Reptiles And Invertibrates

America is about to embark on two years of legislative chaos–introduced by the embarrassing spectacle of Kevin McCarthy’s total surrender to the craziest MAGA members of the Republican caucus. His eventual “victory”–if you can call securing a title via total emasculation a victory–was facilitated by the remaining caucus members who were too spineless and/or venal to object.

One of the best descriptions of the House Republicans came from Bret Stephens, in his weekly back and forth with Gail Collins in the New York Times.

A few honorable exceptions aside, the G.O.P. is basically split between reptiles and invertebrates. McCarthy is the ultimate invertebrate. He went to Mar-a-Lago just a short while after Jan. 6 to kiss the ring of the guy who incited the mob that, by McCarthy’s own admission, wanted to kill him. He hated Liz Cheney because of her backbone. But he quailed before Marjorie Taylor Greene because she has a forked tongue. He gave away the powers and prerogatives of the office of speaker in order to gain the office, which is like a slug abandoning its shell and thinking it won’t be stepped on. A better man would have told the Freedom Caucus holdouts to shove it. Instead, as a friend of mine put it, McCarthy decided to become the squeaker of the House.

Among McCarthy’s numerous concessions were promises to put some of the most prominent members of the lunatic caucus in charge of committees and “investigations.” It’s hard to choose the most appalling. Jim Jordan at Judiciary is certainly a contender, but for sheer shamelessness, Scott Perry is hard to beat.

Rep. Scott Perry said that being under investigation shouldn’t disqualify him from taking part in any examination of federal investigators conducted by newly empowered House Republicans.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” the Pennsylvania Republican said: “Why should I be limited, why should anybody be limited, just because someone has made an accusation? Everybody in America is innocent until proven otherwise. I would say this, the American people are really, really tired of the persecution and instruments of federal power being used against them.”

Perry pooh-poohed the notion that allowing him to investigate the investigators poses a conflict of interest, suggesting that all elected officials get accused of things, and implying that accusations against him fall within the “it’s just politics” category. As the linked article notes, however,

Perry, the head of the House Freedom Caucus, has been under investigation in relation to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and other efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in office after he lost the 2020 election; the House select committee on Jan. 6 referred Perry for a review by the House Ethics Committee. His phone has been seized by the Justice Department.

He doesn’t have to worry about the House Ethics Committee–the GOP intends to abolish it.

Following the 15 votes that finally installed McCarthy,and his merry band of reptiles and invertebrates, Jennifer Rubin reflected on the evening’s speeches, observing that “Jeffries governs in poetry, Biden in grace — and the GOP in thuggishness.”

After quoting from Hakeem Jeffries lyrical speech (if you haven’t listened to it, you really should–it was inspiring), Rubin wrote:

All the more impressive for speaking without notes or a teleprompter, Jeffries set a tone for Democrats that was both contemporary and high-minded, fun and sophisticated. With the cadence of a preacher and erudite vocabulary of a professor, he perfectly encapsulated the difference between his party’s optimism and accomplishment and his opponents’ bitterness even in victory.

As she said, in a Congress that is likely to see very little legislating thanks to an unhinged and chaotic majority, Jeffries filled the void with inspirational words and a values-based message.

As Rubin notes, there is an enormous difference  between the very human and compassionate vision consistently displayed by President Biden and now echoed by Hakeem Jeffries and that of today’s Republican Party.

Violence (whether inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, or inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2023) and toxic masculinity seem to be endemic to a party that scorns the police who defended them two years ago and minimizes the brutality of the mob.

This is a crowd that delights in mocking the vulnerable and bullying the defenseless, persecuting refugees, elevating their selfish aims over the needs of others and fanning bitterness and vengefulness….

The Republican Party aim is to define America as a White Christian nation, bolstered by an apocalyptic fear of the Great Replacement conspiracy and a perpetual sense of victimhood….

One doesn’t even need to know the two parties’ policy positions to know there is a world of difference in their vision and character. Poetry and grace on one side, thuggishness and fury on the other. Americans cannot say they lack a stark choice.



