The New McCarthyism
The Louisiana House of Representatives is led by Republican Representative Clay Schexnayder. He is a Republican, but he is not a conservative.
In fact, in order to become the Speaker of the House, Schexnayder relied not on conservative Republicans in the House, who opposed him, but instead on progressive Democrats. They undercut the near-supermajority Republicans had in order to install a weaker leader. In the years since Schexnayder became Speaker, House Republicans have floundered, winning scant few victories over Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. They’ve been forced to cave more often than they’ve had any meaningful pushback against the governor and his party.
Schexnayder, though, has taken things a step further. He has actively undercut conservatives in his own caucus. He scheduled weekly lunches in his own apartment with members of his own party during the House Republican Delegation weekly lunches. He routinely gave Democrats seats of power on committees. He killed conservative ideas and bills in favor of ones that would make him look better.
The same thing is happening elsewhere in the country. David Ralston in Georgia is a great example. He routinely gets friends and allies to pour money into challengers to conservative seats in the House. He kills conservative bills and retaliates against all who question him. He also uses his position as Speaker to benefit his criminal clients by tying up cases in court for years, hurting victims and delaying justice.
In the early 1950s, Joseph McCarthy used his influence and position to attack enemies and make himself look better. He accused everyone he didn’t like of being communists, taking advantage of public fear of the USSR. We don’t have a Joseph McCarthy today, though. We have a Kevin McCarthy. In the U.S. House of Representatives, he is to conservatism at the national level what Schexnayder and Ralston are to conservatism in Louisiana and Georgia.
McCarthy is a coward who has never found a fence he couldn’t sit on. He undercuts conservatives both in Washington D.C. and in his home state of California, putting his friends and allies into power just to make sure he can keep his own power. Nothing he does has any ideological philosophy. It’s all about his own power and influence.
McCarthy ran for Speaker of the House when John Boehner stepped down. When it was rumored he was having an affair with Rep. Renee Ellmers, he withdrew his name. Paul Ryan became Speaker in the aftermath. When Ryan left Congress, McCarthy put his name back in the ring and he was made the caucus leader by the House Republicans. When people mentioned his past affair, they were punished.
McCarthy publicly bent the knee to Donald Trump while privately retreating. He has done all the sucking up he can, just so he can have Trump’s blessing and continued hold on power. Trump did endorse McCarthy but is now saying it was for his re-election and not necessarily the Speakership.
Newsmax @newsmaxFormer President Donald Trump explained that his recent endorsement of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., concerned the lawmaker’s reelection bid and not the speaker’s position. bit.ly/3NktDrH
Thankfully, it appears someone in Trump’s orbit is paying attention.
This is the new McCarthyism in the Republican Party. Leaders who go out of their way to pretend to be conservative and then undercut the real conservatives just so they can maintain their own power. Schexnayder is reportedly using his position to create a platform to run for statewide office – like Lt. Governor – and Ralston is using his position to benefit himself and his allies. They don’t have any real interest in policy or leadership.
There are plenty of Republicans who oppose the likes of Mitch McConnell, and I don’t disagree that perhaps it’s time for him to go. But McConnell was instrumental in getting good conservative judges onto the bench across the country, including getting three good judges onto the Supreme Court. McCarthy, meanwhile, has done nothing to benefit Republicans or conservatism.
If it’s time for anyone to go, it’s McCarthy and the so-called Republicans like him who just want the power and the influence. It’s time for real conservatives who have actual ideals to start guiding the party.