McCarthy’s Profile in Courage


Source: Trump White House

This is not an especially analytical post, but rather one that is noting a clear and profound failure of leadership within the House Republican caucus.

To wit: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is leading his party by lying to the American people.

  1. He full knows that it is “QAnon” and how to pronounce it.
  2. He know what it is. Maybe he doesn’t know every granular detail, but he knows was it is.

He is lying to avoid leading or is lying because he doesn’t care.

He is lying and downplaying all of this because he thinks it is to his, and his caucus’, advantage.

It is craven and opportunistic

In regards to “I don’t even know what it is”–that is so much, dare I say malarkey, that I have to wonder who it is that he thinks he is fooling. Most human beings of his level of income walk around with a device in their pocket that allows them to access the sum of human knowledge.

Google can readily provide a myriad of answers to the question “What is QAnon?

Maybe he really thinks there are enough idiots out there who will buy this act.

Indeed, Senator Tuberville is also in the dark, as the Business Insider reported a few days ago: GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville says he doesn’t know anything about Marjorie Taylor Greene because bad weather has prevented him from reading the news.

Well, then.

I guess lack of access to Google and the weather is why as per The Hill Greene apologizes to GOP colleagues — and gets standing ovation.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) apologized for her past controversial remarks and embrace of the QAnon conspiracy theory during a heated closed-door House GOP conference meeting — and received a standing ovation at one point from a number of her colleagues.

Greene told her colleagues that she made a mistake by being curious about “Q” and said she told her children she learned a lesson about what to put on social media, according to two sources in the room.

She also denied that she knew what Jewish space lasers were and defended her comments that past school shootings were staged by stating that she had personal experience with a school shooting.

I see, she’s just Q curious!

Google can fix a person right up about this stuff. There are videos of her crass behavior harassing a survivor of a school shooting, her allegations that the shootings were false flag events, and her theory about Jewish space lasers (and, for kicks, her endorsement of the notion that there is a video of Hillary Clinton eating a child’s face).

Is is if she might be a liar as well.

But sure, House GOP, clap on. This is all good and normal.

See, also, Jonah Goldberg in the LAT: Where QAnon goes, so goes the Republican Party.

One thing is for sure, McCarthy’s statement about all of this is not going to fix anything:

Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference. I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past. I continue to condemn them today. This House condemned QAnon last Congress and continues to do so today.

I made this clear to Marjorie when we met. I also made clear that as a member of Congress we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen. Her past comments now have much greater meaning. Marjorie recognized this in our conversation. I hold her to her word, as well as her actions going forward. 

First, if McCarthy doesn’t even know what QAnon is, how can he and the party condemn it?

Second, the whole statement sounds like “I’ve talked to junior and she promised to behave in the future.”

Well, that always works.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. mattbernius says:

    Yesterday’s vote on Cheney really accentuates the above point and the current state of the Republican party. When it was a secret vote, there was suddenly a LOT of support for Cheney’s contrarian stand. Does anyone think the outcome would have been the same if it had been a public vote?

    One only wonders what would have happened if the impeachment vote (or for that matter the Senate vote on conviction) was secret as well.

  2. Scott F. says:

    The Trumpkins, including a strong cohort of Qers, chanted, “Hang Mike Pence,” as they stormed the Capitol. McCarthy’s lack of spine isn’t all the hard to understand. The tiger the GOP has been riding for decades is hungry and weak (read: reality based) Republicans are part of the diet now – right alongside the liberals the tiger used to hunt.

  3. CSK says:

    @Scott F.:
    I was thinking the same thing: death threats are keeping them silent. Adam Kinzinger has been censured by Republican officials in the district he represents, and has been cast out by his family on thee grounds that he’s possessed by the devil. I’m sure his life has been threatened multitudinous times.

    I don’t admire or respect McCarthy, but on the other hand, I can understand if he’s fearful for his life.

