The most interesting angle to this isn’t that McConnell is pro-Cheney and anti-Greene, which was predictable. It’s that he’s weighing in on two House matters knowing that Kevin McCarthy’s caught in a vise on both.
Why would Cocaine Mitch want to tighten that vise?
Or could it be that McCarthy already knows what he’s going to do about Cheney and Greene and has asked McConnell for some preemptive moral support?
“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” McConnell said in a statement. “Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”
His statement of support for Cheney is more easily explained:
“Liz Cheney is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them,” McConnell said. “She is an important leader in our party and in our nation. I am grateful for her service and look forward to continuing to work with her on the crucial issues facing our nation.”
The Cheney family has clearly been dialing around to big-name Republicans to try to drum up public support for her before the House GOP meets this week to decide whether to keep her in her leadership role. George W. Bush made his own support for her known a few days ago. This morning fellow hawk and Trump crony Lindsey Graham spoke up too:
Liz knows that a strong America is a safe America. She believes we must confront radical Islam and take the fight to them to ensure there are no more 9/11’s.
In the eyes of many – Liz Cheney’s experience, leadership, and strength are invaluable to the Republican Party.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) February 2, 2021
McConnell and Graham aren’t just being stand-up guys for the Cheney family here. They want the Senate majority back in 2023 and they know that a party in which Greene goes unpunished for being a raging crank while Cheney gets defenestrated for a righteous vote to impeach is not a party that’s going to play well with swing voters. McCarthy’s worried about that too, of course, but his caucus is far more MAGA than McConnell’s is. If he strips Greene of her committee assignments and fends off the attempt to oust Cheney, Trumpers will go berserk. If he does the opposite, throwing Cheney to the wolves and protecting Greene, Dems will spend the next two years calling Republicans the party of QAnon. He’s trying to find some middle ground:
On Greene, McCarthy’s office is considering possible rebukes. But there’s also wariness of punishing a member for something she said before she got to Congress. McCarthy has indicated he wants Greene to show contrition when he meets with her this week. But does this mean going on TV to recant all the conspiracies and harmful words she’s espoused? We’ll see.
On Cheney, we hear McCarthy is eager for his conference to move on. It’s unclear whether he’ll ask his No. 3 to apologize for her vote (though Trump supporters certainly will). Expect McCarthy to steer the conversation toward the promise of a Republican takeover of the House in 2022 — and how a prolonged focus on Cheney instead of JOE BIDEN’S agenda will hurt that cause.
I assume McConnell issued his statements because he’s afraid that McCarthy will end up being pushed around by the Matt Gaetzes in his caucus — a reasonable fear — and he’s trying to quarantine the Senate GOP from the political fallout. If Cheney ends up being tossed out and Greene retains her committee slots, which of course is what Trump would like to see happen, Cocaine Mitch wants to be able to point to his statement from last night and say, “Don’t look at me. They do things differently in the House than we do them up here in the Senate.”
Greene responded to him last night on Twitter after he called conspiracy theories a “cancer” for the GOP and America. This made me laugh:
Is McConnell a “graceful loser”? He’s won seven straight Senate elections in Kentucky, held a Senate majority through three election cycles, and has confirmed three conservative Supreme Court nominees and a raft of lower-court federal judges via procedural hardball. Neil Gorsuch wouldn’t be on the Court today, and Trump might not have been president, if McConnell hadn’t roadblocked Merrick Garland’s confirmation in 2016. McConnell would probably still be majority leader if Trump and Greene hadn’t drowned Georgia Republicans in an ocean of “stolen election” propaganda, depressing Republican turnout in the Senate runoffs. Greene taunting Mitch McConnell, of all people, as some weak-kneed cuck who won’t knife-fight with Democrats just because he doesn’t sh*tpost on Twitter 24/7 like she does tells you everything you need to know about the GOP in 2021. He wants to win elections and stack the federal bench with originalists, she wants to do political performance art. And she, not he, is supposedly the “fighter” among the two, we’re told.
What Greene really means when she accuses of him of wanting to lose gracefully is that he won’t talk like an insurrectionist nut the way she did — two years ago, in yet another newly rediscovered YouTube video:
In a video posted to social media months before announcing her congressional candidacy, Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene called on supporters to “flood the Capitol Building” in a protest against “tyrannical” leaders, telling them that Democratic lawmakers “should fear us” and that “we should feel like we will” use violence “if we have to.”
“All of us together, when we rise up, we can end all of this. We can end it,” Greene said in the 90-minute rant, which was posted in February 2019 and unearthed on Sunday by Twitter user @zedster. “We can do it peacefully. We can. I hope we don’t have to do it the other way. I hope not. But we should feel like we will if we have to. Because we are the American people.”
This is the problem with McCarthy trying to convince her to renounce everything she’s said. There’s just too much of it out there for anyone to believe that a renunciation is heartfelt. Liberals will be digging up old clips of MTG ranting about the Rothschilds or whatever for months. This is who she is. In fact, they’ve already tried that strategy with her by convincing her to say last year during the campaign that she’s no longer a QAnon supporter, and yet…
Yet again I am reminding people that Marjorie Taylor Greene endorsed a pro QAnon article in December 2020, after she was elected.
— Travis View (@travis_view) February 2, 2021
I’ll leave you with this new ad from the DCCC as a sneak preview of what Dems have planned for the GOP in swing districts next year. They put this out, I assume, because “fight QAnon!” is a good ad pitch to Democratic donors following the Capitol riot. But they’re going to use Greene against moderate Republicans everywhere in 2022. It’s what McConnell’s afraid of.