Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy may well be the nicest man on the face of the Earth, but he's a horrible political leader. What's sad is he's the best the Republicans in the House of Representatives could come up with for a leader. It's not that there aren't people who'd be better (I can think of an easy half dozen); it's that no one else could get the votes. With that in mind, he's the guy leading Republicans into the midterm elections. God help us.
History is on the side of Republicans. If they did nothing, they should sweep back into power just based on what happens to the party of the presidency in its first midterm. Add to that the fact that Joe Biden is wildly unpopular outside of newsrooms and faculty lounges, and you have the makings of a "Republican wave election." All Republicans have to do is not blow it.
The problem is this: Republicans excel at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The average Republican voter on the street is better at articulating what the party stands for than its leader is. Throw in idiots like Senator Lindsey Graham inserting themselves into every election across the country for reasons he can't convincingly articulate, and you've got the makings of a historic failure.
Don't get me wrong, I still think Republicans will at least take the House. My concern is they'll take it by fewer votes than they otherwise would and possibly not get the Senate, thanks to the clowns running the show.
A big part of the Republican problem is 1994. Not the results (those were great), but the memory of it. Everyone old enough remembers the Contract with America, but Kevin McCarthy seems to have forgotten everything but the name.
Republicans have tried to emulate the Contract every time they've been in the minority. Those efforts either fall apart or amount to something so unimportant they're quickly forgotten. Never once have they actually applied the real lesson from the Contract.
The Contract was a promise that, should Republicans take the House, they would hold a vote on 10 specific pieces of legislation that had already been introduced. They were real bills people could read and were on issues people cared about – balanced budgets, term limits, taxes, etc. There was no promise to implement them, to make them law – they couldn't make that promise because Bill Clinton was still president – but they promised a vote. They delivered on their promise. They held those votes. They were dead in the Senate, but the House did what it said it would do.
In the latest attempt to recreate the Contract, McCarthy and what appears to be a huge group of politicians and consultants cobbled together a vague "Commitment to America." What's in it? What will they do if they take the House back? Stuff and other things.
Instead of a one-page document with an easy-to-understand message and bullet points like the Contract, the Commitment is a series of bumper stickers and meaningless platitudes about concepts. They're all well and good, insofar as they are concepts helpful to mention in campaign speeches, but they're nothing to rally around.
McCarthy has a website featuring the Commitment that would take hours to read. Links everywhere, meaningless click holes to dive down. And his face all over it. If someone asked you to explain it, you probably couldn't do it within 15 minutes, at the least.
Even the "preamble" to the concept is a page-long word salad with meaningless platitudes all over it. They support good stuff and oppose bad stuff, or something similar.
"Because Americans are workers and builders, we commit to remove government-imposed obstacles to their success. Hardworking taxpayers should be valued, not punished," it reads, in part. "Because no American should live in fear, we commit to reverse soft-on-crime policies that have caused violence in our communities." They don't say how they'll get liberal prosecutors to enforce state laws the federal government has no say over. "Public safety is a necessity, not a privilege."
"Because Americans are learners and dreamers, we commit to advance excellence in education and respect for dedicated parents and teachers," it continues. I guess the dream of getting the feds out of education, something that has been a complete disaster since Jimmy Carter created the Department of Education, is over now. "Our future depends on it."
"And because Americans deserve fairness and real accountability, we commit to make Washington finally serve the needs of the people. We can no longer afford business as usual. We will work with anyone who shares these goals—as long as they put people before politics," it concludes. What the hell does that even mean? I think I read that last part on the bumper of a Prius I passed the other day.
Is this the best Republicans have to offer? A convoluted website about glorifying a guy who views the Speakership as his, should he not blow it?
How hard is it to message against these destructive Democrats? How can these people, these "leaders," have such difficulty articulating a message of individual liberty coupled with a state's ability to do almost anything it wants, provided it doesn't violate things expressly forbidden by the Constitution? You don't need a website with dozens of links to dozens of pages and videos attempting to explain yourself.
Kevin McCarthy, you're fine in the unchallenging media appearances you do where you aren't really challenged. But if you can only preach to the choir, you shouldn't have your job. You have the choir. Your job is to expand it and win more seats than anyone thought possible. A convoluted messaging website isn't how you do that.
If the message can't fit on one page, leadership needs to scrap it and start over. If they can't, the House GOP needs to do that with their leadership.
Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily nationally syndicated radio show, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses, and host of the weekly "Week in F*cking Review" podcast where the news is spoken about the way it deserves to be. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter.