We get it. It's too easy to tease certain Republicans for being, to put it politely, intellectually disengaged -- even though it's too often irresistible to go there. Whenever we hear from Sarah Palin, Louie Gohmert, James Inhofe, Jason Chaffetz or Steve King, it’s always good for a series of Facebook memes and SNL sketches.
But then the sobering realization sets in: these are elected members of perhaps most prestigious governing body in the world.
Let this sink in for a moment: each of these dolts is chosen by voters to be one of 535 elites who are tasked with authoring and voting on legislation that impacts the entire country and beyond. Think about that. Louie Gohmert, who once said the "wall of separation" between church and state is "a one way wall," whatever the hell that means, gets to vote on laws that could potentially and irreversibly alter the course of your life.
Our only possible defense against being utterly confounded and horrified by the power granted to men and women who have no business wielding such power, is to laugh at their flaming stupidity. Otherwise, it'd be way too easy lapse into inextricable despair and, in some cases, moron-induced alcoholism.
In spite of the rapid dumbing-down of the GOP (see also Mr. Trump), they continue to churn out more dummies.
Enter Kevin McCarthy. The Bakersfield, California Republican is the most likely conservative white-guy to ascend into John Boehner's post as Speaker of the House. And he shouldn't have been allowed anywhere near Congress, much less a leadership post.
By now, we're all aware of McCarthy's admission that the congressional select committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks is almost exclusively designed to undermine Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations.
They say gaffes are merely the truths spoken out loud. This was certainly the case with McCarthy. By the way, we should underscore at this point how McCarthy isn't just another ambitious member of Congress. He's the House Majority Leader. So, yes, the House Majority Leader accidentally spilled the beans on one of the longest running scams in congressional history -- one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer money since Ken Starr's probe into President Clinton's pants-parties.
That's pretty bad. But McCarthy's bad week didn't end there.
Either McCarthy is incapable of reading, or he has the worst speech-writing staff in the history of American politics -- and that includes Sarah Palin's self-authored Patriotic Mad Libs. Three days after Boehner announced his resignation from Congress, McCarthy was propped up for a foreign policy speech before the John Hay Initiative. The ostensible goal was to burnish McCarthy's political heft, but the exact opposite happened and, frankly, even the dumbest Republicans ought to be embarrassed to caucus with this idiot.
Here are some highlights:
"We must engage this war of radical Islam if our life depended on it. Because it does."
War of radical Islam? "On" or "against" makes more sense, of course. And shouldn't it be "lives" and not "life?" Honestly, the rest of the quotes will make this passage seem comparatively Shakespearean.
"This 'safe zone' would create a stem a flow of refugees... Unlike during the surge in Iraq when Petraeus and Crocker had an effective politically strategy to match the military strategy."
There's no such phrase as "stem a flow." There's something called "stemflow." One can also stem the flow of something, which is possibly what he meant. But "politically strategy" is just ridiculous.
"We have isolated Israel, while bolding places like Iran."
It's emboldening. Who's responsible for this crap?
"The absence of leadership over the past six years has had a horrific consequences all across the globe."
Was anyone fired for this? How the hell is he still a contender for Speaker?
"In the past few years alone, I have visited Poland, Hungria, Estonia, Russia and Georgia..."
Hungria. Which is north of Freedonia and adjacent to that fake island where Balki from "Perfect Strangers" came from.
"It defies belief that the president would allow the ban on Iranian oil exports to be lifted. And also stand by while Russia blackmails an entire continent, all the while keeping the place of the band on America."
I have no idea what any of that means. Which continent? Let's get real here: we should amend the Constitution so that when any elected politician mutilates the English language this badly, their desk chair turns into an ejector-seat that summarily launches them out of Congress. Let's get on this now before it's too late.
"We don't have the same as difficult decision that this White House is managing the decline and putting us in tough decisions for the future."
To be fair, gaffes are part of being a public figure. Spend enough time in front of a microphone and weird crap will inevitably fall out. However, a "stem a flow" of gaffes like this is inexcusable for a leader who's stepping into an office that's two heartbeats away from the presidency. Again, was it his speechwriter? Was he unable to read the prepared remarks? Why was he incapable of correcting the remarks on-the-fly? Was he having a stroke? Even the party of George W. Bush and Sarah Palin should, in a sane world, stand up and in a unified voice block this nincompoop from becoming Speaker. They won't, of course, and Boehner will likely hand his gavel over to the guy who, with a straight face, said he visited a place called "Hungria."
The good news, on the other hand, is that we'll all have another GOP doofus to kick around for a while. Silver linings, etc.
Ever since Karl Rove and the Bush administration systematically altered the political landscape making it perfectly acceptable to be completely incompetent and still get re-elected by low-information voters who think politicians shouldn't be any smarter than the people who elect them: we've mostly settled for idiots. Sadly, the demystification of the presidency and electoral politics has convinced us that anyone can hold these jobs and that leaders should be "just like us."
Sorry, but the guy you might want to have a beer with shouldn't control the nuclear launch codes or the destiny of the free world. We should demand leaders who are devastatingly smart, engaged, disciplined, centered and intellectually curious. We should be gravitationally drawn to leaders with impeccable schooling and robust speaking skills. The salient question is this: Why don't Republicans want the same? Why are they so willing to settle for feckless trolls like Donald Trump or marble-mouthed dilettantes like Kevin McCarthy? It might be somewhat acceptable if they actually took responsibility for putting us all in tough decisions for the future, but the party of personal responsibility will never do that. And it’s hurting America.