Comedy and Tragedy

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy listens in the House chamber during the second day of elections for speaker. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

As I write this on Wednesday afternoon, Kevin McCarthy’s fate is at once uncertain and entirely certain. It’s uncertain whether he’ll be elected speaker. It’s entirely certain that he’ll be a diminished, humiliated figure no matter the outcome.

I have complicated feelings about this.

Not very complicated. I relish his personal embarrassment for reasons explained here. No one in Congress save possibly Elise Stefanik has accommodated themselves to Trumpism in pursuit of power as cynically as McCarthy has. To watch him stymied and embarrassed repeatedly on the House floor by the Trump acolytes he courted at the brink of achieving his life’s ambition is justice too sweet for my weak prose to capture. We’d need a poet for the occasion.

Come to think of it, that poem has already been written.

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