Who saw this coming? Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, announced that he is dropping his bid to to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Until today McCarthy was the only name most people had heard floated to replace Boehner. He was the presumed favorite by a long shot.
McCarthy’s decision to drop out is curious indeed. It could be that this was a genuine personal decision, maybe his heart just wasn’t in it. Otherwise, it’s because he realizes that he blew it with his recent comments on Fox News, which seemed to confirm that the hearings on Benghazi were a politically motivated effort to dash Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations. Could be: the Chicago Tribune went so far as to call those comments a “get-out-of-Benghazi-free card” for the Clinton campaign.
Everybody had to pretend to be surprised by McCarthy’s comments about the Benghazi hearings even though we all knew the truth. It was politics as usual. And so far the investigation has thus far uncovered nothing of substance regarding Benghazi in particular; instead we’ve learned a lot about Hillary’s private email server, which in itself seems to be a really big non-story [so far].
As a political move, the probe into Benghazi had been a smashing success. That’s exactly what McCarthy’s comments trumpeted, and that’s why those comments are such a problem for the ‘publicans. As the saying goes, the worst political gaffes confirm stereotypes. And the stereotype that Republicans in Congress tend to favor politics over policy is one that the GOP would prefer to squash.
Now onto the next big question: who will swoop in to succeed Boehner? We can only hope it’s another person with a funny name.