Bring In The Clowns
Don't bother, they're here.
Note: This site can also be accessed by entering FeathersOfHope.net in your browser window
For new readers, here are links to some previous posts that will bring you up to date on what the Feathers of Hope network has been doing :
Wait, Exactly How Will We Do This? — (January 28)
Replacing McCarthy - A Progress Report — (February 16)
Moderate Republicans? Really? — (March 2)
You’ve Got To Be Kidding, Kevin! — (April 26)
Escape From MAGA World — (May 3)
Joe Biden Knows How To Negotiate And Win — (May 30)
Is There A Crack In The Wall? — (June 29)
More Sand In The Gears — (July 21)
How Long Is This Journey? — (August 22)
Feathers of Hope is a network of ordinary citizens committed to advocating for the removal and replacement of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, thereby diminishing the power and influence of MAGA extremists in the chamber.
We have been urging moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives to form a temporary bipartisan majority voting bloc for the purpose of passing a motion to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Republican Speaker who owes nothing to the minority MAGA group.
Thanks for reading Feathers of Hope! Subscribe for free to receive new posts.
The House of Representatives has reconvened.
The Circus is back, and once again the clowns immediately seized center ring. Their stale act is depressingly familiar and utterly stupid. The point of every routine, no matter which clown is featured, is to bring the show to a complete halt. It’s not funny, is sloppily executed, and fails even as slapstick.
This metaphorical review aside, the MAGA clowns are bringing all productive activity in the chamber to a halt.
There’s universal agreement that the House’s first order of business right now is passing 12 appropriation bills before the end of the fiscal year, which is less than three weeks away. Unfortunately, since all Members just took a six-week vacation, there’s no longer enough time to pass these bills before the deadline.
So in order to keep the government running beyond September 30, Congress will need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR). A CR is essentially just an authorization for all government budgeting to continue at current levels for a specified period of time. It’s a simple idea, based on the obvious fact that “the fiscal year” is an arbitrary concept.
Think of “the fiscal year” like “scheduled arrival time” for your flight back to D.C. If there are unexpected head-winds that slow the aircraft’s speed, “scheduled arrival time” gets revised. The pilot doesn’t stop flying the plane just because it’s 4:37 pm.
Likewise, the Continuing Resolution is a rational institutional response to whatever legislative headwinds have delayed passage of appropriation bills. While different factions negotiate budget details beyond the artificial deadline of the fiscal year, financing of government services continues in an orderly fashion by passing a CR.
Ordinarily this is a routine matter. But this year, MAGA/Freedom Caucus extremists are refusing to pass any CR that doesn’t include what they can’t achieve through normal negotiations and votes in the House. Returning to our analogy, they are refusing to revise the plane’s scheduled arrival time unless their demands are met.
No longer clowns, they’ve become terrorist hijackers, threatening to crash the plane.
With the anniversary of 9/11 this week, some may object to comparing elected Republican Congress Members to those responsible for that heinous act. But there’s no doubt that in their way, the January 6 attackers and their supporters pose more of a threat than Al Queda ever did.
On 9/11 and in the wars that followed, there have been terrible casualties suffered by far too many Americans. But none constituted a true threat to our democracy like what we’re facing today from those using the Republican Party as a weapon.
MAGA extremists in the House are not ordinary politicians. They're not just another minority voting bloc like Libertarians, or even the Tea Party. The MAGA faction supports and identifies with convicted January 6 conspirators. They speak openly and proudly of a coming civil war. Their intent is to obstruct and disrupt, not to legislate. They actively wanted a U.S. debt default, and now they actively want to shutdown the government.
It’s essential that this reality be recognized — especially by Main Street establishment Republicans. Ultimately they are the only ones who can stop radical right-wing extremism in the House. That’s why we’re calling on them to join with Democrats to remove Mr. McCarthy from the Speakership. His weakness and lack of authority is facilitating an internal assault on our Capital.
Impeachment Inquiry? It’s the sideshow.
Every circus needs a sideshow, and Speaker McCarthy has just directed everyone’s attention to this one. There we’ll see the illusionist, the fire-breather, the knife thrower, the contortionist and a few other freaks — all gathered together to perform for a dumb-struck media too dazzled by the spectacle to call it what it is.
Despite all the breathless stories and speculation, there is zero chance that an actual impeachment will arise from this “inquiry”. How can we be so certain? For one thing, there aren’t enough votes among Republicans even to initiate the inquiry.
Less than two weeks ago, Mr. McCarthy told Breitbart News: “…if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person.” On Tuesday, he did exactly the opposite, unilaterally making that declaration. Just like during the debt ceiling negotiations, he doesn’t have the votes to support what he’s promoting.
Moderate Republicans, like Rep. Bacon (R-NE), publicly criticized the move saying “We’ve got to have some kind of direct evidence of a crime that points to the President. . . . We don't want an impeachment to be this thing we do with every presidency. It shouldn't be revenge politics . . . it’s not good for the country.”
More significantly, even some ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus Members, like Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) don’t support the inquiry: “The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden – if there’s evidence linking President Biden to a high crime or misdemeanor. That doesn’t exist right now,”
So why the sideshow? According to Mr. Buck, Speaker McCarthy is just trying to divert attention from the fact that he promised one set of spending numbers to MAGA, and a different set to President Biden (and the country) in the debt ceiling agreement. “What he’s doing is he’s saying ‘there’s a shiny object over here, and we’re really going to focus on that,’”
We need to concentrate our efforts.
Over the course of the past few months, we’ve assembled an extensive contact list including information for 17 Representatives and about 50 political media journalists. You can find all of these here: Updated Contact List .
But last week in our post A (Slightly) Different Approach, we discussed the need to focus on contacting just two media personalities, asking that they write or host a segment on our proposal for replacing Speaker McCarthy:
Jennifer Rubin, columnist at the Washington Post (email@example.com) and Rachel Maddow, broadcast journalist at MSNBC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes to email both, using your own words or some variation on these:
This week, we’re focusing on contacting just two Republican and two Democratic Representatives. Our influence is greatly enhanced when dozens of us call the same office within a few days. So pick up your phone and leave a message for each of these four Members:
1. Brian Fitzpatrick: (202) 225-4276 D.C. —— (215) 579-8102 District
2323 Rayburn House Office Building - Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 1717 Langhorne Newtown Rd. Suite 225 — Langhorne, PA 19047
Represents Pennsylvania’s 1st District, in Congress since 2016; formerly was FBI Special Agent and Federal Prosecutor; embedded with U.S. Special Forces in Iraq; represents swing district (carried by Pres. Biden 52% to 46%); said he could not vote for Trump; opposed GOP effort to repeal Obamacare; opposed building border wall; supported Paris climate agreement; opposed efforts to overturn 2020 election.
Brian Fitzpatrick is co-chair of Problem Solvers Caucus. He was also just appointed to United States Group of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (legislators from NATO-member countries working together on global security issues).
2. Don Bacon: (202) 225-4155 D.C. —— (402) 938-0300 District
2104 Rayburn House Office Building —Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 3906 Gold Circle, Suite 101 — Omaha, NE 68144
Don Bacon represents Nebraska’s 2nd District, in Congress since 2017; formerly Brigadier General, United States Air Force; has earned four Master’s degrees, including one from the National War College; after retiring from military was Assistant Professor at University of Bellevue (Nebraska) until elected to House in 2016; represents swing district (carried by Pres. Biden 52% to 46%) one of 13 Republicans to vote with Democrats for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act; voted with Democrats to establish January 6 Commission; opposed efforts to overturn 2020 election.
In November 2022, Rep. Bacon said that if Kevin McCarthy did not have enough votes to become Speaker that he’d be willing to “work with like-minded people across the aisle to find someone agreeable for Speaker,” adding “we need to govern. We can't sit neutral; we can't have total gridlock for two years".
1. Ro Khanna: (202) 225-2631 D.C. —— (408) 436-2720 District
306 Cannon House Office Building — Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 3150 De La Cruz Blvd., Suite 240 — Santa Clara, CA 95054 — Fax: (408) 436-2721
Represents California’s 17th District, in Congress since 2017; formerly practicing attorney, also taught at Santa Clara University School of Law and jurisprudence at San Francisco State University; does not accept campaign contributions from PAC’S or corporations.
In January, during the marathon voting for Speaker, Mr. Khanna publicly promoted the idea of a cross-party alliance supporting a compromise Republican candidate for Speaker.
2. Hakeem Jeffries: (202) 225-5936 D.C. —— (718) 237-2211 District
2433 Rayburn House Office Building — Washington, DC 20515
District Office: 55 Hanson Place, Suite 603 — Brooklyn, NY 11217
Minority Leader, Former Chair House Democratic Caucus, represents New York’s 8th District, in Congress since 2012; formerly practicing attorney and state Assemblyman
Here are some suggested guidelines when calling House offices:
Identify yourself. If you live in the Member's district, provide your zip code or home town. If you are not a resident of the district and are asked about your residency, explain that the issue you want to talk about affects every district in the country and that you recognize the Member's influence is also nation-wide. If writing a letter, you can use your email address and/or phone number to identify yourself without mentioning your residence.
Be brief. The more words you use, the less likely they will be passed on to the Representative.
Get right to the point. The issue you want to focus on is obstruction by MAGA extremists who will never vote for appropriation bills that can pass the Senate, as evidenced by promises Kevin McCarthy made in exchange for their support of his bid to become Speaker.
Be specific about the solution. There needs to be a cross-party alliance of moderate Republicans and Democrats, a motion to "vacate the chair", and election of a strong Republican Speaker who owes nothing to MAGA. That person should be someone like Dave Joyce (R-OH 14), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 1), or Don Bacon (R-NE 2). This will restore the normal power dynamic of a Speaker who is in charge, rather than one who is indebted to a radical minority.
Acknowledge that voting to remove the Republican Speaker is a difficult and courageous thing for a Republican Member to do. Similarly, acknowledge that voting for a new Republican Speaker is a difficult and courageous thing for the Democratic Member to do. Loyalty to our democracy and the integrity of the House of Representatives has to come before loyalty to party, and we very much appreciate their willingness to reach across the aisle in partnership.
Be courteous and grateful for the Member's (or their aide's) attention. It's always good to stroke a politician's ego by complementing their work and thanking them for their service to the American people.
The media is full of commentary this week about Kevin McCarthy’s “dilemma”. How will he meet the challenge he faces in trying to balance demands of various Republican factions? What’s missing is a discussion of America’s dilemma: What can be done to confront and combat the MAGA extremism threatening our Republic?
Our task is to publicize the obvious answer to both questions: Remove and replace Speaker McCarthy.