OK, Now It's Getting Serious
No this is not about Trump's indictment.
Note: This site can also be accessed by entering FeathersOfHope.net in your browser window
For new readers, here are links to somr 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)
Spread The Word, Write or Call Today — (April 6)
Escape From MAGA World — (May 3)
Is There A Crack In The Wall? — (June 29)
More Sand In The Gears — (July 21)
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.
A Personal Note — update
Last week for the first time, I posted on this site about a subject other than our effort to remove and replace House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It was my reaction to the indictment of former President Donald Trump for conspiring to obstruct the certification of his successor’s election. I also posted a version of the comment to another Substack publication, Robert Hubbell’s Today’s Edition .
The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of others have expressed that they share the same feeling I described:
“Our democratic home has been ransacked by the one individual we entrusted to be ultimately responsible for its safety and security. . . . The crimes Donald Trump committed are a personal affront, a form of the theft. . . . Donald Trump has attempted to rob from us our rightful place in the democratic order of this republic. While he failed in his attempted robbery, he has inflicted a grievous wound to our faith in that order. It is a wound that may never heal.”
Over the weekend and continuing into this week, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of new members of our Feathers of Hope network. So I want to welcome all you new members and thank you for joining us. I invite you to browse earlier posts in the archive section of our home page. There are about forty or so to choose from, dating back to shortly before the election of Speaker of the House back in January.
Substack’s Feathers of Hope descriptive caption is "A meeting place for activists and their supporters.” As explained in our first few posts:
“(This site) is not intended to be a showplace for one writer's work. Nor is it meant to be a newsletter, or a forum for debating issues. Posts here are not intended to stoke outrage or elicit sympathy. . . . It's purpose is to facilitate doing something about an issue rather than just talking about it.”
With that in mind, I’d like to again welcome all new members, and urge you to make some phone calls, write some emails or letters, and help us persuade Representatives of both parties to resist the minority faction of MAGA extremists — removing and replacing the compromised Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Providing you with details of why, what, who, how, when and where to do so is this site’s reason for being.
On Tuesday, August 1, one of the three major credit rating agencies downgraded our country's AAA rating to AA+.
While that may sound like a small matter to most of us (AA+ is still good, right?), it is something that's only happened once before in our history. That was in 2011, when Standard and Poor’s downgraded our credit in the middle of a debt ceiling crisis just like the one we went through three months ago.
The difference is that this time, it happened after the debt ceiling was raised and a spending agreement signed into law. The Biden administration immediately objected, the White House press secretary saying "It defies reality to downgrade the United States at a moment when President Biden has delivered the strongest recovery of any major economy in the world."
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the downgrade "arbitrary and based on outdated data." Most investors agree and predicted it would have little immediate impact on the economy.
But regardless of whether or not the downgrade was arbitrary and defies reality, there's no denying the truth of this observation by the Fitch agency:
"In Fitch's view, there has been a steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years . . . The repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management."
It would be no stretch to broaden the Fitch statement and note that the “deterioration in standards of government” has eroded confidence in the entirety of our government's functioning. This is hardly a surprise given that there is an extremist faction inside the House of Representatives actively working to disable even the normal day-to-day workings of the American government.
MAGA/Freedom Caucus members have made no secret of their intention to shut down the government on October 1. And unless cooler heads can prevail, they will succeed in doing that.
Oh they’ll pretend to be acting out of principle, deeply committed to fiscal prudence. But they know full well that none of their demands will be met. The fiscally prudent thing to do would be to abide by the agreement codified in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, signed into law by President Biden on June 3, ending the debt ceiling crisis.
All that a shutdown will accomplish is to delay passage of essential funding bills until (again!) a bipartisan majority forms to pass them. It will be just one more "standoff” that further erodes confidence in our democracy.
It’s a Washington truism that all the horse-trading and negotiating that leads to the passage of legislation is based on keeping one’s word. If I scratch your back, I trust you’ll scratch mine, not stab me in it. Once an agreement is reached, there’s an expectation that the terms will be respected. So Senate committees have passed all twelve appropriations bills within the parameters of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
But that is not happening in the House. There the agreement between Speaker McCarthy and President Biden is being totally disregarded not only by the MAGA/Freedom Caucus faction, but by Mr. McCarthy himself. Objections from the 149 Republicans who voted for the agreement are being ignored, creating dissension and growing anger within Republican ranks.
Consequently, only one appropriation bill has passed out of committe, and that one like all the others yet to come has no chance of ever becoming law. Of course, this is of no concern to MAGA extremists. The whole point of their approach is to prevent passage of funding legislation.
They want to shut down the government, just as they wanted a debt default in May. This is not about policy disagreements. The MAGA faction is intent on disrupting, obstructing and damaging the institution itself. Keep in mind that these extremists have very publicly declared their support for convicted and sentenced perpetrators of the assault on our Capital on January 6.
The threat posed by MAGA extremists is amplified by their outsize influence over the Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy. Because the Speaker ultimately controls what legislation comes to the floor of the House, his subservience allows the minority faction (and they are a minority of the 435 member chamber) to disrupt and delay repeatedly until a bipartisan majority eventually forms to defeat them.
Why does the majority of House members allow this to happen?
There are many technical and structural reasons why Representatives may consistently vote for (or against) measures contrary to their preference. Most have to do with party discipline and the way power is distributed within the chamber. But ultimately it’s about pragmatism.
The ideal of “voting one’s conscience” is often honored in the abstract, but rarely exercised in practice. Being one member of a few voting contrary to the direction of party leadership gains that member little, but it costs a lot in terms of power and influence.
Effective party leaders understand the competing pressures and constraints on their members. To maintain order and be productive, various compromises are negotiated among the members on different issues so that no one feels left out of the process.
That’s precisely where this Congress and this leadership differs from the norm and is failing. Because of concessions Kevin McCarthy has made to the MAGA minority, he defers to them over and over, betraying the non-MAGA members of the Republican Caucus. Consequently, these others are being asked repeatedly to cast votes difficult to defend back home in their non-MAGA dominated districts.
It’s been a long time coming, but there is a growing realization of that betrayal, especially among those Republicans who represent very competitive swing districts. (For details, see our June 29 post Is There A Crack In The Wall? )
The moment is ripe for persuasion.
Over the past several months, members of the Feathers of Hope network have made countless phone calls to the offices of moderate Republicans and Democratic leaders, advocating the removal and replacement of Speaker McCarthy. Congressional aides who’ve been answering our calls have become familiar with the proposal and our advocacy of it. Follow-up calls have become easier as a result.
Now that the prospect of another “crisis” is coming into view, the idea of taking preventive action will be ever more attractive. Everyone in Congress knows that only a bipartisan majority in the House can pass bills the Senate will accept and the President will sign to keep our government operating. It’s simple arithmetic.
That same bipartisan majority should act now to avoid the self-imposed damage of a shutdown. It’s time they stop submitting to MAGA’s extortion tactics. We need to persuade them to “vacate the Chair”, replacing Mr. McCarthy. Let’s remind them that the public wants a functioning legislature, not an endless parade of threats and ultimatums.
Updated Contacts List
Along with this post we have published a new contacts list. Find it by clicking here: Updated Contacts . There are the names and contact info for 9 Republican and 8 Democratic representatives. Also included are email addresses for some local party committees and in some cases the executive officers of those committees.
What we want to do is initiate conversations. So whether you make phone calls or not, take the time to send an email to those party leaders. Most will have personal contact with their House representative, and if they hear from enough of us they’re likely to start talking about it. Finally, if you don’t live in a deep red district, contact your own representative as well.
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