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Kevin McCarthy Is Still the Biggest Loser Even If He Wins

Kevin McCarthy
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

An abject and proven failure as a leader, he ended up doing nothing but continuing to appease the liars, the seditionists, and the barbarous members of his caucus.

When you think of the pantheon of exceptional speakers of the House in our nation's history, of course, you start with Nancy Pelosi. I said previously that she was most likely the greatest in history. Pelosi was not only the first woman and ushered through historic legislation, but she was the very definition of the word leader. Her moral and ethical values are beyond reproach.

Then there's Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, who served with distinction for 10 years, from 1977 to 1987, the latter being the year I arrived on the Hill. O'Neill was large in stature and larger than life in person. I recall that you didn't cross Tip O'Neill. He was a gregarious man, full of life, loved his happy hours, but didn't suffer fools. He had the ability to forge a relationship with Ronald Reagan, worked cunningly to get what he wanted, and like Pelosi, kept his members in line.

Personally, I remember shaking his hand, and how large it was. Donald Trump would've been insanely jealous.

Another great speaker was John McCormack (1962-1970), whose record on passing historic legislation might be unmatched. Working with President Lyndon Johnson, McCormack passed the 24th Amendment to ban racist poll taxes, a bill to end Jim Crow, the War on Poverty and Great Society bills, He also played a crucial role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, the Clean Air Act, and a gun control law in 1968. His one blot, which is a big one, is that he supported the Vietnam War.

Now comes Kevin McCarthy. Can you hear the air in the balloon deflate? Or is that history trying to blow him off the speaker's rostrum? That is, if McCarthy becomes speaker -- for the first time in a century, McCarthy failed on his first speakership vote, then the second, then the third, and as of Tuesday afternoon, just for good measure, he failed on a fourth and fifth try -- and now he's going for a sixth.

Happening Now: Watch votes come in for speaker of the House

McCarthy continues to inflict embarrassment and humiliation not just on himself but on the credibility of the U.S. House of Representatives. McCarthy has no earthly idea of what it takes to be a leader, and this stunt he's playing with these votes that are going nowhere is solely due to his vanity and clumsiness.

He gave away the farm to be the speaker. The joke is that he'd trample his own grandmother to become Speaker. The other joke is that McCarthy has no backbone, and to be Speaker you need a rigid backbone. Just ask Nancy Pelosi. If he can't manage just getting elected speaker, how will he manage his caucus, and worse, the whole House? And it's not a joke to say that everyone knows how exceptionally rudderless McCarthy is as a leader.

He's even a bad follower since followers don't prostrate themselves in public with an insurrectionist as McCarthy did with Trump. McCarthy's continuous losses for the speakership are a metaphor for McCarthy's leadership attributes. He is an abject failure.

Where do you start when analyzing McCarthy? First, as the leader of the clown car that is the House Republicans, McCarthy has been anything but effective. If Pelosi's morals and ethics are beyond reproach, McCarthy's are nonexistent.

Anyone who must kowtow to the likes of Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Matt Gaetz has zero principles. Any leader before him would have pushed these nutjobs out of the House or at the very least referred them to the ineffectual House Ethics Committee, who would presumably censured them or at the very, very least, reprimanded them.

McCarthy, who is more desperate than -- well, nothing is more desperate than him slobbering for the speakership -- gave in on so many ludicrous requests by the House Republican whack jobs and still couldn't get the votes he needed to win on the first few ballots. That is the very definition of losing for the sake of losing by a verifiable loser, and he is being thwarted by a car full of losers.

I could offer 1,000 more words on how McCarthy has failed over and over again over the years he has been Republican leader, but there's no room to dredge up all the crud about his nothingness; however, a couple of things stick out that truly demonstrate how pitiful he is.

No backbone! That unimaginable picture of McCarthy with Trump after the January 6 insurrection, smiling next to a man who is twice impeached, is under a deluge of investigations and has been referred to the Justice Department on four criminal acts. History will haunt McCarthy because of that one image.

First, McCarthy blowhardily denounced the attack on the U.S. Capitol in a fiery speech on the House floor. Then, astonishingly, he allows 147 of his caucus -- that's a majority -- to vote against certifying the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Then the wimpy McCarthy flips like a broken light switch and sprints to Mar-a-Lago for that photo op with Trump. At breakneck speed, he went from being an anti-insurrectionist to a fervent insurrectionist.

Perhaps, if he does become speaker, his portrait will be a painting of that picture with Trump, because that's how McCarthy will be remembered best. And history will remember McCarthy as a loser who palled around with the greatest loser in U.S. history.

Disdainfully unempathetic. When Paul Pelosi was attacked late last year, McCarthy rambled on about other attacks in his response; however, when many members of his caucus were spreading memes of a highly offensive Paul Pelosi Halloween costume or retweeting and encouraging rumors about the assailant being Pelosi's male lover or worse, a prostitute, McCarthy said nothing. That's despicable.

History will remember McCarthy for being loathsome and feeble.

Dishonest to a fault. All we need to do is see the most recent example of McCarthy's blissful ignorance of corruption, fraud, and lies. Look no further than how he's handling George Santos, the representative not of Long Island but Fantasy Island.

Santos lied about everything in his life. His use of campaign funds for personal expenditures is shockingly obvious. And he's been "hiding" in plain sight from Brazilian authorities who are now reviving their fraud case against him. There's the "big lie" that McCarthy perpetrated and then there's the "big liar" that McCarthy coddled.

What has McCarthy done about Santos? What has he said? Nothing! His silence indicates that he is complicit in the lies, deceit, and treachery of this habitual fabricator. Why? So McCarthy doesn't lose one vote for speaker. How pathetic that his inaction regarding Santos is all about clinging to one vote? Was it really worth it, Kevin?

History will remember McCarthy as the biggest endorser of liars and lies.

I'm almost hoping that McCarthy becomes Speaker. Let's just imagine how much work will get done in a Republican-controlled House that is run by McCarthy ... thinking ... still thinking ... oh, wait, Hunter Biden. Yes, let's get that laptop and really solve a problem that has been nagging America for years. How can this country move on if we don't secure our democracy and Hunter Biden's laptop?

Sure, there's inflation, there's war -- and by the way, watch McCarthy cave on funding Ukraine -- there's a resurgence of COVID, looming recession, and the increasing threat of North Korea. There are natural disasters piling up, climate change running amok, but that laptop is priority number 1.

Why? Because McCarthy made a deal with the crazies to make Hunter Biden and that laptop a priority so that he could get a few more votes. You're still coming up short, Kevin!

McCarthy made another deal with the zealots that makes it easier for them to dump him, all in exchange for votes to support his bid as Speaker, which never panned out.

If the Republicans' new rules package is passed, one of the provisions gives a single lawmaker the power to call for a vote to topple the speaker. The line of members of his caucus who will want him out might stretch around the Capitol building. I guarantee you, two months into the job, McCarthy's ineptitude will have been on full display.

It's funny how U.S. history is now repeating itself when it comes to leadership. We went from having one of our greatest and most honorable presidents, Barack Obama, to the worst one in our history, Donald Trump. Now we will go to having our country's greatest speaker of the House to its absolute worst.

"Madam Speaker..." morphing distortedly into "Madman Speaker." God help us!

John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate's opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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