Wednesday, September 30, 2015


On Monday Last night, Kevin McCarthy, who's likely to be the next House Speaker, was interviewed on Fox by Sean Hannity. Oliver Willis watched and noticed that McCarthy indirectly acknowledged the obvious:
The House of Representatives Select Committee on the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi is all about attacking Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, admits a senior Republican.

Current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News host Sean Hannity during an interview on Monday night ... that Clinton’s dropping poll numbers are evidence of the effectiveness of the committee....

It is a tacit admission by the second most powerful Republican in the House that the Committee’s true goal is taking out Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate.
Here's what McCarthy said. He and Hannity were talking about what's going to be different in the House now that John Boehner has resigned as Speaker.
MCCARTHY: ... What you're going to see is a conservative speaker, that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a strategy to fight and win. And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought and made that happen.
Beyond the acknowledgment of an obvious fact -- that the committee's goals are entirely political -- notice that McCarthy doesn't even bother with the right's usual phony sanctimony about Benghazi. There's not one mention of the four Americans who died in the Benghazi attack. There's none of this:

I guess the pretense that this is about lost lives is being dropped.

Go to 4:04 in the clip for the Benghazi exchange:

The conventional wisdom about McCarthy is that he's not one of the lunatic zealots, but in this interview he's certainly trying to establish his lunatic-zealot cred. The first thing he tells Hannity is that, yes, the House has voted to repeal Obamacare dozens of times, but things are going to be different now -- not because he's come to his senses and plans to discourage any additional repeal votes, which is what a sane right-centrist would do, but because the post-Boehner House is going to use reconciliation to fight Obamacare.

So he's saying he'll double down on relentless Obamacare opposition. And then, near the end of the interview (go to 5:19), he promises to double down on the Planned Parenthood inquisition, using new tactics -- it sounds as if he's promising some sort of tax-funded anti-Planned Parenthood roadshow, plus, apparently, a propaganda effort coordinated with Fox:
McCARTHY: This is what we're going to do, Sean, and we're not going to be able to do it alone: We're going to put a strategy together. Just as we do a select committee on Planned Parenthood, so we go out across the country, and they see. The president won't even watch those videos. The Democrats won't watch those videos. We need America to watch those videos. And you know what? We need your help as well.
I see a lot of lefties arguing that the GOP's ongoing Planned Parenthood witch hunt is a colossal political blunder, because polls show strong support for the organization. It's quite possible that it is a miscalculation -- but I worry when Republicans go on open-ended hunts for alleged villainous behavior in this way. Whitewater was a nothing scandal -- until it morphed into Monicagate. Benghazi was a nothing scandal -- until it morphed into Emailgate.

This is aimed primarily at Hillary Clinton. These SOBs know that, on a subconscious level, any attack aimed at Planned Parenthood can implicitly be one on Hillary because, to a lot of people, Planned Parenthood = militant feminism and Hillary = militant feminism. I know that's not true about Planned Parenthood for the majority of Americans, but I'm guessing that Republicans think it could be true for aging white Catholics in high-electoral-vote states such as Ohio and Michigan. Anything that might keep those aging white Catholics from coming home to the Democratic Party in November 2016 is worth it to the GOP. And if that doesn't work, the Planned Parenthood fatwa is certainly a unity builder for the party, which desperately needs one.

So expect McCarthy to be a supposed establishmentarian who gives a lot of leeway to the loons.


UPDATE: Dave Weigel writes this up or The Washington Post and makes it seem as if McCarthy made all these rightward gestures because he was browbeaten:
Sean Hannity was pushing hard, asking House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to name some promises his Republicans had actually delivered on. He scoffed when McCarthy said the party would start undoing the Affordable Care Act -- "you have the power of the purse!" He talked over McCarthy when the leader and candidate for Speaker of the House suggested that the party did not need to cut funds for President Obama's "amnesty," because courts had taken care of it. Only halfway into the interview did McCarthy finally catch a break.

"Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" McCarthy asked. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought."

"I give you credit for that," said Hannity. "I'll give you credit where credit is due."
Watch the clip -- yes, Hannity was pressing the uncompromising-zealot party line, but McCarthy seemed awfully eager to demonstrate his loon bona fides.


