Questions Of Motivation

Republican Representative George Santos of New York was expelled from the House of Representatives on Friday of last week. The vote was 311-114-2-8. This was the third attempt at expulsion, (keep in mind that Santos didn’t take his seat until January of this year). I’d like to list the 112 Republicans who voted to keep Santos in office. 8 (split 5-3 Republicans to Democrats) did not vote; I’ll comment one on. Then I’d like to explore the motivation for some of the votes. (Even a political junkie like me isn’t comfortable ascribing motivations to many of the back benchers.) Totally perplexing to me are the two Democrats who voted “Present”.

Before I get into lists and assumed reasoning I will just state that from the Republican standpoint it was smart politics to get rid of Santos. He already announced that he was not running for reelection and if he had he would have stood zero chance of defending his seat. In fact, I very much doubt he could have won a Republican primary. Rest assurred, there would have been one! Santos was someone a lot of Democratic candidates seeking to unseat downstate New York Republicans could have pointed to. By November he will still be a weapon for the Democrats but he will be “yesterday’s news”. Especially considering the Republicans’ narrow House majority, you really have to question why any Republican would vote to keep him in the chamber.

Here are the 112 who voted to keep him in his seat: Mark Alford, Eric Burlison, Sam Graves, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Jason Smith of Missouri, Jodey Arrington, Brian Babin, John Carter. Michael Cloud, Pat Fallon, Lance Gooden, Wesley Hunt, Ronny Jackson, Morgan Luttrell, Michael McCaul, Troy Nehls, Chip Roy, Keith Self, Pete Sessions. Beth Van Duyne, Randy Weber and Roger Williams of Texas, Jim Baird, Jim Banks and Victoria Spartz of Indiana, Aaron Bean, Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz, Laurel Lee, Brian Mast, Cory Mills, Bill Posey, Maria Salazar, Greg Steube and Michael Waltz of Florida, Andy Biggs, Eli Crane, Paul Gosar and Debbie Lesko of Arizona, Dan Bishop and Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, Lauren Boebert, Doug Lamborn and Anna Paulina Luna of Colorado, Mike Bost and Mary Miller of Illinois, Josh Brecheen and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlias, Chuck Fleischmann, Diana Harschbarger, David Kustoff and Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Jerry Carl, Barry Moore, Gary Palmer, Mike Rogers and Dale Strong of Alabama, Ben Cline, Bob Good, Morgan Griffith and Robb Wittman of Virginia, Andrew Clyde, Mike Collins, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Barry Loudermilk and Rick McCormick of Georgia, Warren Davidson, Jim Jordan and Mike Turner of Ohio, Jeff Duncan, Russell Fry, Nancy Mace, Ralph Norman, William Timmons and Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Tom Emmer, Brad Finstad and Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota, Mike Ezell and Trent Kelly of Mississippi, Scott Fitzgerald, Mike Gallagher, Tom Tiffany and Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin, Russ Fulcher of Idaho, Harriet Hageman of Wyoming, Andy Harris of Maryland, Clay Higgins, Mike Johnson and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, French Hill of Arkansas, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar and Tim Walberg of Michigan, Darrel Issa, Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock of California, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Carol Miller and Alex Mooney of West Virginia, Scott Perry and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, Matt Rosendale of Montana, George Santos, Elise Stefanik and Claudia Tenney of New York along with Adrian Smith of Nebraska.

My theory is that, at least for the most part, the 112 were either doing Donald Trump’s bidding or were voting in fear of him. The three Republican leaders in the house: Mike Johnson (Trump’s handpicked guy), Steve Scalise, Tom Emmer and Elise Stefanik all voted to keep Santos in the House. Harriet Hageman who Trump picked to replace Liz Cheney also voted for Santos to stay. Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Byron Donalds, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ronny Jackson, Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, Barry Loudermilk and Scott Perry are all either to some degree implicated in 1/6, the Big Lie and/or simply MAGA nutcases, in many cases they are several or all of the above. (I’m certain I missed many more names.)

Thomas Massie is just plain nuts and has proven it on multiple occasions.

Nancy Mace is possibly the most interesting of the lot. She seems to blow with the wind and you never know how she will vote until the vote is cast. Her public statements are tailored to the audience and are predictive of nothing.

Santos voted in favor of himself. Perhaps the most honest and sensible thing he has done since he entered politics.

The most interesting “not voting” is Kevin McCarthy. You have to wonder if the deposed former Speaker isn’t getting ready to throw in the towel.

While in many cases I question the motivation of the above listed even being charitable in most cases you have to be suspect of their judgement and ability to analyze information. Only late-night comedians and progressive political bloggers will miss Santos. Alas, there is still plenty of material left.

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