For three days, the media has been full of stories about McCarthy giving away more and more and more in pursuit of the votes he needs to secure the right to the office where he is currently squatting. From the beginning, most of those stories seemed to assume that once McCarthy gave a little more—a committee chair here, a promise of an investigation there, a gutting of the ethics committee for everyone—the opposition would finally join in singing whatever white supremacists sing when they think kumbaya is too “diverse.”
However, there’s one factor that the press isn’t taking into account: The Never Kevins aren’t Never Kevins because they disagree with McCarthy on some fundamental issue, and they’re not Never Kevins because he hasn’t offered them exactly the plum assignment that they want. By now, McCarthy has pulled out more plums than Little Jack Horner could have ever imagined.
Nope. The McCarthy opposition is solid in hating him because he raised them to be hateful—he and all of the rest of what’s passed for for “Republican leadership” over the last two decades.
Since at least the time of Newt Gingrich, the path to the front of the GOP line has been defined by some simple rules:
- Always attack the current leadership.
- Never be afraid to stab an ally.
- Making noise is infinitely more important than making sense.
Now McCarthy is learning a lesson that every owner of a new puppy and every parent of a new infant has learned first-hand: If you constantly award bad behavior with more attention than good behavior, you will get more bad behavior. And if you’re too weak to do anything about that behavior … God help you.
Matt Gaetz is that kid who threw a fit in the cereal aisle and got a packet of gummy bears to shut him up. McCarthy is the father who can’t understand where things went wrong. Maybe … maybe if he gives him more gummy bears? Or a gavel? Would Matty like a gavel?
Eventually this clown show will end, but it won’t end because McCarthy “wins.” It will end when he’s managed to make himself utterly irrelevant. By that measure, he’s well along the way.