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Howie: GOP coming apart at the seams

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Would-be US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is now 0-11 in elections this week.

The only Republican on a longer losing streak than McCarthy right now is the chairman of the Massachusetts state GOP, Jim “Jones” Lyons.

Lyons has yet to post anything in the “win” column since receiving his apparently divine calling to destroy the state party back in 2019.

And that’s the difference between the dysfunction in the national Republican party and in the local branch office of the GOP.

The Republicans in Congress win – sometimes.

Massachusetts Republicans under Jim Jones Lyons – never. Not once. In three-plus years.

Which is why it’s been so weird this week to watch the GOP turmoil in the US House over the selection of a new Speaker.

The mess on Capitol Hill has been looking more and more like a Massachusetts Republican state committee meeting – members calling one another “terrorists,” throwing Trump’s own deprecations back in his face – “Sad!”

On one hand, you want to root for the dissidents, as weird as some of them are. And McCarthy is definitely a snake in the grass, a la Charlie Baker.

But as the days go by, and the losses pile up, it doesn’t seem quite as amusing to see McCarthy twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.

After the first six losses, somebody said that an “adult” needed to step up and take control of the situation. Good luck finding one of those – in either party.

Narcissistic as the anti-McCarthy reps are, it’s great political theater to see the likes of Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz sticking it to The Man, in this case McCarthy.

But what’s the end game? I don’t know, I’m just asking because I’m so conflicted here.

You see, we local “terrorists” here had great fun in 2021 taking Charlie Parker (as Biden calls him) off the board. Politically, we tortured him six ways to Sunday. After what he did to everybody in the state during the Panic, Charlie had it coming – big-time.

But then Parker threw in the towel. He announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, and everybody started waiting for an… adult… to ride in on a white horse or something.

Instead Lyons gave us Geoff “DoorDash” Diehl, and what a revoltin’ development that turned out to be. The state Republican party is now on life support, and that’s being optimistic.

It’s going to take a very long time, if ever, to restore the two-party system to Massachusetts.

The Taliban 20, or the Chaos Caucus, or whatever they’re calling the dissidents today, don’t trust McCarthy as far as they could throw him. Nor should they. For some reason, though, Trump seems to like him – McCarthy’s been at Mar-a-Lago more than once.

Trump even fondly calls him “my Kevin.” It’s weird, because when Trump needed him most, after Jan. 6, McCarthy took a powder, went all Deep State on him.

Remember? Somebody recorded McCarthy talking about Trump after it was all over:

“I had it with this guy. What he did was unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.”

Then, after the installation of Brandon, he flew down to Mar-a-Lago and did defend it. And Trump just basically shrugged at his betrayal. McCarthy even denied saying it, until the audio was leaked.

And now this GOP stalemate has turned everything in TrumpWorld on its head. Trump called at least some of the anti-McCarthy reps, most of whom are ardent supporters of his, and they spurned him.

Matt Gaetz is always hanging around Mar-a-Lago, or should I say was, because he’s the one who tweeted out “Sad!” after Trump’s demand that he and the rest sell out and go with McCarthy.

And then Gaetz was denounced as a “D-lister” by none other than Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina. Does that name ring a bell? She voted to impeach Trump during one of the kangaroo-court impeachments, and Trump endorsed her primary opponent last year.

She prevailed, and now she’s back on Team Trump, and Gaetz has gone rogue – or had, at least until the seventh vote for Speaker early yesterday afternoon.

He broke from his fellow Floridian, Rep. Byron Donalds, to vote for… Donald Trump!

(“Hi, Mr. President? It’s me, Matty boy. Can I come back to Mar-a-Lago now, pretty please.”)

It’s like Florida is almost on the brink of a Republican civil war – kind of like Massachusetts. The only difference is, almost everyone in Florida has won an election or two. Or at least they’re not stone-cold perennial losers like Jim Jones Lyons or DoorDash Diehl.

Sean Hannity lives right down the road from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. So Wednesday night he tore into Rep. Lauren Boebert, big-time. It confirmed everything you’ve suspected about McCarthy – if Paul Ryan’s parrot Sean Hannity is sticking up for him, why the hell would any Deplorable back him?

Except of course, Trump does. But hasn’t Trump broken with Fox News?

You see what I mean about confusion? This is like driving by a broken-down car on fire on the side of the road. It’s cool to watch, but what happens if the gas tank finally explodes just as you’re driving by?

That’s what happened in Massachusetts. The car blew up. And now you have Jim Jones Lyons standing in the wreckage, shaking his fist in the air, like the guy in the old Bob Dylan song – “a man who swears he’s not to blame/ All day long I hear him shout so loud/Crying out that he’s been framed.”

It’s always the same problem. The people who overthrow the Charlie Bakers or the Kevin McCarthys so often turn out to be worse than their predecessors.

Jim Jones Lyons is a big Trump guy now, never without his MAGA hat – does he think nobody remembers his ranting on the convention floor in Cleveland in 2016 for Ted Cruz?

To coin a phrase, “Sad!”

Enjoy the spectacle for as long as it lasts. It’s a barrel of laughs, like New Year’s Eve. I just hope the hangover in DC is less painful than the one we’re enduring here in Massachusetts.

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