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GOP lawmakers unifying to primary Madison "Coke Orgies" Cawthorn?

Turns out there are only two ways to turn the whole Republican caucus against you:

1. Imply that they’re all doing coke and having orgies

2. Insist on holding Trump accountable for trying to overturn a national election

Pretty much anything else goes. Jim Swift notes that the common thread between numbers 1 and 2 above is that each one discomfits House Republicans to an unacceptable degree. Someone should ask Kevin McCarthy why speaking at a rally of white nationalists doesn’t.

The soon-to-be senior senator from Cawthorn’s home state of North Carolina made news today when he endorsed one of Cawthorn’s primary opponents, making clear in his announcement that he believes the incumbent is unfit for office:

“It comes down to focus on the district, producing results for the district, and in my opinion, Mr. Cawthorn hasn’t demonstrated much in the way of results over the last 18 months,” Tillis told CNN when asked about his endorsement. Two other influential pols from North Carolina, the leaders of the state senate and house, are also preparing to endorse Chuck Edwards in what’s obviously a coordinated push to consolidate the anti-Cawthorn vote behind him in the primary. Richard Burr, the current senior senator from NC, is staying out of the primary but didn’t hide his feelings about Cawthorn when CNN asked him for comment: “On any given day, he’s an embarrassment.”

I went over the reasons why Republicans are piling on Cawthorn for his “orgies” comment in this post last night so I won’t rehash them. But suffice it to say, we’re seeing a lot of steam that’s built up quietly over Cawthorn’s antics come bursting out with this latest episode:

Other GOP lawmakers who are at their wits’ end with Cawthorn are considering endorsing one of his primary foes, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, amid growing concerns that the North Carolina Republican is dragging down the entire party with his problematic behavior. The two most powerful North Carolina Republicans in the state legislature — Senate leader Phil Berger and House speaker Tim Moore — are headlining a fundraiser for Edwards on Thursday, according to the Edwards campaign…

Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota told CNN that instead of an angel and devil on Cawthorn’s shoulder, “in Madison’s case it’s Lloyd Christmas on one shoulder and Harry Dunne on the other shoulder” — a reference to the main characters in the movie “Dumb and Dumber.”

“People are flat pissed off,” Armstrong added.

Apparently some Republicans’ spouses have also begun asking whether Cawthorn’s “orgies” comment is true, making this topic even more awkward for members.

The playbook when a populist is under fire is to demagogue his critics as members of a faceless establishment that wants to silence him because he speaks for The People. Never mind that in this case “the establishment” that wants to shut him up is composed entirely of Republicans, including the ultra-MAGA Freedom Caucus, or that the left and the media are quite eager for him to keep talking and say more about those orgies. Cawthorn has only one trick, so naturally he resorts to that trick now that his habit of lying has gotten him in trouble again:

This grifter has a better chance of winning his primary than Liz Cheney has of winning hers, which tells you everything you need to know about the state of the party.

By the way, supposedly he’s been telling allies that he didn’t admit to Kevin McCarthy yesterday that he “exaggerated” his tales of cocaine and orgies despite McCarthy’s claims to the contrary. I half-believe him, as that’s another populist hallmark: Never admit error even when you’re clearly guilty of it.

“Firsthand,” huh, Roger?

I don’t understand why Cawthorn wants to stay in Congress, frankly. He’d rather talk trash about Democrats and centrist Republicans than legislate, obviously. He’s got the good looks needed for a successful TV career too. Why doesn’t he quit and go host a show on Fox or Newsmax, as that’s basically his unofficial job already? I’m sure he’d prefer a salary commensurate with that position rather than the pay a congressman gets.