Saturday, October 3, 2015

McCarthy promises Sean Hannity he'll shut down the government. Four times, apparently.

Oh, Kevin McCarthy. Not even elected speaker yet and already promising the radio rubes that he'll shutdown the government over pretty much any issue Sean Hannity can name.
Boehner, to his great credit, didn’t feed the media beast that sought to destroy him. McCarthy, before serving a single day in the speakership, handed his gonads over to the most Limbaugh-like personality on Fox News, who happily placed them in escrow.

Hannity isn’t after McCarthy—who isn’t a particularly quotable guest—for ratings alone. He wants regular progress reports on a different promise McCarthy made to him.

Actually, it was four promises: “Defunding Planned Parenthood, defunding executive amnesty and immigration, defunding Obamacare, and this Iranian deal is an unmitigated disaster that will lead to a modern day Holocaust,” Hannity said, rattling off his top priorities. “Will you tell conservative America tonight that you will fight to the end … to defund those issues and use the power of the purse?”

“Yes, the answer is yes,” McCarthy said.

It's the defund those issues part that's key. Since none of those things are things that the current sitting president will agree to—all of them being predicated on different but related conservative conspiracy theories, and that's even before you get to the "modern day Holocaust" bit—the only avenue available to House Republicans is to attach them to must-pass spending bills and demand that both the Senate and the president acquiesce to them. If the Senate and the president don't agree to them?

The government shuts down.


Four times, actually, presuming McCarthy keeps his "promise" to do it over every individual issue. And we already know where it ends up, because we've already done it; no, Obama is not going to "defund Obamacare" or any of those other things in a futile attempt to keep the government open until House Republicans invent a new demand, and no, the Senate is not going to similarly hand over their own legislative powers, installing a hard-right faction of the House of Representatives as the final arbiter of all American laws and policies from here on out. The must-pass bill will not pass; the government will "shut down," in small part or in larger part; government offices will close, services will be put on hold, and federal workers will stop being paid—again. Eventually the House will have to come to some agreement that the Senate and executive branch can agree to, since our entire system of government requires that agreement by design, and House Republicans will have to cave in and lick their wounds. Again.

Four times, apparently.

So I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Kevin McCarthy Is Lying. The alternative is that he's not lying, and really does plan to enter an outright war against the Senate and the president until they bend to this long list of Sean Hannity's personal pet grievances, and I have seen little evidence to suggest Kevin McCarthy is that much of an abject moron. Is he a little bit of a moron, the sort that would brag that the Benghazi! special committee was founded as effort to damage Hillary Clinton in particular? Certainly. But signing on to the Sean Hannity model of government by fiscal terrorism would require a special insanity that anyone who's smart enough to install themselves as speaker would, barring head trauma, be hard pressed to follow through on.

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