In 1815, after Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed in the South of France, former royalist enemies of his started to gradually change their tune.
One of them was a newspaper. The Moniteur Universel was known as le journal de la pensée officielle, an official newspaper of the regime of Louis XVIII. But as Napoleon advanced on Paris, as evidenced by the headlines below, the paper got religion.
“9th March, the Cannibal has quitted his den
— 10th, the Corsican Ogre has landed at Cape Juan
— 11th, the Tiger has arrived at Gap
— 12th, the Monster slept at Grenoble
— 13th, the Tyrant has passed through Lyons
— 14th, the Usurper is directing his steps towards Dijon, but the brave and loyal Burgundians have risen en masse and surrounded him on all sides
— 18th, Bonaparte is only sixty leagues from the capital; he has been fortunate enough to escape the hands of his pursuers
— 19th, Bonaparte is advancing with rapid steps, but he will never enter Paris
— 20th, Napoleon will, tomorrow, be under our ramparts
— 21st, the Emperor is at Fontainbleau
— 22nd, His Imperial and Royal Majesty, yesterday evening, arrived at the Tuileries, amidst the joyful acclamations of his devoted and faithful subjects.”
Such is also the tone of changing reactions to the speakership bid of Kevin McCarthy. At first, most conservatives stuck close to McCarthy. Many still do. Here is Dan Crenshaw, Republican of Texas, Wednesday, on the rebels, “It’s almost like they want to make the point that they don’t have a plan,” he said. “They have zero ability to articulate what they want that would cause them to vote yes. It is utterly confusing, and then they get mad at us for criticizing, it’s actually quite hilarious the self-victimization that occurs.”
Crenshaw said to the insurgents “I’m tired of your stupid platitudes that some consultant told you to say on the campaign trail, alright. Behind closed doors tell us what you actually want, or shut the f— up.”
Quite a statement. But as he was fuming, over 50 Republican conservative poobahs were bailing on McCarthy.
Those calling for McCarthy to drop out include former Reagan administration Attorney General Ed Meese, Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Conservative Action President Ken Blackwell, and David McIntosh, president of Club for Growth. They lauded the rebels, “These members represents the millions of voters across the country who are disgusted with the business-as-usual, self-interested governance in Washington,” the group stated.
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Messe and Thomas are side players. But McIntosh, Blackwell, and others are highly connected and matter. Just how many more ballots can McCarthy ignore his eroding support that ensures stalemate? The Big Mo has swung against him. Can he still pull it out? Yes. However, he’s going to have to cave on so much his speakership will be compromised from the beginning.
Better Scalise, Jordan, or some other Republican House vet with the administrative experience and expertise to do the job. For McCarthy, because of these intransigent insurgents, this run may have become a bridge too far.