Hard of Hearings - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Hard of Hearings
Senate Subcommittee on Investigations' McCarthy-Army hearings, June 9, 1954 (United States Senate/Wikimedia Commons)

Pity Kevin McCarthy. He is out there flexing legislative muscle, anticipating his rise following the Congressional elections November 8. The pollsters believe that after voters go to the polls on that date, there will be a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, promoting McCarthy from Minority Leader. And then the new majority will embark upon a series of hearings to highlight Democratic abuses of government agencies and powers.

Er, wait…? The McCarthy Hearings? Oh, no…

Kevin was once before on the verge of becoming Speaker of the House, back in October of 2015 when John Boehner retired from that prominent position and walked offstage into instant obscurity. Word began circulating that Kevin was gaffe-prone and old clips of his verbal stumbles began surfacing. Under the glare of the spotlight he began to stammer and misspeak worse than ever. Sadly, many of us who corrected speech defects in childhood with therapy, can still be pushed by meanies into regressing.

Finally, under mounting pressure McCarthy withdrew his candidacy. At the time, Presidential hopeful Donald Trump took credit for pushing him aside. McCarthy withdrew his name from consideration and Paul Ryan became Speaker, embarking on an unremarkable tenure. Most of us marked it D at the time, and see no reason to re-mark it now. And ironically, Trump emerged as the biggest loser of that negotiation, because Ryan did more to both under-perform and undercut Trump’s Presidential agenda than McCarthy ever would have.

(In a small retrospective peek, we might note that in October 2012 I publicized that I had fallen asleep during Paul Ryan’s keynote address at The American Spectator gala dinner. No other orator had accomplished that feat before or since. Sure enough, his subsequent Speakership had the same effect on the rest of the country.)

Back to McCarthy and what’s in a name. There were famous McCarthys other than the famous anti-Communist Senator from Wisconsin. For instance, there was Charlie McCarthy, dummy of the late puppeteer Edgar Bergen (father of Candice Bergen who once dated Trump in college). In a great moment of repartee between ventriloquist and dummy, Bergen said, “You see, boys, we are put on Earth to help others.” To which McCarthy responded, “Yeah, but what on Earth are the others put here for?”

Then of course there was the other Joe McCarthy, still the Manager with the best won-lost record in the history of Major League baseball. He managed the Cubs from the bottom to the top of baseball, earning him the coveted job of managing the Yankees, where Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio thrived under his leadership. DiMaggio said that he learned something new from McCarthy every day. And you can watch on YouTube as McCarthy says of DiMaggio: “He is not only a star in his own right but he is a great team player. It only goes to prove that a young player who will hustle and apply himself to the game wholeheartedly can reach the heights of Major League baseball in a very short time.”

Jenny McCarthy achieved some moderate renown in showbiz based on her appearance, while comedienne Melissa McCarthy achieved stardom in Hollywood based on her appearances. The late Senator Eugene McCarthy held the lead for a while in polls for the 1968 Democrat Presidential nomination, but his panache soon wore off, exposing him as a flash in the pan and leaving him with a headache. His most memorable line came years later when he wrote his autobiography during the second Bush Presidency, calling W the “first Governor of the United States.”

Adding to the present Mister McCarthy’s woes is the prospect of Mitch McConnell returning as Senate Majority leader. Our country is no longer prejudiced against “micks on the make,” and we will be getting two for the price of one. Personally, I would not mind if we dump McConnell and promote McCarthy.

Still, I think that if Republicans wake up with the good kind of hangover on Wednesday morning and start thinking, “McCarthy, yeah! Hearings, yeah!” they may start seeing double. They will envision Democrats wiping out both of these victories with a single deadly epithet: “the McCarthy hearings are back!” And they will start feeling queasy, with those who drank more than others feeling the queasiest. We would hate to see a deserving Speaker having his mike cut off because of something so silly, yet I think we can have McCarthy or we can have hearings, but we can’t have both.

A famous guy said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And that’s nothing to shake a spear at. We wish Kevin McCarthy well, but we fear that his name will go down in history.

Okay, let’s give Charlie McCarthy the last line. Mister Bergen said, “Miles Standish is a man who went down in history.” And Charlie replied, “Yeah, I flunked it myself!”

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