Kevin McCarthy Very Concerned That Nancy Pelosi Is Sabotaging Bernie's Socialist Revolution
Bernie Sanders is surging in the Democratic primary. He's leading recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. RealClearPolitics now show Sanders with roughly the same "betting odds" as Joe Biden. Brett Stephens is even warning the world of a socialist apocalypse. Sanders is a serious candidate for president, whether you like it or not, so it's a little strange to see Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, feeling the Bern.
McCarthy stopped by Fox News Sunday morning to talk impeachment, and he ended up sounding like every Jerry Garcia lookalike I encountered after the 2016 election who complained that the Democratic Party rigged the primary against Sanders. I don't want to have that debate again, either here or in the comments. I just think it's odd that McCarthy's advocating for a politician he should (rightly) see as an existential threat to everything he represents, all of which is terrible.
McCarthy claimed, without evidence, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed sending the Senate articles of impeachment against Donald Trump because she wants to sabotage the Sanders campaign.
MCCARTHY: The Iowa caucus is on February third. Bernie Sanders is in first place and what this does is benefit Joe Biden. This harms Sen. Sanders, who is in first place and could become their nominee because he will be stuck in a chair because Nancy Pelosi held the papers.
Of course Pelosi isn't just benching Sanders. Other candidates who'll have to return for Trump's trial are Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Michael Bennet (who's still kidding himself). I guess they're stuck in DC for the duration, but it's not like they're sequestered in some crappy hotel. They can still go on Rachel Maddow or "Morning Joe" and give their firsthand impressions of this major political event. Tom Steyer won't steal the spotlight by repeating his proposal for term limits. (We hope to limit Steyer to zero terms.)
Host Maria Bartiromo helped McCarthy thread the conspiracy needle. Mind you, they aren't just finishing off a third bottle of wine after dinner. They're pitching Season Four of House of Cards on national television.
BARTIROMO: So you think that it's by design that Nancy Pelosi is sending the articles now. "Slow-walking," really [not really -- SER] the impeachment trial to have those senators in the room. That's collusion! That's obstruction! Once again, keeping Bernie Sanders at bay! And clearing the decks for Joe Biden. Is that what you're saying?
MCCARTHY: That's exactly what I'm saying.
Holy shit! This is what old white people are watching.
McCarthy continued his Russian-style disinformation campaign. He was like a human Reddit forum.
MCCARTHY: Remember what the Democratic Party did this time. They removed the superdelegates from the first round of voting because of what they had done to Senator Sanders. Now they don't have that power had he got to the convention fairly. So what power does the speaker have? [...] She told the American people this was urgent. She had to move so fast. The only reason that she's doing this that no one's talking about is it's harming Bernie Sanders, the senator who is coming into first place, who could win Iowa and propel himself to becoming the nominee. That's the exact same thing they did to him four years ago.
BARTIROMO: That's unbelievable, actually.
Yes, yes, it is actually unbelievable. The only reason Pelosi didn't immediately release the articles of impeachment was because Mitch McConnell planned to hold a sham trial. He bragged about it on Fox. Apparently, Pelosi's Xanatos Gambit to screw over Sanders and stop the revolution in its tracks all hinged on McConnell's blatant corruption (that was probably a safe bet).
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Let's take a moment to process all this: McCarthy is painting Pelosi as a sinister puppet master who's trying to stop Bernie Sanders from becoming the Democratic nominee and potentially president. Sanders is a declared socialist. Last I checked Republicans hate socialism. These are the same people who demonize Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and claim her socialist views are "taking over" the Democratic Party. McCarthy obviously doesn't care if Sanders is treated fairly. He wants a repeat of 2016 where Democrats are divided and their turnout is depressed. We can't let that happen. No matter how the primary shakes out, we need to get to the polls in force, because Speaker Kevin McCarthy is a terrifying thought.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.