Wednesday, April 27, 2022


I know why Donald Trump is expressing support for Kevin McCarthy, despite the anti-Trump remarks McCarthy made in response to the January 6 insurrection, as reported in the new book by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns and released in multiple recordings. Trump is backing McCarthy for the same reason he endorsed former Never Trumper J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate race:

Trump likes it when he can intimidate a onetime opponent. He likes it when ex-adversaries beg for his forgiveness.

And if Trump is backing him, I guess it was inevitable that House Republicans would back him as well. The ones who agreed with McCarthy's original critical remarks about Trump also share his fear of Trump, so they understand his craven submission. And Trump has given them permission not to defenestrate him.

But what about the criticism from Tucker Carlson and Republicans who are Trump purists?

For now, at least, McCarthy is the Schrödinger's cat of MAGA. He is both the House leader who'll lead the America First forces back to control of the House and the useless RINO who'll be at fault when they screw up (because any future can't be the fault of a real Trumper -- Trumpism can't fail, it can only be failed, you see). This is a role previously played, back when Trumpism was called "the Tea Party," by John Boehner and Paul Ryan.

The value of keeping McCarthy in place is that it can always be claimed that genuine Trumpism hasn't been tried. But until McCarthy is blamed and removed from power, he'll be largely deferential to the MAGA forces. I don't know if we'll ever have a GOP that's unabashedly pure MAGA -- maybe if Jim Jordan gets McCarthy's job after his inevitable downfall. For now, Trumpism has an enabler, and a future scapegoat.

No comments: