The story of how President Kevin McCarthy handed over 40,000 hours of Jan 6 security footage to a white supremacist the vandal continues to stink towards an ever higher sky. Of New York Times:
The more conservative Republican members of Congress – many of whom worked to downplay or deny the reality of the Jan. 6 attack – have been pushing Mr. McCarthy for weeks to release the video after he promised to do so during his campaign for president. Mr McCarthy has shown little appetite for the kind of aggressive public questioning of what happened that day that some of his colleagues have been calling for, but he is sensitive to the dangers of angering his hard core seeming to give up or ignore the question[…]“I promised,” Mr. McCarthy said in a brief phone interview on Wednesday in which he defended his decision to grant Mr. Carlson exclusive access to the more than 40,000 hours of security footage. “I was asked in the press about these tapes, and I said they belong to the American public. I think the sun leaves everyone to make their own judgement. Yet the sun to which M McCarthy referenced will, for now, be filtered through a very specific lens – that of Mr Carlson, a hard-right hero who insinuated without evidence that the January 6 attack was a ‘false flag’. .” operation led by the government.
Historians have described three events in American history as “corrupt deals”. The first and original was the settlement of the presidential election of 1824, when the election was thrown in the House and John Quincy Adams won over Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay, among others. Once he won in the House, Adams nominated Clay as Secretary of State, which had Jacksonian supporters howling about a something for something. The other two cases were Congressional Compromise of 1877 it settled the presidential election of 1876, which for all intents and purposes simultaneously ended any federal role in Reconstruction; and Gerald Ford’s decision to pardon Richard Nixon. (Evidence of a real “bargain” in the Adams and Ford episodes is lacking.)
But now we can add a fourth corrupt deal to the list: namely, the deal McCarthy made with the Angry Children’s Caucus to become a speaker. McCarthy essentially settled for this one, even fundraising his abject surrender.
Of course, for better or worse, the previous three corrupt markets played for deadly stakes. The presidency was at stake in the first two and (arguably) in the third as well. In 1877, the country deliberately opened the door to eight decades of Jim Crow. In this last corrupt deal, what was at stake was McCarthy’s political career – a cheap return in exchange for a continued threat to the existence of the republic.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, the most recent of which stupid americaand has worked as a journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has three children.