Kevin McCarthy-- Unfit To Be A Congressman, Let Alone Speaker Of The House
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Majority Leader of the House-- still on track, if just barely, to replace John Boehner as speaker-- pissed off everyone by admitting that the purpose of the Benghazi committee was to give hyper-partisan Republicans an opportunity to smear Hillary Clinton and bring down her poll numbers. Only a complete moron didn't know that from the day the committee was proposed, but it still isn't something you're supposed to say out loud, even on Fox News. So now Democrats, from Harry Reid in the Senate to Adam Schiff in the House (and Tammy Duckworth in between), are calling for abolishing the committee, and some of the members are threatening to resign from it. Pelosi said she's thinking about yanking all the Dems off the bogus committee.
Even as complete a hack and shill for the GOP establishment as Joe Scarborough was on TV lamenting McCarthy's impolitic public exposure of the GOP plot-- if not the plot itself-- calling it "a rookie mistake." All process; no substance, as always on Morning Joe:
Morning Joe panelist and Bloomberg Politics editor Jon Heilemann also speculated that McCarthy's remarks would damage him in two ways. First, Heilemann said, McCarthy cited the Benghazi committee as one of his top accomplishments as GOP leader rather than an actual act of governing. Second, he said, McCarthy deviated from Chairman Trey Gowdy's (R-SC) and other Republicans' talking points about the committee being nonpartisan and not a "witch hunt."Georgia right-wing fanatic Erick Erickson used the episode to warn Republicans not to elect McCarthy Speaker, writing on his website:
"It gives her [Clinton] a huge talking point, undermines Gowdy and makes, I think, a lot of people in the Republican caucus wonder whether Kevin McCarthy is in fact up to the job of being speaker of the House," Heilemann said.
McCarthy actually admitted that the Benghazi committee was designed to hurt Hillary Clinton politically" and that "[h]e is shallow and unprincipled and is showing what an opportunist he is willing to be. Conservatives in the House call him transactional-- meaning they think they can do business with him-- but at what price?... It's all downhill from here.Yesterday, at the Washington Ideas Forum, when the only gal in Republican House leadership, Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), tried claiming the Benghazi committee isn't just a political tool the GOP came up with to beat up on Hillary, she was booed and hissed at. And on and on and on. But there's more to this than the Benghazi committee, which, thanks to seven of the worst right-wing Democrats, (only three of whom-- Patrick Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema and Collin Peterson-- are still in Congress), is counted as a bipartisan creation. More to the point, a point that Rachel Maddow made brilliantly in her Wednesday night show's opening (the video up top), is the competence of Kevin McCarthy for the job of Speaker.
McCarthy is a consummate schmoozer who just got bounced along by circumstance from one job to another until now he has become the ultimate personification of the Peter Principle, which holds that in a hierarchy-- like Congress-- people tend to "rise to their level of incompetence." As a relatively mediocre politician like McCarthy was promoted and rose in the ranks, he become progressively less effective, since even tangentially good performance in one job certainly doesn't guarantee acceptable performance in the next highest job. When he finally reaches the job where he can't hide poor performance, he doesn't get promoted-- and stays where he is forever (the definition of stagnation).
As Alex Rogers pointed out at the NationalJournal (and Maddow demonstrated in that video above), McCarthy doesn't have even close to the requisite knowledge and experience to do even a vaguely competent job as Speaker. He will always be dependent on-- and at the mercy of-- those around him. Whatever strengths he has have more to do with partisan politics than with legislating or policy. As Rogers put it, McCarthy
rose to the top of D.C. in a flash-- about eight years-- up the leadership ladder, focusing less on negotiating compromises and more on building the ranks of Republicans (taking the House in 2010) and his relationships with them, although in his role as his party’s primary vote-counter there were a handful of high-profile face-plants.Those who think he is up to the task are toadies or people of even less competence than he is.
By the way, though McCarthy's district is shifting demographically (because of a huge influx of Latinos, now 38%), the DCCC hasn't run against him since... since forever. Thanks to the DCCC, he's never been in a competitive race. Last year he was reelected with 75.4% of the vote. He didn't even have a token opponent in 2008 or 2010 and ran unopposed.