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Hullabaloo


Friday, October 09, 2015

 
Kevin McCarthy, GOP extremism & the Village’s asinine false equivalence between left and right

by digby

I wrote about the crazy right and the media who just won't believe what they're seeing for Salon today:

Surfing through the cable news channels yesterday morning, it was clear that the beltway wags were preparing to spend the day indicting Hillary Clinton for buckling under pressure to left-wing fanatics who have taken over the Democratic Party and forced her to take a position against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal against her will. The word had gone forth from NBC’s First Read that Hillary Clinton had obviously flip-flopped from her true beliefs on the issue in the most flagrantly dishonest way possible and had therefore cemented “every negative stereotype about her.”

During MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” they even called in Chris Matthews to analyze the fallout from this terrible decision and the talking heads agreed this showed the left was driving the train. With a socialist gunning for the presidency (a socialist who won’t even agree to join the Democratic Party!) unions calling the shots on trade and tree-huggers bringing the hammer down on the environment, the Democrats were in the same predicament as the right with Hillary Clinton being forced, in Matthews’ words, to “bow to the extreme.” And so a new Beltway meme was born.

Or rather, it was stillborn since within minutes of Mitchell and Matthews declaring that the Democratic Party’s hippies were driving the Party straight over the cliff with all their unreasonable demands, the news broke that the presumptive Speaker of the House, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, had dropped his news that he was withdrawing from the race. What followed was the kind of chaos you normally only see during a natural disaster or a bomb scare, with sweaty reporters shoving microphones into the face of every person who looked like he or she might be a Republican and anchors back in the studios shaking their heads in disbelief. How on earth could this have happened?

Of course, it was entirely predictable. After all, John Boehner had been forced to resign because he simply could not get his fractious caucus to work together to do the business congress is tasked with doing. And John Boehner was a 25-year congressional veteran who understood how to work every lever to get that job done. It remains a mystery why anyone thought that Kevin McCarthy — a man who had only been in Congress only since 2007 and whose rhetorical skills made George W. Bush sound like Martin Luther King Jr. by comparison — would fare better than Boehner. MSNBC’s Luke Russert seemed to think that he would be more successful because had gone to some lengths to “stay in touch” with all the members by texting them frequently, but that was about it.

McCarthy’s epic gaffe, admitting that the Select Committee on Benghazi is a partisan sham, was likely the most important reason for his fall from grace and subsequent inability to put together enough votes to win. And there were rumors circulating about a personal scandal. But by all accounts it was the anti-establishment Freedom Caucus yanking McCarthy’s chain so hard with demands for greater say in policy and process that made him realize he couldn’t win the vote. Evidently, his assurances that he would not be John Boehner were simply not enough to assuage their concerns. (All that texting seems not to have done the trick after all.) Indeed, one wonders why everyone assumed they would fall in line — after all, they never had when he was the party whip.

Robert Costa at the Washington Post reported that the far right leveled some specific demands that McCarthy simply couldn’t meet:
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), the leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, asked McCarthy to publicly oppose efforts by establishment groups — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others — to run radio and TV ads criticizing conservatives who defied their own leaders.
In other words, they wanted the Speaker of the House to take their side in disputes with … himself. Once he understood the impossibility of his position, McCarthy wisely withdrew.

The media were completely shocked — as they are every single time the House GOP caucus behaves like the radicals they are.

Read on about Paul Ryan and their dream of him as a savior.