Word has it that a California Republican Representative named McCarthy is in line to take over Eric Cantor’s post as House Majority Leader next Thursday, the 19th. For you seniors out there, I checked to see if that might just possibly be ‘Charlie’ McCarthy, of old time ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (Candice’s dad) and puppet, Charlie McCarthy, fame. After all, Republican Congressmen are all puppets to the giant corporations. As it develops, the Californian is Kevin McCarthy (no relation). Up until Friday, the post was all but conceded to the non-wooden McCarthy. Then, Friday, along comes a no-name backbencher, Raul Labrador, entering the fray.
Ironically, the Puerto Rican-born Mormon Latino is an unforgiving ‘illegal’ immigrant basher. No citizenship for the undocumented, EVER!!!. So Labrador, himself a one-time immigration attorney is enemigo publico numero uno to the U.S. population of targeted Hispanics and Latinos. And we can’t ignore his Tea Party wackadoodle bona fides AND the fact he resides in overwhelmingly Republican Idaho. If ever there was a bizarre political state that makes its own rules, many, way short of legal, it’s Idaho. Nice skiing. That’s where it ends for reasonable Americans.
So, let’s compare the two final combatants, barring the last minute entry of Carrot Top or one of the Kardashians. McCarthy sort of has to make nice with the Democrats occasionally, being from a district dotted with left-coasters. He’s even hinted he’d be willing to grant citizenship to most undocumenteds. “Fruit Tramps” are also central to California’s economy. These are the predominantly Mexican workers who follow the harvesting season and it wouldn’t do to create an enemy class out of them or more importantly, the growers representing a $45 billion industry. They’d love to see the low-paid undocumenteds turned into U.S. citizens. That’s the ‘moderate’ side of McCarthy. On the other hand, he is a border hawk who wants to create stringent border enforcement.
McCarthy could be characterized as a careful politician. No tabloid-screamer sound-bites from him. He chips away at the edges. Voting for modest, but painful food stamp cuts. Demanding votes on anything to do with Obama administration attempts at modifying the Affordable Care Act and putting the brakes on Executive Orders. On the stump he insists we keep taxes “low” so as to “help our small businesses.” What he really means is following Koch Brother’s orders designed to help only “huge” businesses. So he falls short of vile and repugnant, but is an unrepentant and unfeeling Republican nonetheless. Any moderate leanings reflect political expediency as opposed to responding to the greater good.
If there are any questions as to fealty to party, OpenCongress had McCarthy voting with his party 97.5% of the time last year. He’s a Republican through and through and everything you don’t like about the direction the GOP is taking our country, he’s helping to take it there. As for the origins of Kevin’s campaign cash, his top contributors for the 2013-2014 cycle were from the Securities and Investments sector. Regulate securities and investments? Nay, Nay, Nay…who knows what the number 2 contributing industry, Real Estate, wants, but Pharmaceuticals/Health Products, Health Professionals and Insurance come in 3, 4 and 5. Decimate ACA anyone? Yep, he’s Republican with a capital “R” and he isn’t about to do Democrats any favors other than possibly the district-driven full citizenship.
Now, the guy you’ve all been waiting for. Heeeere’s RAUL!!! A 46-year-old, he’s got that nice guy look until you start learning things about him. He was first elected to Congress in 2010 and is the father of five kids. His stand on the Affordable Care Act was made clear when he enthusiastically endorsed the Idaho Health Freedom Act allowing the state’s Attorney General to join 19 states in challenging the ACA mandates. Gee, do you suppose the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “Health Care Freedom Act” offered any guidance?
About a year ago to the day, Labrador walked out on a bipartisan group working on the question of how undocumented immigrants would pay for their health care on a possible path to citizenship. He left the three remaining Republicans and the four Democrats on the committee in the lurch because he said he was through compromising. Waaah, Waaah! The perfect Tea Party Congressman. He also expressed his intention not to vote for any bill the group might get to the floor. In October of last year, when interviewed on Fox News, he seemed for all the world to oppose a “path to citizenship” so it’s clear months later that the citizenship issue was the reason for his departure.
It should be noted that Labrador is on the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee: A Perfect Tea Party fit.
On other legislative fronts, he voted against a bill that would have assessed the Keystone Pipeline vulnerabilities to terrorist’s attacks. The bill included the inclusion of necessary protections. Again, only a concern for terrorists when his corporate puppet-masters are not involved.
I don’t know where Labrador is going in this and perhaps subsequent Congresses. He’s introduced a half-dozen or so bills, none of which went anywhere. He just won his state’s primary, so he’ll probably get reelected. Clearly he’s looking for a higher profile and Idaho is one of the remaining bastions of true Tea Party power. I’ve heard there are a couple of other TP’ers casting their covetous eyes on the Majority Whip position should McCarthy win Republican Majority Leader and move up from Whip. Ergo, like so many cockroaches, they’ll be crawling all over congress for the next few weeks, assuring Fox News a full guest list and thoughtful progressives permanently elevated eyebrows.
I fear we have two more years of suffering in front of us. After that, there should be at least a generation of sense and reason.