One of your intrepid blogger’s many friends sent me this meme. I could not stop laughing.
I remember Kevin McCarthy. He came from the Bill Thomas, Mark Abernathy squish machine in Kern County. When McCarthy was first elected to the Assembly, you knew he was ambitious and would quickly climb the ladder of leadership.
And he did. Permanent Minority Leader in the Assembly, Congress, then up the leadership ranks.
Regardless of the hyperbole, as someone who has watched Kevin for 20+ years, I can tell you with certainty why Kevin got put through a meatgrinder. Kevin McCarthy and Bill Thomas before him have always had an antipathy for ideological conservatives. McCarthy and his crew (Think Andy Gimmecandy, David Stafford Reade, Jeff Randle, etc.) have assaulted Conservatives for years in safe R seats.
Kevin McCarthy’s second sin is that he likes to control stuff. Wars have been needlessly fought in GOP Organizations between Kevin’s crew and the activists. The war in the College and Young Republicans of the 1990s was slightly before my entrance into the scene in 1997, but I heard a ton about it. I watched and was in the middle of an unfolding CRA drama with his fingerprints on it. The CYR / YRF Merger and the lawsuits were other needless fights.
The current CAGOP Chair and staff are basically all adjuncts of McCarthy. Jessica Patterson got her start in that machine.
You’d think, then, that I’d declare war on Kevin McCarthy and root for him to fail. Nope. McCarthy needs to succeed as Speaker of the House for the benefit of Republicans everywhere.
The net end effect of the war that caused 15 ballots before McCarthy finally was elected speaker was critically essential and represents a seismic shift in the GOP political scene. If you are opposed to McCarthy, stop for a second and consider the following:
McCarthy agreed to put several members of the Freedom Crockus on critical committees. Jessica Patterson has retaliated against Conservatives the entire time she has been chair; she could learn from McCarthy and do the same in California. Jim Brulte and other chairs before him used to give CRA members slots on CAGOP committees. McCarthy agreeing to do this at the federal level means that he was willing to cede a lot of power to the party’s right wing. That is healthy.
McCarthy agreed to several specific demands for investigative committees – including a committee that will investigate the FBI and other corrupted government bodies that have become the Gestapo for the democrat party. This never happened under previous GOP speakers; they have largely taken token measures.
Lastly, if you have read the Right on Daily Blog for any length of time, one of my biggest criticisms of the GOP is that the leadership (almost always squishes) spends too much money and effort on Safe R seats in an obsessive rampage against ideological conservatives. One of the first concessions McCarthy made was an agreement that the Leadership Fund would concentrate only on “target” seats.
Lastly, I am thoroughly disgusted with the behavior of Matt Gaetz. It seemed abundantly clear that his opposition to McCarthy was personal, almost as if he blamed McCarthy for the investigation into sexual misconduct against him from a couple years prior. After vote 14, it was clear that Gaetz had lied to McCarthy about what he would do, which precipitated the confrontation on the floor of Congress. In addition, Andy Biggs and Matt Gaetz were sending fundraising emails bragging about mucking up the process. This self-aggrandizing deceit is another example of so-called values conservatives lowering themselves to the level of the democrats they purport to fight.
Had I been a member of Congress, I’d have approached Kevin McCarthy with a list of things I wanted to see. Once I made a deal with him (in writing), that would have been the end. I am proud of the 14 that did so and exacted several critical concessions (including a slew of rules changes) and then honorably held up their end of the bargain once McCarthy and crew agreed with them.
The people criticizing the 14 need to understand how to govern. The people that still hate Kevin McCarthy after all he did to give the right of the party more of a voice than they have had since 1994 just want to fight and burn stuff down. At some point, when the fight is over and the anger abates, you have to govern.
McCarthy got his ass kicked and was held accountable in a short and very public spectacle for all of this stuff and more. It’s over. McCarthy was elected speaker fair and square, and it cost him a lot.
Kevin McCarthy gave a speech as Speaker for the first time after vote 15. It was clear he had learned some lessons, and the direction of it was consistent with anything and everything your intrepid blogger would want as someone comfortably on the social right of America. It is incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to help McCarthy succeed. Does this mean I endorse Kevin McCarthy? No. It means I want him to succeed, and I will do my part to help Republicans win office. If Kevin does his part and honors his agreements and commitments, I will wholeheartedly endorse him for re-election in 2024. That is fair and constructive.
I hope those of you reading will agree and do the same.