Kevin McCarthy Introduces Artificial Stupidity
And it is proprietary technology because only someone this dumb could have thought of it
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R — Dumb), has accelerated the death spiral of the Republican Party toward total destruction. Perhaps that is a good thing because it has become clear that the only hope for the resurrection of the once-principled Grand Old Party is a very loud and cataclysmic hitting of bottom.
McCarthy exudes the desperation of the craven — the hunger for power that comes at the expense of anything resembling the purpose for which that power was granted. Like his puppet master, he is the malleable outcome of our corporate-government-media power structure and the corresponding incentives, influences, and moral weaknesses that create the conditions under which an invertebrate like this could actually rise to the top.
How did we get here? A quick review: McCarthy has been fairly clear for years that he had no problem putting his testicles on the chopping block in exchange for the coveted position of Speaker of the House of Representatives. This meant giving the radical right-wing MAGA/Freedom Caucus members the privilege of total control over their speaker, which includes the right to regurgitate him from his speaker role in response to a gag reflex that everyone saw coming. Now effectively neutered, McCarthy must do as he is told to remain in his (very bent over) position, and the latest fetish of those who dominate him includes impeachment of the President.
Through some circuitous reasoning, McCarthy thought his total submission would subdue the caucus and allow him to slip a bill through that would avoid a government shutdown. This is where his unique mental density becomes so obvious — the inability to think, maybe, one or two steps ahead and understand basic historical cause and effect. How could he not know by now that his caucus has no interest in keeping the government running, much less governing at all? The shocking revelation that they want to “burn the place down” only just recently tumbled out of his talk hole. These are insatiable people, driven to resist progress and humiliate each other — behaviors for which they are rewarded with media hits on Fox News. As of this writing, Democrats in the House, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, the Executive Branch, and the rest of the country, must now once again stand by and wait to see if the House Republicans’ game of political paintball will pause long enough for them to actually legislate.
We shouldn’t be surprised. The defining motivation for the Republican Party right now is to generate enough fear, blame, and distraction to prevent their shrinking segment of discerning constituents from realizing they have nothing to offer. There is no political platform and there hasn’t been for years. Each of their once noble principles has been negated by their actions.
Shrink the debt and deficit? They have added trillions to it. Limit government overreach? They want to control women’s bodies. Protect freedom of speech? They are banning books. Reduce burdensome regulations on corporations? They are punishing companies for valuing diversity. Welcome immigrants to fill jobs and grow the economy? They (still) want to build a wall. Protect democracy abroad? They prefer Russia over Ukraine. Protect democracy at home? They prefer Donald Trump over the Constitution.
True, many, if not most Republicans are disgusted with Trump and privately cling to the traditional positions of their party, but such beliefs conflict with the “own-the-libs” orthodoxy of their current party leadership and so they cling to power at the expense of candor. They must fall in line with their radical overlords to avoid becoming the next Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, or Mitt Romney, and so they don’t perceive themselves as having a choice. Concurrently, today’s GOP is driven by the need to differentiate themselves from the Democrats at all costs, which means no matter how pragmatic or non-partisan a Democratic position might seem, it is essential for them to take the exact opposite position, because the worst thing that could happen — the biggest threat to their power — is if Democrats succeed, at anything.
And from that, we can extract the actual “platform” of today’s Republican Party: Make Democrats fail. Do not work with them under any (visible) circumstances. Demonize them at every turn. Latch on to everything and anything they might do and frame it as a disaster. Maintain the alternative reality of choice to validate and reinforce the beliefs of the right-wing echo chamber. Ride the Fox News conveyer belt of continuous anti-Democrat garbage, and ultimately, do what they are told by their rabid right-wing reality-challenged audience who crave the dopamine high of humiliating those with whom they disagree.
Welcome to Coup 2.0: Shut down the government, impeach the President, defund the FBI, rewrite the Constitution, restore their dictator to power, and make chaos great again. The echo chamber approves — it is the red meat they are looking for, but for any objective outsider, it is nonsense. Oh, the hypocrisy.
From McCarthy’s perspective — which is very much like that of a dim-witted rube chasing a dollar attached to a string — it is not worth debating the many reasons why his actions are both empirically wrong and politically stupid. We should know by now that it is a waste of time to attempt a dialogue in pursuit of common ground. Facts are irrelevant — this is a battle of realities, and the rules within the far-right Republican reality are highly fluid. We should instead step back and assess the state of the GOP from a healthy distance, as one would fresh roadkill. Sure, it’s still twitching, but it is not sustainable in its current state. There is otherwise no life — no mission, no purpose, no overarching ideology that unites and motivates its followers beyond hating Democrats.
Kevin McCarthy was put in his position to effectively channel this hatred, but it’s becoming clear that there is nowhere else for him to go — no overlap between what he is supposed to do as a leader and what is being demanded of him as a puppet. Because his caucus has been reduced to a cabal of insatiable nihilists, they will call for his political execution if there is any hint of resolution simply because they can, adding to a growing string of failed Republican House Speakers. And then they will find someone else desperate enough to agree to their terms just for the sake of the title, and the cycle will begin again. They will fragment and atomize and continue to build their junior-high-schoolish alliances — cliques driven to compete for media and influence — and they will drift further and further away from the job they were elected to do.
Somewhere in the future of our shared reality, we must hope for a resurrected Republican Party in which there are incentives to once again compromise, to lead, to govern, to value shared progress, and to put country above power on its list of priorities. The artificial stupidity of our current GOP is the exact opposite of AI as we know it, with the possible exception of its potential for self-destruction and collateral damage.