John Boehner’s announcement that he’s resigning as Speaker of the House in October took everyone by surprise. That includes evidently my good friend, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who learned about it a few seconds before the rest of America.
With Boehner leaving, Kevin is the presumed heir apparent but not without a challenge. In fact, it didn’t take an hour for the long knives to come out. Radio hosts like Mark Levin who has long despised Kevin eagerly began the Anybody but Kevin campaign.
This is one of those blogging days when I not only have an opinion, but I have lots of experience to back it up. Hopefully this helps anyone who might question whether or not Kevin is the right person to step into the Speaker’s role.
Interestingly, Kevin has a big role in Red Girls Salon. That’s because in the succession of leaders of the Young Republicans, he’s the person who binds together Dee Dee and me. When I was Chairman, Kevin was my Co-Chairman (which reminds me that if he becomes Speaker I should strongly consider getting a much nicer frame for the Samuels-McCarthy poster in my office). Kevin succeeded me, and Dee Dee was his Co-Chairman. Anyone who has been in any of these jobs knows you spend lots of time working with your counterpart and you get to know them quite well.
With that in mind, let me share something I’ve always told my family and friends when discussing what they read or see in the press.
Take everything with a grain of salt. You could very well find yourself fighting with a neighbor or losing a friend over an argument about some event or issue you both read about in the newspaper. Imagine how bad and silly you might feel later to find that the entire argument was built on a story that wasn’t entirely accurate.
So how does this relate to Kevin McCarthy?
For starters, let me tell you about the Kevin I know and not the one I’ve read about in some of the press.
Kevin is and has always been a good friend. He’s as close to the same person I knew twenty years ago when he was a young congressional staffer as he is today when he holds one of the most important jobs in America. That’s saying something because trust me it’s quite rare. Sadly, I know this as well from personal experience.
He is also very smart and strategic in his thinking. When I say “smart” it’s not in a professorial pedantic way that would put you to sleep but instead in a relatable way. He knows the issues, and he shares them in a way people can understand. That may not suit some people in the media, but it’s invaluable when getting the public behind you.
Kevin is also a great strategist. This happens to be the trait for which he’s getting the most criticism. Evidently, America has been watching too many episodes of House of Cards, and they believe that being strategic is always a bad thing.
Tell that to the planners of the D-Day invasion.
A smart strategist can make good things happen. In an environment where the president is a doctrinaire Democrat and your own party is in power but fractured, it will require a great strategist to get anything done.
As a Republican, I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been very disappointed with the Republican Congress so far. We’re halfway through the term following an historic victory and what do we have to show for it?
Some will argue that Kevin is currently in leadership and thus is part of the problem. I disagree because I know Kevin and how he operates. He simply won’t let this continue.
If Kevin takes charge, Congress will change and Republicans will feel that their 2014 election effort was not in vain.