It seems hard to believe that Rep. Kevin McCarthy was at one time considered a rising star in the GOP, but it took only a few years for him to fall considerably to his current status of national punchline. Then again, his fate is pretty much typical of what happens to the politicians that seem to be up and coming and are dubbed rising stars by the media. Paul Ryan immediately comes to mind. After not publicly denouncing the rhetoric on his side that led to the Jan 6 insurrection, and also not denouncing the creation of a white supremacist congressional caucus, McCarthy thought it’d be a good political strategy to up his party’s obvious racism with a censure of Rep. Maxine Waters, a humiliating vote that was quickly defeated.
In fact, this political maneuver, an effort to try and paint Democrats as being “just as bad” had rather the opposite effect that McCarthy and his friends were hoping for – with even a group of Republicans rebuking McCarthy for this hypocritical misstep in a new series of ads. The group, Republican Accountability Project, put McCarthy’s actions in context with the more openly violent rhetoric made by Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Louie Gohmert – and gives the perfect tagline for when it comes to running against McCarthy who’s far too incompetent to be trusted with a position of power like House Speaker: “If Kevin McCarthy really opposes dangerous rhetoric, he can start by cleaning up his own house.”
Charges of hypocrisy don’t usually work pretty well with voters in the middle, as it’s usually something that further reinforces a popular but inaccurate notion that both parties are equally bad or corrupt – but painting McCarthy as weak and inept – unable to rein in a reckless number of right-wingers who don’t care about their own constituents is a bit more effective – particularly as the last two Republican House speakers had the same problem. Let’s vote them out accordingly.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making