The Moral of the McCarthy Saga – Promises Matter

Speaker McCarthy is out, and so are the headlines. According to the MSM, the Republicans are in full self-destruction mode, the radicals have taken over, the House of Representatives is in chaos, and 2024 is looking brighter by the day for the Democrats. Maybe that’s true – but maybe it isn’t. It depends on how the Republicans respond to this episode. An important lesson has just been delivered. If the Republicans learned it, they may come out stronger than ever.

The lesson is that in a system which depends on good-faith negotiations, integrity is important, and promises matter. When men working within that system lack honor, agreements aren’t agreements, and deals aren’t deals. Without honor, the system can’t work – and hasn’t been working for many years.

Before American history became minority oppression studies, we were regaled with tales of “I cannot tell a lie” Washington, and “Honest” Abe Lincoln. Integrity in government was a valued virtue.

But somewhere along the way virtue stopped being valued. We started accepting leadership with somewhat lower standards. I don’t associate integrity with “No new taxes” Bush, or honesty with “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton. None of their successors seem to have had a particularly close relationship with honesty either.

Unfortunately, dishonesty and treachery have become so commonplace in Washington, DC that they’ve become accepted as standard operating procedure. But treachery comes with a downside, as Speaker McCarthy just learned.

At a time when the federal government is swimming in debt – and it’s bureaucracy is growing like a malignant tumor – Americans gave the Republicans a slim majority in the House after the midterm election to address it. It was essentially a two-year probationary period to demonstrate that they were the right people for the job. A few members of the Freedom Caucus held fast, and got promises from Kevin McCarthy to hold the fiscal line. In exchange for that promise and some accountability rule changes, they supported his election to Speaker of the House.

But then McCarthy worked with Democrats to raise the federal debt limit. Next, as we approached the end of the fiscal year, he worked with Democrats again to pass a continuing resolution – allowing federal spending to continue at its current level for another 45 days. At the rate the government is currently spending our money, we will pile up an additional $250 billion of debt during that month and a half.

Our current debt stands at an astronomical $33.5 trillion. That is $100,000 of debt for every man, woman, and child in America. That debt is not merely an abstraction. It has real consequences for Americans, because every taxpayer is servicing that debt. Their taxes are paying the interest on that debt. At our current prime rate, an average family of four’s taxes could go down by $22K per year, had our public servants not taken out all of those loans!

Kevin McCarthy promised to address the approaching economic crisis. Then he broke that promise. But he was smart enough during the negotiations to get a promise from the Democrats that they wouldn’t support attempts to remove him from the Speaker’s chair. He apparently thought their promise would have more fidelity than his.

While McCarthy was betraying his caucus, he forgot that treachery is now standard operating procedure. He made a deal with the Democrats to protect his position, and they betrayed him. Just like McCarthy, their honor was secondary to achieving their goal. In this instance, their goal wasn’t to protect the Speaker, it was to disrupt the Republican party before next year’s election. In such an environment, why did McCarthy think he could break a promise to his own caucus, yet trust his opponents? That’s rather poor judgement – no?

I didn’t think Kevin McCarthy was a particularly bad speaker. He supported investigations of government corruption, and nothing about his leadership has approached the awfulness of San Fran Nan’s. But with a President determined to drive us into economic collapse, we needed a trustworthy Speaker – one who’s word meant something.

It’s unfortunate if the House experiences a few months of chaos because of his removal. But McCarthy made a promise and then broke it. In a political system which is woefully lacking in accountability, McCarthy was just held accountable. That is a good thing – and far too rare. How different would Washington, DC be if holding bureaucrats and politicians accountable for their actions was the norm rather than the exception?

When Republicans won their narrow control of the House – and it took 15 tries for McCarthy to ascend to the Speaker’s chair – the narrative was that compromise would be the key to a successful speakership. Well, Kevin McCarthy compromised, and failed spectacularly. Compromise is not inherently bad. But compromise which breaks one’s word is dishonorable. In McCarthy’s case, it resulted in his demise. Perhaps the real lesson from the McCarthy saga is that when one’s leadership grasp is tenuous, one must hold tight to one’s principles and value allies over opponents.

This article appeared previously on American Thinker.

Author Bio: John Green is a political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Idaho. He has written for American Thinker, and American Free News Network. He can be followed on Facebook or reached at

If you enjoyed this article, then please REPOST or SHARE with others; encourage them to follow AFNN. If you’d like to become a citizen contributor for AFNN, contact us at Help keep us ad-free by donating here.

  Truth Social: @AFNN_USA
  CloutHub: @AFNN_USA

1 thought on “The Moral of the McCarthy Saga – Promises Matter”

  1. Kevin McCarthy promised to address the approaching economic crisis. Then he broke that promise.

    It seems to me that the conservatives share some of this blame… they let McCarthy make a promise that he was neither inclined to fulfill nor did he even give the conservatives a reasonable outline of what he planned to do to fulfill his promise.

    Today in our public discourse we never seem to have time to intelligently discuss the hard things like… how a speaker is going to get a program of fiscal restraint put into place with the opposition on both the left and… the ‘right’.

    Instead people try to extract promises, but without even an outline of a plan or demand apologies without the person truly making amends and changing… anything.

    The hard work of making a plan or going through the amends process is glossed over and we ask for promises and apologies, without expecting a plan or amends… we conservatives need to do better.

Leave a Comment