It was an entertaining day for political junkies like me, especially those of us who are retired and could watch Kevin McCarthy being fired as Speaker of the House in real time.
The pleasure was intensified by this being a battle between two truly obnoxious people, McCarthy and Representative Matt Gaetz -- a far-right House member who initiated the "move to vacate" procedure that ended up with the Speaker position being vacant because eight Republican House members and all of the Democratic House members who voted on this wanted McCarthy gone.
So today, on a 216-210 vote, McCarthy became the first House speaker in American history to be expelled from his position. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy, since McCarthy managed to irritate both Republicans and Democrats during his less-than-stellar nine months as Speaker.
His latest big mistake was blatantly lying on Face The Nation last Sunday, which I watched. Along with the moderator, Margaret Brennan, I was shocked when McCarthy said House Democrats tried to stop the budget deal that passed the House in just enough time to avert a government shutdown.
Brennan correctly told McCarthy that the deal passed with more Democratic votes than Republican votes. So McCarthy had it backwards. It was the members of the GOP caucus who wanted to stop the deal, while Democrats saved the day by voting for it.
It's this sort of truth-denying crap that did McCarthy in. He could have praised Democrats for supplying the votes needed to prevent a government shutdown and promised more bipartisanship in the future.
While House Democrats detest McCarthy for opening an impeachment inquiry into President Biden even though there's no evidence Biden committed an impeachment-worthy offense, and McCarthy's sucking up to Donald Trump just a week after the January 6 insurrection was a profile in cowardice, there's a decent chance McCarthy could have gotten enough Democratic support to remain Speaker if he hadn't acted like the total jerk that he is.
Reportedly when House Democrats met this morning to discuss their position on the Gaetz motion to vacate, video of what McCarthy said on Face The Nation was shown. That was the tipping point against McCarthy for undecided Democrats.
But McCarthy dug his own political grave. It took 15 votes for him to be elected Speaker back in January. That only happened after McCarthy gave far-right Republicans everything they asked for, which included a rule that a motion to vacate the Speaker position could be initiated by only one House member.
Today that rule bit him in his butt. Yet true to form -- lying to the end -- I heard McCarthy say in a press conference after he was ousted that he disagreed with a single Representative being able to force a vote on vacating the Speaker position.
You were the one who agreed to that rule!, countless political observers screamed at the television when McCarthy uttered that blatant lie.
So what happens now? Well, the House is adjourned until next week, giving GOP House members time to consider who they want to be the next Speaker. Of course, this means that nothing else will be going on in that chamber, like figuring out the contours of the federal budget that has to be passed by mid-November.
Democrats are enjoying the Republican dysfunction. This will make for great ads in the 2024 election, when Democrats hope to retake the House. Nothing like chaos in the narrow GOP House majority to make voters long for Democratic stability.
If House Republicans choose a new Speaker who is just as right-wing as McCarthy was, or even more so, this pretty much guarantees more chaos. The only way a federal budget is going to be enacted into law is by reaching agreement with the Democratic majority Senate and President Biden.
If House Republicans dig in their heels and demand massive budget cuts to popular programs, causing the Senate and Biden to reject the proposal, this won't go over well with voters when the government shuts down in mid-November.
On the other hand, if a new Speaker works with House Democrats on a bipartisan budget deal, this will infuriate Gaetz and his band of far-right Republicans. This time, though, Democrats might be inclined to support a Speaker who is more bipartisan and trustworthy than McCarthy was.
So at the moment it's looking good for Democrats and bad for Republicans. Of course, in politics moments change rapidly.
Here's a couple of tweets (oops, X posts) that both amused and horrified me today.