[Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Peggy Noonan is enraged at Matt Gaetz, yet betrays not even a rudimentary understanding of what led him to stand up against former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the first place. As Noonan once again deployed all the rhetorical venom she could muster in defense of the Washington establishment that has driven America into the ditch, she demonstrated that her primary objection to Gaetz and his cohorts is that they’re so terribly low-class. Noonan has for Gaetz all the disgust and distaste of a cosseted aristocrat who is appalled that those smelly peasants are revolting against the kleptocrats to whom they should be so tremendously grateful.
Noonan goes after Gaetz as if she were competing for a name-calling award. Gaetz’s toppling of McCarty, she tells us, is “as if Julius Caesar were stabbed to death in the Forum by the Marx Brothers.” Gaetz and his allies are not “serious people.” Gaetz “a great doofus.” He is a “cartoon villain.” He has “Elvis hair,” a clear sign to the aristocrats and oligarchs Noonan favors that Gaetz is part of the great unwashed, the proles, the yahoos and hicks who have the effrontery to want a government that actually cares about them.
That would be quite enough in a serious political column, but Noonan is just getting started. Gaetz is “a political nepo baby whose father was president of the Florida Senate, a guy whose way was paved.” One wonders if Noonan ever said the same thing about Nancy Pelosi, whom she greatly admires; that former speaker’s father was a solid Democrat machine pol who fed at the public trough as a Maryland congressman and then as mayor of Baltimore.
“Tearing things down,” says Noonan, is Gaetz’s “business model.” Oh, and about that Marx Brothers comparison she made in her previous paragraph, “at least the Marx Brothers made you laugh.” Gaetz is “so small, he makes decadence look banal.” Without making even an attempt to tell her readers why Gaetz himself said he had acted against McCarthy, she claims that “almost everyone believes he was driven by personal motives.”
Noonan invokes “an ethics investigation, launched in 2021,” although she does have the residual decency to note “an earlier Justice Department probe was dropped without charges.” She repeats the lurid allegations, noting that Gaetz denies them, and hints that this may have been why Gaetz brought McCarthy down, since “McCarthy didn’t stop” the investigation.
Meanwhile, the best explanation Noonan can offer for why anyone had anything against McCarthy is that “he wasn’t the most thoughtful or substantive member of the conference.” Still, “he was certainly better than his enemies.” She finds it deplorable that “on Jan. 6-7, 2021, he voted to sustain objections to Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes,” and visited Donald Trump after that. Nevertheless, the Julius-Caesaring of McCarthy was “irresponsible and destructive.” It was “a classless move by classless people for low and shallow reasons.”
Oh, those ignorant peasants! If only they knew what they really needed: Nancy Pelosi! Yes, Noonan actually says that Republicans “need a ruthless Mama Cat who can pick the kittens up by the scruff of the neck and throw them in the box. They need Nancy Pelosi.”
In saying that, Noonan herself exemplifies everything that was wrong with Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, and why Gaetz was right to move to replace him. For far too long, the Republicans have been the kid brother with no life of his own, the tag-along who echoes everything the Democrats want to say or do. Maybe he’ll add a few annoying little quibbles about being able to get it done more cheaply or efficiently, but he will never, ever argue with the agenda that Big Brother sets. Not at all. In fact, he wants to emulate Big Brother in every way possible.
In order to garner the votes to get elected speaker in the first place, McCarthy promised that he would not act as yet another me-too establishment Republican, adding the GOP seal of approval to the nation’s slide toward impoverishment, eradication of the national identity, and authoritarian socialism. He promised Gaetz and others that he would stand up to the Marxist internationalists who dominate the Biden regime and the Democrat Party in general, and would offer the American people a genuine alternative that put their interests first.
He reneged. When it came down to crunch time over a government shutdown, McCarthy did what Republicans always do, and what establishment pundits such as Peggy Noonan applaud them for doing: he caved to Democrat pressure and, according to some people, even believed Pelosi when she assured him that Democrats would stand behind him if Gaetz and co. made any attempt to remove him. (Pelosi denies this, but would anyone really put it past Noonan’s beloved “ruthless Mama Cat”?)
When McCarthy became the latest Republican leader to fold, Gaetz stated: “A vote for a continuing resolution is a vote to continue the Green New Deal, a vote to continue inflationary spending, and the most troubling of fashions, a vote for a continuing resolution is a vote to continue the election interference of Jack Smith. We told you how to use the power of the purse: individual, single-subject spending bills that would allow us to have specific review, programmatic analysis and that would allow us to zero out the salaries of the bureaucrats who have broken bad, targeted President Trump or cut sweetheart deals for Hunter Biden.” Gaetz added: “Speaker McCarthy made an agreement with House conservatives in January. And, since then, he has been in brazen, repeated material breach of that agreement.” And so now he is no longer speaker of the House.
Noonan is wrong. Republicans don’t need Nancy Pelosi. Republicans need Matt Gaetz. He may be every name she calls him and more, but he is the first Republican in a long while, aside from the hated Trump, to stand up to the establishment and insist on responsible government in the best interests of the American people. It is time to retire not just McCarthy, but all of the controlled opposition Republicans who do the bidding of their Democrat masters and look down upon their low-class constituents who dare to question why the well-being of climate change mythmongers, pharmaceutical billionaires, Ukrainian oligarchs, and corruptocrats who have turned our nation’s justice system into an instrument of partisan vengeance comes before their own, even among those who are supposed to be representing them.
Peggy Noonan’s catty and superficial attack on Matt Gaetz represents one of the last gasps of the Old Guard, a lashing-out of the multiply discredited Republican establishment that has failed its constituents and betrayed the nation. It exemplifies everything that is wrong with that establishment, and demonstrates how far out of touch it is with the actual needs and concerns of the American people that the Washington elites are supposed to be serving.
It’s time they all be rejected. Those who are subject to electoral accountability must be swept out, but that is not the whole of the job that must be done. The bejewelled, cobwebbed pundits who arrogantly tell the American people to despise those who are the only ones actually defending their interests need to be decisively repudiated as well.