December 11, 2023
NPR Reporter on PBS: Most House Republicans Want to 'Burn It All Down'

On Monday nights, the PBS NewsHour usually airs the pundit panel of NPR White House reporter Tamara Keith and political forecaster Amy Walter. It doesn’t usually have the fireworks of the Capehart & Brooks panel on Fridays, but both women ripped conservative House Republicans on the latest edition.

Liberals always display nostalgia for the “good old days” of Eisenhower-Nixon-Ford Republicanism, what’s been called me-too Republicanism, I’ll be for a slightly less expensive version of your “Great Society” statism. 

PBS anchor Amna Nawaz quoted from Walter’s latest report:

You said: “If you step back from the day-to-day chaos, it’s easier to see this as part of a longer trajectory, one in which the so-called establishment has been gradually and effectively undermined for the last 30 years.”

Walter lamented the rise of Gingrich in 1994…which was the first House Republican majority in almost 50 years: 

WALTER: I was really struck by the fact that this began really back in 1994, the first set of sort of disrupters, anti-establishment started by Newt Gingrich, the Gingrich Revolution in 1994.

Then we moved to the second group of revolutionaries, I would call them. That was the Tea Party back in 2010, and, then, finally, what we have now with Trump and MAGA. And what’s really interesting, Amna, when you look at the trajectory of this, there’s something that all of these groups have in common.

The first is not just that they disliked the leadership, but what they saw was a Republican leadership that wasn’t fighting hard enough against Democrats, that saw compromise as something that was considered more of a sin than an asset.

What you also see is, in between each of these periods, the leadership or the establishment seems to think it found a way to either incorporate, accommodate, or fight back or repel those disrupters, those rebels, only to find that a new set of rebels was standing at the gate a few years later.

Gingrich rebelled against President George H.W. Bush shredding his “no new taxes” pledge in 1990. “Compromise” is good — when it moves the country to the left and grows the government. NPR’s Keith — who leads the White House Correspondents Association — took that analysis to a new level, where being against a massive and massively expanding government is for “burning it all down.” Government-funded journalists gotta love government.

KEITH: I see this divide shaping up in the Republican Party that, essentially, what’s happening in the House is a reflection of a broader divide in the Republican Party, where there’s maybe like 20 percent or 30 percent of Republicans who don’t want to burn it all down and who have discomfort with Trump or, in Emmer’s case, supported — or were willing to accept that Joe Biden won the election.

And then you have the rest of them who have fully gone all in on sort of the Trump Republican Party. And that includes foreign policy. That includes — it’s easy to forget, but there was a time where there was a bipartisan deal to avoid a government shutdown. It looked like there wouldn’t be a government shutdown.

And then Trump himself said, “oh, no, I don’t like that.” And then there was a government shutdown. So, there really is this divide between Republicans who realize that governing requires some bipartisan compromise just because of the sheer math, and those that don’t care.

And it’s hard to find a speaker candidate who can bridge that divide.

Speaking of “sheer math,” if Tam were doing any, she would recall that 3.6 percent of House Republicans voted against keeping Kevin McCarthy as speaker….and 100 percent of Democrats went along with the “burn it all down” option.