Congressman Matt Gaetz
WASHINGTON -- I am very surprised that so many adults are having such a difficult time of it in dealing with the Hon. Matt Gaetz, Florida's boy congressman. The American Spectator had Gaetz as a guest at one of our Saturday Evening Club meetings several months ago, and I, as the host of the affair, had very little difficulty in handling him. He was unruly the minute he joined us, and soon he was gone.
I thought at first of giving him the greeting card that I always keep handy, lest things get out of hand. It reads: "The Management requests that you leave quietly." Yet the congressman was becoming disagreeable, and so I simply gave him the old heave-ho. He objected in a petulant manner, but I would have none of it, and he got the message. He vamoosed before I could call in the authorities.
He had been difficult earlier with my staff who were preparing the dinner. He had promised them to attend the meeting, but then he backtracked. Then he agreed to attend a truncated meeting, but again he backtracked. Now he would stay for dinner but leave early. After the dessert, I presume. He claimed he had to attend a television show. Well, television is never allowed to preempt a Saturday Evening Club meeting. So, the boy congressman was bid adieu, and, as he hunkered down and lurched out into the night, one of the club members murmured, "Good riddance."
I, of course, maintained my composure and said nothing. After all, few of the club members even noticed the congressman's departure. We have been holding these meetings for something like 35 years. They have included congressmen, senators and Supreme Court justices. Even Norman Mailer was once in attendance. No one had ever been ejected until Gaetz's arrival and his hasty departure.
What apparently so perturbed Gaetz in the then-speaker's remarks or actions remains unclear. Though this is typical of the boy congressman. All he does is huff and puff and head off to the next television show. On cable news, he apparently is a star. Though how long that is going to last is a mystery. He has yet to outline a list of his complaints, and as for his plan to balance the budget, he has yet to even try. That is enough for his seven co-conspirators who are as eager as the Hon. Gaetz is to tender complaints, but as reluctant as he is to issue a balanced budget.
About the only person to say anything at all sensible last week was the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and he said it in a blunt rebuff to the Hon. Gaetz and his seven fellow malcontents. Gingrich called Gaetz an "anti-Republican" who "has become actively destructive to the conservative movement." Gingrich was just getting started. He said Gaetz "is destroying the House GOP's ability to govern and draw a sharp contrast with the policy disasters of the Biden administration."
Then, unlike Gaetz and his fellow malcontents, Gingrich offered the Republicans some constructive things to do in the remaining months of their terms in office. Republicans "should be focused on cutting spending in appropriations bills. Republicans should be focused on advancing their impeachment inquiry into President Biden. They should be pursuing and amplifying immigration policy changes to address the wildly out-of-control southern border. Instead of taking these positive steps -- which would help move the conservative agenda forward -- Gaetz has been egocentrically going from TV show to TV show and attacking his own party."
Well, I say it is time for Republicans to rid their party of "anti-Republicans." I say give him the old heave-ho.
Glory to Ukraine!
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. His memoir, "How Do We Get Out of Here? Half a Century of Laughter and Mayhem at The American Spectator -- From Bobby Kennedy to Donald J. Trump," was published by Post Hill Press in September.
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