Rep. Kevin McCarthy, selected as the new House Majority Leader, says Republicans will turn this country around. Yes, the 49-year-old California Republican, who has only been in the House since 2006, beat out Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador to become the new Eric Cantor, who steps down July 31.
“They are looking for individuals who put people before politics,” McCarthy told reporters in the wake of his selection, which, if true, would seem to leave Republicans out, but he actually managed to say it with a straight face so you have to give him kudos for his acting ability, if not for honesty.
“I will make one promise,” he continued. “I will work every single day to make sure this conference has the courage to lead with the wisdom to listen. And we’ll turn this country around.”
And if you expected change, you should tailor your expectations to expect more of the same. Do that now. Before you read any further.
Politico reports that, McCarthy, a so-called establishment Republican, “has had a rocky tenure as whip and has faced harsh criticism for his periodic inability — or unwillingness — to turn votes.” PoliticusUSA’s Justin Baragona last year described McCarthy as “something of a slippery character.”
He generally keeps his head low on hot-button social issues like same-sex marriage, abortion and gun control. While he will tend to vote with the Republican majority on these issues, he is not outspoken about any of them and really doesn’t discuss them at length. As for immigration, he opposes ‘amnesty’ for any undocumented workers, but once again, he has tried to not use harsh rhetoric when discussing the matter. However, the fact is that while he may seem somewhat compassionate, his voting record shows a very conservative member of Congress. The National Journal ranked him as the 70th most conservative member in 2012 and the 25th in 2011.
Politico also reported last Sunday that Rep. Tom Price predicted that if “Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California wins a snap election to become House majority leader, it wouldn’t signal waning tea party influence.” I don’t think any of us were for even a moment in danger of believing that, but thanks for the warning.
You will notice that McCarthy started his press conference out with the premise that America is struggling with:
1. “A stagnant economy”;
2. “A failed healthcare law”;
3. “So many living paycheck to paycheck.”
What McCarthy wouldn’t tell reporters was that,
1. To the extent the economy is still struggling – and it has improved dramatically (see #3 below) – it is the fault of House Republicans who have failed to create a single job since Obama took office in 2008 because they have spent all their time trying to make #2 a reality;
2. In fact, Obamacare is wildly successful: By the beginning of May, enrollment hit 17.8 million. And clearly McCarthy was being less than honest when he said the Republican conference would listen, with a recent Bloomberg poll showed 66 percent of Americans wanting to keep their Obamacare. That’s two-thirds. And the uninsured rate fell to a record low thanks to Obamacare. Worse yet for McCarthy’s lie that Obamacare is a failure, more insurers are joining in state exchanges, giving those signing up for Obamacare more options. Apparently, McCarthy thinks people having health insurance is the failure;
3. The unemployment rate is actually shrinking. As Justin Baragona pointed out here earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for the month on May revealed that for the fourth month in a row, American employers added over 200,000 jobs. But regardless, this is a bizarre statement by a Republican. Not only has the GOP refused to create a single jobs bill (while lying that they have) while busying themselves with invented scandals like Benghazi and an unhealthy Obamacare obsession, they have declined to extend unemployment insurance, between December 28 and March throwing 2 million people off unemployment benefits. So no, you can’t get a job and if you don’t have a job, you can’t get unemployment benefits. This is not Obama’s fault. The blame lies squarely with the Republican dominated House of Representatives. If McCarthy is saying he’ll create a jobs bill or that he’ll restore unemployment insurance, then yes, he can become part of the solution. But he’s not saying that.
It is clear that the accession of Kevin McCarthy does not signal any change in the adversarial relationship adopted by House Republicans in 2009 with President Barack Obama. McCarthy didn’t get to here he is in such a short amount of time by taking any single problem by the horns and tackling it.
America can expect more of the same from the Republican conference and this means more attacks on Obamacare, more fake scandals, and no jobs bills. Don’t even ask about immigration reform. What we can expect are a lot more lies. Lots of lies.
It is impossible to see at any point in this GOP “plan” or McCarthy’s promises where America can be “turned around” because it is just more of the same. Which is itself more of the same. This is another House defined by its hatred of all things Obama.
In other words, McCarthy is the status quo’s biggest friend. It is a shame that role can’t be filled by the people McCarthy pretends he cares about.