Rock bottom? No, things could get worse for the House GOP

On the other hand, among the large majority of House Republicans who aren’t part of the rebel group — that would be about 200 members — there are some who are deeply angry at the conservative firebrands.

“Didn’t Jim DeMint say it very clearly?” asks the GOP strategist, referring to the very conservative former senator. “DeMint said he would rather have 30 true conservatives in the Senate than 60 that don’t really have principles. Of course, with that, you won’t have any say in how the government works. Now, what [the House firebrands] are saying is, forget if we don’t have any say, forget if we can actually do anything, the key thing is to be able to say what we want.”

That’s the fight that caused the McCarthy melodrama. (Yes, his Benghazi comments were a disaster, but the basic conflict inside the House GOP conference was a much bigger factor.)