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I’m reminded of another Walt Kelly line as I watch the *evolution* of the GOP:

    From here on up, it’s downhill all the way.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Let me check…. Yep, water is still wet.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    This will only reinforce the crazies and perpetuate the crisis the US faces and particularly the R party. The Dems will vote to pull her from the committee assignments and that will be a roll call vote, so the secret ballot on Greene and Cheney will only give Rs a temporary reprieve from a public reckoning. I expect a handful of Rs will support stripping Greene of her assignments, those who fear losing in November more than they fear being primaried. The crazies will scream louder and it will fuel their anger, but crazy is as crazy does.

  7. Mikey says:

    Maybe he really thinks there are enough idiots out there who will buy this act.

    If the last five years have taught us anything, it’s that he’s certainly not wrong to think this.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    FTR, none of these guys are strangers to death threats. They’ve been getting them ever since they first got elected to dog catcher.

    “You stole my dog! I’m gonna kill you!”

    It comes with the territory. They may (probably?) be getting more, they may (probably?) be more strident, they may (probably?) seem more credible, but they are nothing new to these people. I have to wonder if they are more frightened by them now or not. One thing they are afraid of is losing their precious sinecure, becoming just another schmuck who has to get up in the morning and spend his day being productive. Right now, due to gerrymandering the threat is nonexistent from their left but very much the slow beast on their right.

  9. CSK says:

    Having to flee from a mob screaming “Hang Mike Pence” probably ups the trepidation factor.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Going by the reactions from the elected Republicans I’ve seen, other than Pence they all think it was a lark.

  11. Scott F. says:

    @CSK: Now, Adam Kinzinger has some courage. It’s too bad he’s outnumbered around 3 to 1.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    A man too cowardly to take on a very slight risk to himself in defense of democracy should not be in a position to comment on, let alone vote on, anything to do with US military deployments.

  13. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    What, you never came across a chickenhawk before?

  14. DrDaveT says:

    An apology is when you address the injured party and express contrition. If you are addressing your Republican colleagues when making your “apology”, you must think they are the injured parties. Which, in this case, is perfectly consistent — the only harm anyone in that room cares about is the harm to the GOP brand.

    Wake me up when she (or any other elected Republican) apologizes to reality-based America for harm done to them.

  15. Pete S says:

    Serious question – do all rookie House Reps get committee assignments their first month? I really don’t know. Or do house Republicans view her as a rising star and are grooming her to go far in their party?

  16. Owen says:

    @Pete S: Yes, usually everyone has one or two committee assignments. Significantly, she has two, and both (Budget, and Education and Labor) are considered “Plum”.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: As much as I’d like to see a handful of Republicans vote that way, not gonna happen. You’ve got to protect your own even if you wish you didn’t. The police understand this, teachers’ unions too, so do Republicans.

  18. Owen says:

    @Pete SThisis a good breakdown of potential monetization of committee assignments. There are other lists that show differences in donations to committee members, which are significant.

  19. Pete S says:

    Thanks, that is interesting. So I am not completely wrong inferring that she has the support of House Republican leadership based on her committee assignments.

    In a way this is courage after all. It would be easy to not reward the new employee who had a history of on camera threats against their co-workers. Anywhere I have worked she would have been fired.

  20. @Michael Reynolds: FYI: I did provide a longer answer to you over in the thread from yesterday.

  21. Kathy says:

    I’d call it Democrats doing the job Republicans won’t.

    But I’m in a nostalgic mood, so I’ll call it: No soup for you! Next!

    Eleven Republicans voted to strip committee assignments from the loon from Georgia.

  22. CSK says:

    Marge has been removed from the Education and Budget Committees.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Wow! Way more than I thought would.

  24. Kari Q says:


    Perhaps they should talk to AOC and Nancy Pelosi about how to do their jobs in spite of threats of violence from nutjobs, because both of them are experts on the subject.

  25. al Ameda says:

    Kevin McCarthy + Suit = Suit

    I’ve seen Kevin’s McCarthy’s act for quite while now, and I ‘ve always wondered how he progressed to be the Minority Leader of The House. Seems like classic Peter Principle, that is there are people in an organization who will eventually advance to a position where they are in over their head, that is, they will rise to their “level of incompetence.” I think Kevin has arrived.