  1. “A few honorable exceptions aside, the G.O.P. is basically split between reptiles and invertebrates.” About those “few honorable exceptions…”; NAMES, PLEASE. We are all acquainted with the reptiles and invertebrates and have read about those few exceptions but we know NOT who they are to call them out. We don’t hesitate to call out the known “enemies of the state”; outing the “few honorable exceptions” may force them to speak out for democracy or deny their being honorable exceptions for protection from the MAGAs. Why are they being protected by both parties? Where are the Democrats with a spine regarding naming names of the silent and idle “enemies of the state” who are doing as much to destroy this nation as they do nothing to protect it?

    As well as investigating the investigators and abolishing the Ethics Committee (proving they know the definition of the word ethics); McCarthy has stated he “will look into” purging Trump’s impeachments. What higher proof of control by the Freedom Caucus do we need to know before those silent and idle “few honorable exceptions” identify themselves?

  2. I would note that, after speaking out and saying the abortion bills recently passed by the House were not a good idea, Nancy Mace voted with her party to pass the measures. Is she an exception or is she just spineless after all? I should note that ALL Republicans voted for both bills, more to send a message to their base than to effect legislation. Do they realize that even their base doesn’t want to eliminate all abortions?

  3. It is clear from all the defining characteristics of the Un-Freedom Caucus that only one individual controls them. Whether reptile or invertebrate, slithering and sliming everything he touches, he corrupts and taints everything yet is held in almost divine esteem by his cult. Millions of this country’s residents suffer his poisonous touch because our voices are irrelevant to those in actual control. Wealth and the power it purchases are all that matter.
    When I look at the events of the last decade and the complete corruption of our system of governance, in all branches and levels, it is clear that we have lost our way and the bread crumbs we dropped have been gobbled up by the reptiles and invertebrates released by the oligarchs to do their vile, treacherous deeds leaving us lost in the dark woods.

  4. JoAnn,

    One of those reptiles is from my state of Colorado: Lauren Boebert. My choices for her designation are stuck between something called an amphi-spenid, something that crawls under the ground like a worm, but will pop up to snatch its prey above ground. My other choice is a Komodo dragon that will eat, or attempt to eat… anything. They are ruthless predators, not very smart, but really hard to avoid.

    Among the invertebrates are Gaetz and the incredibly stupid George Santos. They leave a slime trail any slug would envy. So, take your pick. Just look for a shit pile and you’ll find Republicans feating. Did I forget to mention Jim Jordan, a truly mesmerizing dolt with the attitude of a spitting cobra?

  5. I had to click on the link to see where Jennifer Rubin writes her lines of bs – Washington Post. LOL

    Of course.

    Anybody that thinks Biden is full of grace doesn’t deserve an editorial or column because they’ve obviously been snowed. Biden is a professional liar and a warmonger.

    As for today’s post, does anybody think McCarthy was paid to relinquish power to the reptiles in his party? He received dark money himself and then doled it out to other Republicans, including some of the outliers who opposed him. This is how Washington works!

    Everything else is performative for the mainstream media.

    From Politico:

    “Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), who previously voted for McCarthy, voting present. She received $10,000 from the Majority Committee during the 2022 primary and general elections. And in 2020, when she held a critical battleground district, CLF spent over $1 million on the race.

  6. In ‘Murica we don’t teach kids to be rational. We teach them to believe in magic men in the sky, we teach them to believe the propaganda that guarantees perpetual support for the military-industrial complex, and we teach them ridiculous founding myths.

    Is it any wonder that most people are too stupid to see through the lies?

  7. This whole discussion brings to mind a quote from Holy Scripture:

    “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit…Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Mt. 7:17-18, 20)

    Apostle Matthew couldn’t have said it any better!

  8. Adding to my previous point, advertising, advertising, advertising. The American people are sheep trained to enjoy the fleecing. Just give them their footieball, their sugar-laden everything, and their constant fear porn, and they will be happy with their crumbs. Let’s go Brandon!

  9. Todd. You accuse Biden of being a warmonger. What war do you think he has stirred up? Evidence please, not just accusations.

  10. The problem with the Brett Stevens analysis is that it unjustly insults reptiles and invertebrates.

  11. “squeaker of the house” is my favorite line.

    From the final result, Republicans have a real problem in that they could not even conceive of one single Republican that would get most of the Republican votes and and few Democratic votes. The current incarnation of the Republican party no longer a functioning party, but a power hungry fascist cult.

