In his 2021 memoir “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” Adam Schiff tells a story of a chance encounter with Kevin McCarthy. They found themselves on the same commuter flight to Dulles airport in 2010. It was an uncomfortable encounter that they both filled, as best they could, with stilted conversation and silence. In the course of their brief time together, Schiff expressed the opinion that he believed the Democrats would win the 2010 midterm election. McCarthy said he thought the Republicans would win. And so on.
Returning to his office on the Hill, Congressman Schiff thought no more about the conversation until McCarthy brought it up in a press conference. McCarthy told reporters that he believed the Republicans would win the midterms and, in a recent conversation, he claimed Adam Schiff had said the exact same thing.
Congressman Schiff was naturally shocked by this lie. As soon as he could, Schiff confronted McCarthy on the floor of the Congressional chamber. Schiff accused McCarthy of deliberately misquoting him. In fact, he accused McCarthy of knowing perfectly well he deliberately misquoted him. McCarthy’s reply? “I know Adam, but, you know how it goes.”
Perhaps we all didn’t know how it went back in 2010. But we do now. McCarthy was a man ahead of his time in his blatant lack of moral compass. He was a harbinger of the horror to come, a sort of perverse John the Baptist preparing the way for his lord and saviour Donald Trump.
I think you’ll all agree that, just as there are different kinds of murders as defined by different jurisdictions in the United States, there are different kinds of lies. For example, the accidental killing of a person through non-criminal negligence is sometimes called third degree murder. The equivalent in the world of the lie is when you pass on an untruth that you believe to be true.
A crime of passion, where an argument ends with one person dead, is what we call voluntary manslaughter. The equivalent lie is when you tell a lie at the spur of the moment in order to save yourself from embarrassment or avoid hurting the feelings of another.
Then there’s first degree murder. That’s where you plan the murder in advance or hire another to commit the murder for you. That’s lying in wait, if you will. The lie equivalent is when the liar deliberately tells the lie, they know they’re telling a lie but they don’t care. That’s the serial killer of the lying world. That’s Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy’s latest foray into the world of lying came after he further devalued the ultimate majestic tool of presidential misconduct, impeachment. I’m referring, of course, to McCarthy’s recent announcement of an impeachment inquiry into the President of the United States.
Not only is McCarthy going ahead with the inquiry without having a shred of evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of the President, he’s doing so in contradiction to what he said he’d do just 12 days earlier. Just a week and five days before unilaterally launching the inquiry, McCarthy told Breitbart News that if the House moved forward on an impeachment probe, “it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person.”
When a CNN reporter tried to point this out to him, McCarthy steamrollered him and said that Nancy Pelosi did the same thing when she launched an impeachment probe of Donald Trump. He refused to let the reporter ask the question and kept interrupting him so he couldn’t finish the sentence.
There’s a problem with that, however, because all this impeachment probe business takes place in the shadow of the 2020 decision of the Trump-led Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that decreed that an impeachment inquiry could not go forward until after a deciding vote by the full house. So when McCarthy invokes Pelosi he’s being doubly disingenuous: she was under no such OLC obligation because she launched her probe a full year before the OLC requirement.
Indeed, the OLC decree was created expressly because Ms Pelosi did what she did. Now comes the First Degree serial liar Kevin McCarthy to not only defy the OLC stipulation but to falsely blame Nancy Pelosi for breaking a rule that didn’t even exist at the time she announced her own evidence-laden impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump.
This is classic McCarthy. This is the morals-free man we and Adam Schiff have come to know so well over the years. This is the craven little shit who will do anything, ANYTHING, to hang onto his speaker’s gavel, including hypocritically lying on behalf of his puppet masters Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert.
Therefore, with the power vested in me, I hereby decree that Kevin McCarthy, leader of the House Vichy Republicans, in cooperation with the House Nazis MAGA wingnuts Greene, Gaetz and Boebert, and in the tradition of previous craven House Speakers such as the incomparable weakling Newt Gingrich and the disgusting sexual predator Dennis Hastert, be conferred with the title of Cretin of the Week, and all the shame and disgrace pertaining thereunto. Kevin “cave-in” “mollusk” McCarthy, I name you Cretin of the Week! And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.