September 23, 2023

BACKSTAGE: Why is Ron DeSantis undermining Kevin McCarthy?


Perhaps it’s the close association between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, and Trump, but Ron DeSantis resents something and wants McCarthy circling the drain.

The stakes couldn’t be higher with the budget deadline looming, the crazies acting crazy, and McCarthy somehow needing to get a deal done that allows him to keep his job.

DeSantis is taking sides. He is just doing it behind the scenes, according to Politico.

Florida’s governor is talking to all the wrong people, rooting for the wrong result, and we can only guess why. Politico reports:

“The Florida governor spent about 30 minutes on the phone Wednesday with conservative Reps. Chip Roy of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Bob Good of Virginia — leaders of the cadre that is pushing House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to embrace a shutdown if Democrats won’t agree to hard-right policy demands.”

DeSantis told them the worst thing that could be said:

“I got your back. Keep fighting.”

Take note. This is not a call that DeSantis had to make.

Indeed, he would have to work at inserting himself in a federal issue in which he has no role to play. Plus, there doesn’t appear to be a clear winning side to this fight, at least for Republicans.

No clear winning side? Correct. DeSantis campaign spokesperson Andrew Romeo.

“Ron DeSantis knows that both parties — including the current and previous administration — are to blame for Washington’s reckless spending spree. He is urging congressional Republicans to hold the line in this current spending standoff and end days of rubber stamping multi-trillion dollar spending bills that harm the American people.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Trump’s tax cuts put 25% of the budget deficit in place, the deficit is going down under Biden due to the higher rates and corporate tax.

We all often forget that DeSantis served in the House for three terms and was one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus, so he does feel right at home talking to the folks who are furthest right, the people who are willing to cause the country the most damage, all to drag the country further toward a position held by 20 to 25 people in Congress at any given time.

Still, DeSantis is the governor of one of the largest states in the country, he is running for president — and getting run — so why does he want to stick his nose in something as volatile as this?

Is it associated with the fact that DeSantis believes that, as in Florida, one can’t go too far right?

Does he just want to be relevant in some way? (Because he sure isn’t on the national level right now and it would be hard to do more damage than he’s already done in Florida.)

It doesn’t make much sense because — from the GOP point of view — there is going to be a winning side.

McCarthy has been, umm, volatile. Regarding a motion to vacate him as Speaker of the House, McCarthy said:

“If you think you scare me because you want to file a motion to vacate, move the fucking motion.”


Well, the problem is that someone is likely to take him up on that offer! And then we’ll see what happens.

The problem for the people on the far right is that they don’t have an obvious replacement (someone further right than McCarthy) and McCarthy has Trump’s backing.

Maybe that’s why DeSantis is sticking his nose into this.

This column is based on original reporting by Eugene Daniels at Politico.

I can be reached at and on Twitter @JasonMiciak.

Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.

Jason Miciak

Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here: