Opinion

Opinion: The U.S. House of crazies

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Kevin McCarthy (HorizonUI / Shutterstock.com)

An old political saying notes that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. However, given the proliferation of today’s goofball culture wars and fanatical right-wing phobias, that truism should be updated to say: Evil swarms when power-hungry leaders unleash the crazies.

Which brings us to the U.S. House of Representatives, now led by a run-of-the-mill corporate Republican, Kevin McCarthy. He’s always been a crassly ambitious political climber untethered to any moral principle larger than his own ego, so he’s not trusted, even by GOP lawmakers. Indeed, in an almost-comical public spectacle, it took four days and 15 rounds of voting in January before Kevin cut enough desperate deals to get the slimmest majority of his own Republican colleagues to make him speaker of the House.

To squeak out his win, though, he had to hand big chunks of his official power to a gaggle of extremist, far-right-wing legislators who are — in a word — BONKERS. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar and other members of the GOP’s Kooky Kaucus promote unhinged QAnon conspiracy theories, warn that Jews are firing lasers from outer space to start wildfires, lionize Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler, call for the execution of Democratic leaders, and insist that the government is staging school shootings as an excuse to outlaw guns.

OK, they’re nuts. And politics makes strange bedfellows. But McCarthy has not just climbed into bed with them, he’s snuggling up tightly, naming them to powerful committees, publicly legitimizing their screwballism, and intentionally bringing the evil of bigotry, intolerance, and even fascism in from the fringe of politics — to sit in the seat of power.

And then there’s George Santos. After years of failing to unearth any proof that America’s elections are corrupted by flagrant cases of voter fraud, the GOP has now found a whopper!

Santos is a pathetic congenital liar. But McCarthy is worse...

Unfortunately for the party’s voter integrity police, though, what they’ve uncovered is not some nefarious Democratic plot, but a scheme of mass deception by one of their own Congress critters: George Santos. Last November, he effectively stole a New York City congressional seat.

How? By making himself up. Santos invented a fictional “George” that hid his criminal record and touted an amazing storybook past he never lived. No, he is not Jewish, his grandparents were not Holocaust survivors, he was not a volleyball star at a prestigious college he never even attended, he was not a renowned Wall Street banker (though he did help run a Florida Ponzi scheme), he was not a New York City real estate baron, and the mystery money that financed his campaign apparently came from nowhere.

Naturally, when Congress’ fraud-busting Republican leaders learned that this hyper-fraudster came from their own ranks, they promptly expelled him. Ha-ha-ha! Just kidding. Instead, Kevin McCarthy, the GOP’s unscrupulous congressional leader, has fully embraced this defrauder as an honorable member of his legislative team, sanctimoniously declaring: “The voters elected [Santos] to serve.” That makes Kevin even more dishonest than George. One, the people did not elect Santos, but voted for the caricature he concocted to fool them. Two, McCarthy doesn’t give a damn about the integrity of elections — he’s only clinging to George because his own support in the House is so iffy that he needs Santos’ vote to save his own worthless political hide.

Santos is a pathetic congenital liar. But McCarthy is worse — a truly disgusting, self-serving political hack. And neither one should be in public office.

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