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Are We Witnessing the Rise of Kevin McCarthy 2.0?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Remember when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) utterly demolished Democratic lawmakers during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings? That was awesome, wasn’t it?

I was one of many who cheered his diatribe slamming his left-leaning colleagues for trying to falsely paint Kavanaugh as a drunken rapist. Many referred to him as Lindsey Graham 2.0 after he took these people to task for their malicious machinations.

Of course, that was short-lived, and Graham went back to being his typical neocon establishment self. But it was nice while it lasted.

But certain developments have me wondering if we might be seeing something similar from probably soon-to-be House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has received no shortage of criticism from the conservative base for also being an establishment figure. Indeed, many on the right – including myself – would rather see a more aggressive Republican holding the gavel once wielded by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Still, it is possible that we might see something slightly different from the McCarthy of days past.

During a press conference in El Paso, TX, the lawmaker sent an uncharacteristically antagonistic message to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas: Resign, or we are going to investigate and impeach your ass.

Okay, he didn’t quite put it that way. He said:

“I am calling on the Secretary [Mayorkas] to resign…if Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and every failure. We’ll determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiry.”

I still think my version is better. Maybe I should be Speaker of the House.

Before issuing his threat, McCarthy harangued the Biden administration for refusing to take action to address the ever-worsening migrant crisis and vowed that after the GOP takes control of the House, they will “use the power of the purse and the power of the subpoena” to ensure that “those responsible for this disaster will be held accountable.”

During the press briefing, McCarthy also suggested House Republicans would force Democratic members of Congress to visit the border to witness the damage they have wrought. He plans to do this by holding committee meetings at the southern border “so the Democrats can no longer hide from the crisis they created.”

But that is not all.

Last week, the lawmaker announced plans to strip Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of her committee assignments over anti-Semitic remarks she made at various points after taking office. Naturally, she whined about it because of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, blah blah blah. Later, he said he would be giving California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell the same treatment.

These remarks come after McCarthy and company announced the launching of investigations into Hunter Biden’s shady overseas business dealings, along with probes into other matters Democrats would rather remain out of the public eye.

So, is this the transformation for which many on the right have been hoping? Will folks like McCarthy have the minerals to give as good as they have gotten over the past two years? Could we be witnessing the demise of the milquetoast Republican?

I’m not yet convinced – but I want to be.

People who have been conservatives for a long time have seen this movie before, haven’t we? Republican politicians make soaring promises about how they will take it to the left and promote a conservative agenda on the campaign trail. Then, once they get into office, they behave as Diet Democrats.

For all we know, McCarthy might be sincere. But we have been burned before, right? I will say that his new approach is encouraging. But it won’t matter if he fails to do what he has promised. Empty threats are not going to move the needle – we need action.

Right now, I’m in wait-and-see mode. I will believe McCarthy when I see him and the other House Republicans do what they have promised.

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