Never Mind Pelosi. Why Does McCarthy Hold Onto His Leadership Post?

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

I’m among those poor unfortunate souls who does not understand the historic greatness of Nancy Pelosi, and thinks the Democrats need new leadership if they’re going to save the republic from Trumpism.

But I understand why the Democrats want to keep Pelosi. And give her this—she just won an election.

Kevin McCarthy can’t say that.

The debate over Pelosi’s future is obscuring a much stranger question about a different legislative leader from California. Why on earth are Congressional Republicans keeping the boy from Bakersfield as their leader?

It’s not merely that he presided over defeat in the mid-terms. And it’s not just that his deep embrace of President Trump was politically, and morally wrong. It’s that he couldn’t even protect his fellow Republicans in his home state of California, or even in his home region, the San Joaquin Valley. So why should he be able to protect them elsewhere?

Of course, McCarthy might be the best choice if Republicans are preparing – as they should be – to become a much smaller party. McCarthy has seen firsthand how Republicans can kill themselves off, since he’s been a leader in the party in California for nearly two decades. The trouble is that he’s been one of the architects of that decline.

McCarthy is so close to the president that Republicans in the House won’t be able to get separation as long as he’s in leadership. So you can argue the point of whether Nancy Pelosi should stay or go. But there should be no argument when it comes to Kevin McCarthy.

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