UPDATE: Regarding McCarthy's admission, I agree 100% with Martin Longman (BooMan): This was no blunder.
Now, I know that in certain Beltway circles telling the truth is considered one of the worst possible gaffes, but McCarthy bragged about the effectiveness of this smear campaign precisely because he wanted to remind people that the Republicans deserve credit for finding ways to effectively fight back against the Democrats. In other words, he was reminding the Republican base voter that there actually are examples where the Republican leadership did something extraordinarily partisan and obnoxious and that it worked. The reaction will probably be exactly what he hoped for. He gets a pat on the head and a couple of “Atta Boys.”

The idea that Republican members of Congress will clutch their pearls in horror that McCarthy defended their performance is a big reach, in my opinion.


Ed Crotty said...

The wingnuts have their first scalp - anyone who thinks they will slow down now is kidding themselves. They will accelerate the crazy until the election if/when they get sent to the woodshed. Or we will have President Trump and the end of our "experiment" with democracy. One or the other.

Ten Bears said...

More cover for Willard and the Retards failing campaign's failed attempt to stage a Reaganesq October surprise.

Yes, Retards. Look it up.

Unknown said...

T-Bears, for a time I played with the same toy. But it's actually not nearly so easy now to go down that route. Since the 2008 presidential cycle, both major parties have been installing ever stronger filing deadlines in order to stave off late insurgencies. Now what's in place is a series of what operate sort of like state-to-state checkpoints (for those with any experience in having traveled about Mexico). Ostensibly they're to deal with populist campaigns, but what's happened in this cycle is that the closest pols to populists (for the Dems it would be Bernie; for the GOP, take your pick) all filed well in advance of the opening gun.

But the less obvious feature in these 'reforms' - and, again, BOTH parties have them in place - is they also allow for the main Party Insiders

(for the Dems, that'd be the DNC itself, the DCC, what & who stay behind from OFA, the 2 over-seer Congress election committees, & the cinch super-delegates;
for the GOP, it'd be the RNC itself - Charlie Black, essentially - the Heritage group & others connected to it, those of the billionaire donor class with one foot in the RNC apparatus, the 2 over-seer Congress election committees, the Chamber of Commerce, the amalgamation of fundies Ralph Reed still claims to speak for, &, importantly, media types, most obviously Ailes but just as importantly the chairs of the major networks)

to allow, facilitate, parachute or promote a late-entry ESTABLISHMENT candidate, in case it appears the given party's orthodox primary process appears to have gone off the rails for whatever reason.

In the case of the DNC, the biggest potential problem is HRC's health. People assume Biden's holding back for this reason, and to the limited extent he's even been thinking seriously and productively about it - I don't think it's been all that productive, given his family circumstances in particular - that could be so: it is, after all, about contingencies.

But in the case of the RNC, there's a big scary problem they've got no matter how the primary season goes on: they COULD end up with an unelectable candidate from outside as well as from inside the established, traditional routes to nomination, and they only too aware of that.

However, they also know offsetting this is that the RNC structure parting the waters to let Mitt in late could well be seen - IMO WOULD be - as the final insult to the Base, a.k.a. the TPer/FreeDumber Know Nothings. And to ice that particular cake, they might not even succeed, any more than regular party order succeeded in stopping the original Know Nothings, resulting in sudden death for the RNC.

Ten Bears said...

Ahhhh... perhaps I was obtuse. I was making the suggestion - indeed, it is my conviction - that Willard Romney is responsible for the deaths of those four Americans at Benghazi, and that Hillary Rodham Clinton's responsibility is peripheral at best and the ongoing Retard witch-hunt is naught but now more concrete cover for their desperate involvement in staging a "terrorist attack" on the embassy intending to secure hostages Willard could miraculously "rescue" early on All Hallows Eve. Then it was all about Obama, now (as long timers here know, no Clinton fan I) it's all about Hillary. Convenient, no?

White Hat said...

How true.

Being a Republican is all about proving tribal affiliation. Facts, truth, The American Way, etc., are all secondary to proof of partisanship.

McCarthy is our next Speaker. Sad.

Unknown said...

WH, guess who's here? ORANGE DOOKIE: Miss me yet?

I really fail to see how Boehner's resigning, as opposed to Boehner losing in a vote (which neither he nor the party's owners would want), (worse) Boehner only surviving with Dem votes, is materially different from McCarthy being voted Speaker. If anything, the Freedom Caucus has to be disappointed they didn't get to claim his hide in a vote contest, given how little they ever win anything by voting.

Dark Avenger said...

White Hat, he's my rep, so our area has the double trouble of suffering from the ongoing drought, and nationally known for having a Teapublican POS as our Congressman.