It doesn’t take much to find a milksop hypocrite in Congress—throw a rock in any direction and odds are you’ll hit one. But even in a pantry full of wet noodles, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) fancies himself the slipperiest.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defends Marjorie Taylor Greene:
"Denouncing Q-on, I don't know if I say it right, I don't even know what it is– any from the shootings, she said she knew nothing about lasers" pic.twitter.com/R49WoE9TvL
— The Recount (@therecount) February 4, 2021
Above is a video of McCarthy defending Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the now infamous congresswoman who’s made news for elevating conspiracy theories about election fraud, Jewish space lasers, and other QAnon-adjacent nonsense. McCarthy is doing what is ostensibly his job—downplaying Greene’s general batshittiness as the House gears up to vote to remove her from committee appointments and debates expelling her altogether.
There’s something a little off about McCarthy’s defense, though. Could it be that last summer he denounced QAnon altogether and said it had “no place” in the Republican Party?
Kevin McCarthy went from saying "there is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party to "I don't even know what [QAnon] is" in the span of six months pic.twitter.com/Hr9cwSHhxd
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 4, 2021
In just a few months, McCarthy not only forgot what QAnon was, but how to say it properly. It’s a literal rhetorical shift, but it’s really just a good example of bad acting and kowtowing to the crazies in the Republican base. Many hoped QAnon would disappear once Joe Biden was inaugurated and their visions of mass arrests and military tribunals were zapped. But in the weeks since it’s only seemed to grow stronger, with Greene serving as its public advocate and martyr. McCarthy didn’t just forget how to pronounce QAnon—he realized the full scope of its reach and influence and wound up showing his whole ass in this meager attempt at a walk back. It’s the height of political cowardice recorded for out viewing displeasure.
Arguments over whether GOP lawmakers should denounce QAnon are pointless, though, because it’s already been accepted into the Republican tent. Greene apparently received a standing ovation from House Republicans yesterday, and has received a fraction of the criticism Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney has for denouncing election challenges. Cheney, a lifelong neocon who supported Trump to the hilt, doesn’t really deserve plaudits for speaking out after he lost. But the fact that Republicans have spent more time condemning her actions than Greene’s speaks volumes. Donald Trump himself was at least a passive believer in QAnon, if only because its followers hailed him as their pedophile-prosecuting messiah. It was only a matter of time until Republicans elected someone who made conspiracy theorizing the focal point of their political persona.
To understand Greene’s affinity with QAnon, it’s more constructive to look into what cockamamie theories about forcing people to swear in on a Bible and Jewish space lasers really reflect. Mainly, it’s anti-semitism and white extinction anxiety—two of the muted compulsions that have animated the Republican Party for decades. It’s a natural extension of years blaming George Soros and street gangs for society’s ills. The only difference now is it’s being openly co-opted and defended by a major political party. QAnon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.