Opinion | Scott Estill: The fools on the hill | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Scott Estill: The fools on the hill

Scott M. Estill

America is nothing if not great at showing the world a first-rate clown show. And on the two-year anniversary of an insurrection that left at least seven people dead and 978 people charged with over 3,800 criminal violations, we showed the world just how absurd we have become. In addition, there are still 350 fugitives on the FBI wanted list for their involvement in the insurrection.

A lengthy Congressional investigation unveiled its final report last month in which, for the first time in our nation’s history, a former president was referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution for inciting a riot, amongst other charges. If the former president was anybody besides a former president, he would be sitting in prison right now with nearly 200 of his foot soldiers.

Following the attack, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell blamed the former president directly, stating “If this is not impeachable, I don’t know what is.” He voted against impeaching when presented the opportunity.

His Republican counterpart in the House, Kevin McCarthy, was also direct in blaming the former president for his coup attempt, stating that he “bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.” He apparently thought that the president should resign rather than face a certain second impeachment and a near-certain conviction.

When the president refused to resign, Mr. McCarthy made sure to do everything in his power to help the president stay in power. Two years later, the former president is still a free man and is legally permitted to continue his quest to call the White House home for four more years.

Which brings me back to Mr. McCarthy, our new speaker of the house. After 14 perversely amusing votes of no confidence, he was elected on his 15 try after convincing some of the “never-Kevins” to simply vote “present.” His sense of personal entitlement was on full display throughout each of the unsuccessful votes, as he begged, borrowed and stole for votes. He finally made every concession possible and still couldn’t get to a place where a few of his fellow Republicans could say yes to him.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert was right when she said that McCarthy simply wanted to “take accountability away from himself, while asking for more responsibility.” He wanted to be in charge for his sake and when push came to shove, he simply backed away and gave up whatever he needed to do to win. He won the job by losing.

In selling what was already left of his soul, he managed to allow his Republican opponents the opportunity to continually move the goalposts of ever-increasing demands while they shone in the limelight. They made McCarthy play the jester — the fool on Capital Hill. And of these 20 Republicans orchestrating the showdown, a full 17 of them were specifically endorsed by our former president (the same former president who was also endorsing our fool). Interestingly, all of them (the 20, plus the fool) were playing the same game using the same rules endorsed, encouraged and fully utilized by our former president: no compromise.

It seemed to work fine when the opponent was the Democratic party. It may not work so well when the fighting is within your own family, and it’s easy to see how one of the major concessions will impact Speaker McCarthy soon: the ability of any Republican in the house to call a vote to determine if he shall remain the Speaker of the House. It’s likely that Las Vegas bookies will set the over/under at no more than two months for this eventuality.

It is hard to imagine how the Republican party plans to govern with this level of intra-party chaos. The answer, it appears, is that they have no intention of actually governing. Instead, they will continue to oppose anything the Democrats propose while offering no solutions of their own. Will they actually bring up for a vote on Boebert’s call for to have a balanced budget (last accomplished under President Clinton) as an attempt to reign in government spending and curb inflation? Unlikely given the amount of time that will be spent investigating the Biden family in retaliation for the time spent investigating the Trump clan. Sounds more like a scene in “The Godfather” than it does as a means of resolving issues relating to the economy and crime, the two primary issues the party ran on just a few months ago.

Our former president was likely smiling on the golf course this week after having “my Kevin” (as he publicly demeans his “friend”) win the Speaker position. It’s good to have friends in high places, especially with indictments likely in the next month or two. Or three. Justice can move slow when the target knows powerful people. But in the meantime, my guess is that Mr. McCarthy will regret his congratulatory selfie with a Republican colleague in Georgia who espoused highly original theories on Jewish space lasers and pizza pedophiles. At some point, the fallout from the ego drive will cause Mr. McCarthy’s downfall. And, like his ride to the Speaker position, it won’t be a pretty sight watching him go down.

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