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Kevin McCarthy's Public Humiliation Is Good News For Biden
The Contrast Is Clear And It Isn't Going Away
Watching Kevin McCarthy publicly humiliate himself over the last few days has been a joy to watch, right up there with Georgia voters rejecting Herschel Walker and millions of voters denying Donald Trump a second term. What’s extra special about the McCarthy debacle is the special kind of incompetence on display, with the Republican leader immediately highlighting that former Speaker Nancy Pelosi was extremely skillful at one key aspect of the job: Wrangling votes.
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McCarthy has had the House vote over and over again without persuading any of his numerous detractors to come on board. They haven’t moved an in inch and as I write this the House has had six leadership votes, all with the same message to McCarthy that he is unwanted and unloved.
But as a practical matter this development is politically good for President Biden and the Democrats.
It is difficult from time to time to make the case to the public that one party is better to lead than another. Politics can be a very abstract thing for ordinary people and translating the gamesmanship and strategy of Washington into terms that busy people can process is difficult.
It doesn’t help that the mainstream media ecosystem loves to reinforce tired, worn-out ideas like the virtue of a Republican Congress at odds with a Democratic White House, working for some mythical super-popular “third way” solution to things. The press reinforces this Aaron Sorkin fever dream without dealing with the realities of the deranged lunacy of modern conservatism, which is more interested in promoting perverse “grooming” fantasies than engaging in real legislating.
I already thought that a Republican House would eventually provide a good contrast for Biden, focused on conspiracy theories like Hunter Biden’s laptop, but the early dysfunction raises those stakes. Already, Biden has been able to make hay of the Republican Party’s political mess, mocking their disorganization at an event where he — standing alongside Mitch McConnell — celebrated a $2 billion+ investment from his infrastructure plan into bridge repair.
For the next two years, Biden and the Democrats can highlight this split screen effect for America. They can truthfully point to the first two years of unified Democratic control as a time when tangible legislative benefits for people finally materialized. Funds from the Rescue Plan are still being given out. Infrastructure construction is underway in every state. Factories are opening thanks to the CHIPS Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
In the Senate, under Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats have greatly diversified the federal bench especially with Black women. It’s not all going to be perfect, but the Senate under an outright majority will be able to serve its oversight function for real issues and not the latest Fox News-driven conspiracy.
Meanwhile, the Democrats can say, Republicans can’t even decide on a leader and that indecision and extremism put a complete halt to the House doing its job.
“Remember when you put us in charge and you got stuff? And with Republicans in charge of just one part of things, they’ve already made a mess. Go back to getting stuff done, vote for us,” is the heart of the message Democrats can and should pound for the coming years.
Even when Republicans sort out their leadership mess, its clear that they don’t have the power or interest in getting much done. While I would not advise premature celebration, because who knows what will gum up the works down the line, the prospects for conservative success don’t look great. The opposition to McCarthy isn’t even truly ideological because on paper he is as extreme to the right as his detractors are. They don’t have any real policy goals to score against Democrats, but rather are all searching for virality within the Fox News universe to “own the libs.” That isn’t a strategy to win a war, but one to puff up a temporary ego.
Things are going to be bad sooner rather than later, the last few decades show us this is inevitable, but right now it’s fine to enjoy conservative suffering and dysfunction. They earned this and we deserve it as a treat after all we have gone through.
Another round, Kevin.
Exclusive Kal-El Photo
Even when he’s a bad boy I can’t stay upset at him. I mean … look.