There are still 13 months until Election Day 2016, but when the history of this presidential election is written, the focal point will be October 8, 2015 at around 12:28 pm Eastern time. That’s the precise time, this afternoon, that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) completed his apparent mission to hand Democrats the presidency and the Senate, and some semblance of balance in the House. It’s the precise time that this happened:
“Kevin McCarthy stood up, and announced he would not be running for speaker of the house.”
McCarthy’s sudden, bombshell decision to drop out of the running for Speaker of the House is just the latest in a series of recent, McCarthy-connected events that have all but secured the presidency for Democrats. On the heels of current Speaker of the House John Boehner‘s resignation, McCarthy was the natural successor, and promptly took advantage by completely destroying Benghazi as an issue for Hillary Clinton. One under-reported fact about McCarthy’s Benghazi gaffe is that he didn’t just connect the select committee’s activities to Hillary’s poll numbers once, he did it three times:
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”
“You’re going to see an enrollment correction, but more importantly, you’re going to see a select committee. When people in this country ask why Hillary’s numbers have dropped, because people don’t trust her. Why don’t they trust her? Because what the select committee in Benghazi found out she was doing.”
Then, the following morning, McCarthy made the same case to Fox and Friends:
“And when we look at Hillary Clinton’s numbers today, America says they distrust her. Why? Because they found out the truth about her. And the only way they found that truth about it was Benghazi select committee dug in to it and was be able to get the facts.”
That’s not a typo, he really said “was be able.”
Even if McCarthy had survived the gaffe, though, it would have been nearly impossible for him to buck the parts of the Republican conference that wanted Boehner gone, and now that McCarthy is sunk, the next candidate will be in even rougher shape. The only person this seems to be good news for is Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who could barely contain his glee as he told reporters he’s still running for speaker, minutes after McCarthy’s exit:
Paul Ryan has already said he won’t run for Speaker, so I guess that leaves Louie Gohmert or a sentient AR-15. Whoever ends up with the job will be much worse than McCarthy or Ryan.
That means that while Hillary Clinton is smashing the Benghazi/Emailgate issues to bits, House Republicans will be busy shutting down the government and/or engineering government defaults in order to defund the still-insanely-popular Planned Parenthood.
That means that once Hillary Clinton gets through the Democratic primaries, she will face a Republican Party that will be about as popular as Ebola vomit, and whose current frontrunners are a tangerine-hued bigot, a whispering insane person, and an Operation Rescue fanfic writer. The Chicago Cubs couldn’t lose this one. The 2016 map already favored the Democrats, so they’ll almost certainly take back the Senate, and while gerrymandering has made the House a tough nut to crack, they’ll have a better chance than they could have hoped for.
John Boehner has said he will stick around until this mess is sorted out, but even if he never leaves, he’s now the lamest duck since the AFLAC mascot.
Yes, it is entirely possible that Democrats will screw this up the way they did the 2014 midterms, but a presidential year favors them demographically, so even if they aggressively try to lose, it will be difficult. If they have any grace at all, they’ll call Hillary Clinton’ first presidential term “The McCarthy Era.”
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