    By the same token Jeffries is a wonderful Democrat, but was never going to get a single Republican vote. It might have been a dangerous game, but the whole thing could have been upended by the Democrats voting for a moderate Republican and picked up a few Republican votes. I think the flaw in that plan would be that Republican does not currently exist in the halls of congress and anybody not already swimming in that cesspit would be smart enough to avoid it.

    The very first legislation passed by the newly organized house was a bill to defund the IRS resulting in a $110 increase in the deficit. If you are trying to gaslight the average Republican, it plays well, but it’s not good for the average tax payer or the country. Luckily with a divided congress, it was just a symbolic move playing to the base.

  12. Please allow me to cry over spilled milk for a moment:
    If the Dems had had a little imagination and had played their cards right, Kinzinger or Cheney could have been Speaker right now instead of McCarthy. Only five or six Republicans, in addition to all the Democrats, were needed to effectively neuter the whole MAGA and election denying crowd. And Jeffries would still be the Minority Leader.

    Imagine what the political landscape would look right now. Think about what an immense opportunity to turn the country back to center has been missed. But it would have taken a good deal of imagination, which is what the Democrats are sorely missing.

    Ok, I’m done. Back to the real (depressing) reality.

  13. The last two comments both alluded to the unrealized possibility that the majority of non-lunatic Republicans and a handful of moderate Democrats could have neutralized the wild-eyed radicals of the “Freedom” Caucus and rendered them irrelevant. One comment blames the Republicans for not being willing to consider such an outcome; the other blames the Democrats for allegedly not seeking it. It would be very interesting to know whether any such proposals were in fact floated, by members of either party, and if so why nothing came of them.

    Unfortunately, as things stand, the entire House of Representatives is effectively completely controlled by a miniscule number of the most intransigent and fanatical extremist demagogues, exerting the full power of the “people’s house” of Congress exclusively on behalf of a radical, hateful minority seething with contempt and ill-will toward the majority of the nation, because they play hardball and withhold their support from a “leader” who needs every single vote of a Party with a miniscule majority. A “leader” who obediently puts the ring in his nose and allows himself to be meekly led about by the extremist loudmouths because it’s apparently totally incomprehensible to him that he could have a conversation or make any agreement of any kind with anyone outside his own party.

    If the parties had been able and willing to work together to even the slightest degree, the screeching fools of the “Freedom” Caucus could have been exiled to the fringe where they belong, excluded from committees and re-election help, and McCarthy could even have taken some pleasure in backing primary challengers against them.

    But noooo, that would involve talking to The Enemy. And so we lurch into chaos, with the revenue-controlling house of our Congress under the control of a handful of raving fanatics actively seeking to harm us all. (And if Mr. McCarthy thinks they are now his friends, he is sadly mistaken.)

  14. DEMs don’t lack imagination; they lack principle. The only thing that drives them is PARTY…not country. Ever look at the most current good national polling on voters opinions of both parties? They are SELF-fulfilling in the true sense of the word…

  15. Lester and others who think that this is the 1950s where Representatives with differing views sat and negotiated, I have to inform you that those days are long gone. With a minuscule number of exceptions, the GOP has held that party line since they declared that their sole raison d’etre was to deny Obama any victories, and a second term, along with any other Democrat for violating the god-given right for there to be a “permanent Republican majority”.

    Since the “moderate” Republicans voted to stack the courts with right-wingers and support spending the next two years trying to impeach anyone and everyone that doesn’t bend their knee to the greater glory of the “White Race” or “Dear Leader” Donald, it makes sense for the Democrats to stick together. The crazies have seized control of the GOP, and as Sheila was pointing out, the GOP is left with “reptiles and invertebrates”. Mind you, the Dems have long had a problem with missing spines, but that’s another story.

    There is no compromise to be made “for country”. Two Trump appointees have been named to oversee the investigations of mishandled classified documents. Let’s see if they aren’t labeled “corrupt” and “partisan” if they report results that don’t please MTG.

    I have yet to see proof that the Dems put Party over Country – or that the Progressives have refused to compromise with the Blue Dogs. Look at the Progressives backing off to pass legislation in the last session and then compare that to the stubbornness of the 5-20 Republicans who held Congress hostage this session.

    Sorry – I’m not buying that.

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