Read more about what Washington Post columnist and Michael Gerson had to say about House majority leader Kevin McCarthy:
Let’s take a moment from the lightning pace of the news cycle to reflect on a disturbing fact of American life: The likely next speaker of the House of Representatives is a liar, a hypocrite and an enabler of democratic decay.
Usually such a judgment is the result of hyperbole and intemperance. In this case, it is closer to a math proof or the outcome of an experiment.
On one day, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) denied as “totally false and wrong” a news report (from New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin) that he had told Republican colleagues of his intention to urge President Donald Trump to resign over the events of Jan. 6. The next day brought an audiotape of McCarthy telling Republican colleagues of his intention to urge President Donald Trump to resign over the events of Jan. 6. “I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy exclaimed, in words that rang as firm and clear as pudding.
What followed, of course, was McCarthy’s attempt to regain Trump’s regard at the price of his own honesty, dignity and sanity. This was, presumably, necessary to preserve McCarthy’s desiccated dream of advancement to the speakership. But it has given the rest of us a prime example of how politics can soil the soul.
Trump’s main moral damage to the country is not his incitement of the MAGA faithful. It is his extraordinary talent for turning regular GOP pols into hollow men. McCarthy was never an ideological leader (though he once imagined himself, along with Reps. Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) and Eric Cantor (Va.), to be one of the GOP’s “young guns”). He rose to prominence as an ambitious plodder — as someone difficult for his colleagues to attack because he never had anything remotely interesting to say. Political parties actually rely on such figures for stability and continuity, the way an army relies on mechanics and logistical personnel. These are the people who are often capable of leading a fractious caucus.
But McCarthy has become something quite different — a bright and shining symbol of democratic debasement. His indifference toward truth has made it easier for rank-and-file Republicans to inhabit a dream world in which losing any election is the evidence of an opponent’s fraud. Carried to its natural conclusion, this is the essence of authoritarianism. Because the stakes of politics are so high, because your rivals are out to destroy you, because your opponents are “groomers” and pedophiles, because the other side has done far worse than your worst, any useful deception, any convenient deviance from the democratic rules, can be morally justified.
Read the rest here.