The so-called “Freedom caucus” — that group of supposedly ideologically committed, failed seditionists who command a sizable portion of the House Republican majority — are throwing a hissy fit right now in reaction to the deal struck by their elected Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, and President Biden, in which McCarthy managed to extort some concessions from the White House in exchange for magnanimously allowing the nation to meet its obligations and pay the bills that Congress has incurred on behalf of the American public for the last few years.
Those bills, which would have been considerably easier to pay without the massive tax giveaway Republicans passed in 2017 as a reward to their billionaire corporate donors, have come due, and like all deadbeats, these same House Republicans want to skip out on them. The only problem is that by doing so they would tank the entire U.S. economy, along with the rest of the world that depends on the Full Faith and Credit of the United States government.
But contrary to its pretentious title, the “Freedom Caucus” has nothing to do with “freedom,” unless it refers to the freedom to destroy everyone else’s lives so they can retain power. That was made perfectly clear in a statement made on Tuesday by Caucus member, Republican Dan Bishop of North Carolina. Bishop specifically complained about the provision of the Biden-McCarthy deal that extends the ability of this country to pay its bills for two years, effectively preventing the issue from being re-animated by House Republicans in the months prior to the 2024 elections. This is the part of the deal that most infuriates the “Freedom Caucus.” Because they intended to tank the economy in 2024 to help the prospects of their presumed nominee, Donald Trump, who, it is assumed, would rise at that time from his golden toilet bowl to howl about the how President Biden destroyed the economy.
One Republican congressman outright admitted his frustration that, if the debt ceiling gets resolved, the Republican presidential nominee won’t be able to run in 2024 on the chaos that would come if the country defaults.
“And what does the device of two years do?” North Carolina Representative Dan Bishop posed incredulously on Tuesday, flanked by far-right colleagues like Lauren Boebert and Byron Donalds. “It removes the issue from the national conversation during the presidential election to come. How could you more successfully kneecap any Republican president than to take that issue out of his or her hands?”
The reason this statement is so revealing is that Donald Trump, as the assumed Republican presidential nominee, would have absolutely no input or say on whether the debt ceiling was to be lifted in 2024. He would still be a candidate, restricted to spewing his venom at rallies. The debt ceiling issue in 2024 would still be resolved by the Republican House majority and President Biden. What Rep. Bishop is saying here is that he and his caucus members intended to tank the economy on purpose, in order to bolster Trump’s chances at winning in 2024. And they’re furious now because under the Biden-McCarthy deal they will be unable to do that.
As Thakker writes:
Their intransigence apparently was not just about cutting as much as they could, but also about carrying water for the eventual nominee— which for most far-right members like Bishop means Donald Trump.
That’s what they care about: getting Trump back into office. Not the “deficit,” not the “debt,” not the economy, and certainly not the millions of job losses and complete stock market collapse that would ensue with a default. They don’t give a damn about what a ravaged economy would mean for tens of millions of Americans (including, notably, the ones who voted them into office).
Note Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert’s head nodding in agreement as Bishop speaks:
that's right! pic.twitter.com/kmy83gEzWZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 30, 2023
That’s what all this sideshow is about. Bishop was just stupid enough to say it out loud.