permanent minority party. I’ve been convinced for years that Mitch McConnell actively works to make that happen, his few shining moments during the Trump years notwithstanding. It is, after all, much easier to agitate and complain rather than govern. As long as the Uniparty happy hour invitations keep rolling in, who needs the hassle of being in charge?
That mindset would be the most plausible explanation for why a party with an almost nonexistent majority in the House would rush to expel one of its members and run the risk of flipping his seat.
Greg Byrnes breaks down how it might shake out:
Tom Suozzi is a former Nassau County executive and former Democrat congressman from this district He is popular, pro-choice, and well-funded. He stepped down from the seat to run for governor. The other Democrat is former state senator Anna Kaplan, an Iranian Jew who emigrated at 13 to the United States after the Iranian Revolution made her family’s situation untenable there. She is considered more to the Left than Suozzi.
While the Nassau County Republican machine claims it is “doing a search” for a candidate, it seems to have little interest in candidates from the Queens County side of the district. It has likely already made a close-to-the-vest decision in favor of pro-life state senator Jack Martins. He has money and has won elected office. On the negative side of the ledger, he was beaten in the past by Suozzi for this same seat. Other candidates would have to make the argument that they are more electable if they want to wrestle the nomination from him.
Before we get too far into this, I should make it clear that I don’t think that George Santos is a great guy. I also don’t think he’s history’s greatest monster. Honestly, I wouldn’t leave anything of value unattended around anyone in Congress, so moral posturing by any of them is wearisome.
Greg mentions in his post that the GOP could have very easily just let Santos hang around until the end of his term next year. He said he wasn’t going to run for reelection, so he could have simply ridden off into the one-term sunset, never to ruffle any Republican upper crust feathers again. Even if did run again, who cares?
Santos’s ouster came amid heavy rumors that Kevin McCarthy may bail on the rest of his term. Being the former speaker isn’t sitting well with him and many believe that he’s going to cut out soon. True, he is from a very Republican district, so the seat shouldn’t be in danger of flipping. It is California though, and there isn’t much of a premium placed on election transparency or integrity in the Golden State.
At the very least, House Republicans should have waited to see how that scenario played out before making a final move regarding Santos.
The Democrats don’t do things like this to their own. As my friend Kevin Downey Jr. is fond of saying, their worst people all “fail upward” on that side of the aisle. Here’s my snarky take on that sentiment, which I shared after the news was announced on Friday:
If George Santos was a Democrat he’d already be Minority Whip.
— SFK (@stephenkruiser) December 1, 2023
In years past, I would have been exhorting conservatives to resist the temptation to behave like Democrats when fighting back. That was before they installed their puppet president in the Oval Office and ramped up their efforts to shred the Constitution. If we have to keep a few undesirables around to bolster a thin majority, then do it. Heck, start an Undesirable Caucus.
If Santos had already been convicted of fraud, then, yeah, show him the door. Even then, I wouldn’t have ushered him out too quickly.
House Republicans have invested far too much energy in navel gazing at a time when we’re in crisis mode here in the United States. Circular firing squads are never a good idea, but the timing of this one is really bad. It’s an all hands on deck situation, even if one of the hands is a pathological liar. The Democrats are pulling out all the stops in their efforts to destroy the Republic, this is no time for the GOP’s signature “above the fray” posturing.
It would be nice to think that, with the Santos business out of the way, House Republicans will focus all of their attention on battling the Democrats. Given what we’ve seen from them this year, however, they are most likely already teeing up their next internecine squabble.
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