House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

It is unbelievably depressing to contemplate the sheer amount of buffoonery that will be unleashed on the country if Republicans take back the House in November.

We will be in for at least two years of congressional stupidity, pointlessness and the endless yammering of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who is poised to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee, God help us.

At least we can be thankful that Jordan's fellow Medal of Freedom awardee Devin Nunes, the embarrassing former California congressman, is no longer with us. Politically, I mean. He gave up his seat to head up former President Donald Trump's flailing social media venture.

Already, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose lust for the speakership has shredded any decency or integrity he might once have possessed, has given us a road map for the bad trip he intends to take us on.

If you thought the Republican-led Benghazi hearings were nakedly political and pointless, just wait for the — ta da! — school board hearings.

In appearance after appearance on Fox News shows, McCarthy has promised to investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department over false claims that Garland threatened to investigate parents who attend school board meetings to express their displeasure over policies such as mandatory masking, policies about trans children or perhaps the right-wing bogeyman known as critical race theory.

During the last school year, in fact, many of those school board meetings did become overheated. There were numerous accounts — and YouTube videos — of out-of-control parents, some throwing punches.

In September, the National School Boards Association, perhaps a little overheated itself, asked President Joe Biden for help.

"As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased," the group wrote, "the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes." (The group later apologized for its choice of words.)

Nonetheless, Garland announced the department would convene meetings with federal and local law enforcement to discuss strategies for addressing violent threats and criminal conduct against school personnel, not expressions of free speech.

"Spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution," Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall. "That includes debate by parents criticizing school boards. That is welcome. ... The only thing we're concerned about … is violence and threats of violence against school officials, school teachers, school staff, just like we're concerned about those kinds of threats against senators, members of Congress, election officials."

Never one to let the truth stand in the way of a good wedge issue, McCarthy went full Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister who said that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth.

"Why did he go after parents, and call them terrorists, simply because they wanted to go to a school board meeting?" McCarthy demanded in April on Sean Hannity's show.

Garland never called parents who attend school board meetings "terrorists."

McCarthy's accusations, as befits a man who once owned a sandwich shop, are just so much baloney.

It would be an act of criminal stupidity for Republicans to choose McCarthy as their leader. He has already proven he can't keep his mouth shut when he should and cannot properly strategize when he needs to.

In 2015, he fumbled away his chance at becoming speaker when he accidentally let slip — on Fox News, of course — that the Benghazi hearings were an attemp t to dirty up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in advance of her quest for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" he told Hannity. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."

McCarthy — abetted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — also blew it when he refused to consider appointing a 9/11-style bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection. Each party would have selected five members. That left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi no choice but to convene a House select committee. When she refused to seat two McCarthy picks — the obstreperous Jordan and Jim Banks of Indiana, who voted to overturn the 2020 election results — he decided to boycott the committee altogether.

This dumb move — bad for Republicans but great for the truth— allowed the committee to delve into the entire sordid episode without Big Lie-spewing, pro-Trump Republicans obstructing their work.

Even Trump admitted that McCarthy had made a terrible mistake.

"It was a bad decision not to have representation on this committee," he told the ultra-right talk-show host Wayne Allyn Root last month. "That was a very, very foolish decision."

If Republicans win the House in November, we'll be subject to the New McCarthyism. Not as dangerous as the 1950s original, perhaps, but just as odious.

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