McCarthy, formerly the House Majority Leader and now the House Minority Leader, has always been a generally establishment figure. Though less bad than McConnell, his partner in the Senate, and certainly not as bad as his predecessor, Paul Ryan, he’s normally far less populist than the GOP base.
However, whether because he actually believes it or because he senses it’s the way to maintain power, McCarthy is finally striking a more populist tone and vowing to fulfill those populist promises he’s made.
That reaffirmation of his populist goals came during an Axios interview, the article about which is titled “McCarthy’s plot to build the House of Trump.”
In the interview, McCarthy, speaking on his agenda, reportedly said (emphasis from Axios) “We’re going to be more aggressive than in the past” and “We’re not going to sit back and just take a ‘no’ for an answer…it can’t be business as usual.”
Writing on what that means for the GOP, Axios says:
“On issue after issue, he’s laying down markers continuing the dramatic transformation of GOP leadership since 2017.
[…]Where Ryan was comparatively sympathetic toward undocumented immigrants, McCarthy is preemptively hard-line, as his recent Breitbart News interview showed.
Specifically, pointing out the issues on which McCarthy is far more populist and conservative than his predecessor, Paul Ryan, Axios says:
“Where Ryan focused on tax cuts and fostered friendly relations with corporate America, McCarthy is publicly excoriating the Chamber of Commerce, threatening crippling regulations on social media companies and planning to inject an anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mindset into the work of every congressional committee possible”
Adding to that enumeration of McCarthy’s populist pushes, Axios says:
“where Ryan tried to maintain civil relationships across the aisle, McCarthy promises to strip high-profile Democrats of their committee assignments.”
All of that is essentially true, and it shows that McCarthy is, at the very least, talking the talk before the GOP wins back the House in 2022.
For example, on the issue of committee assignments, McCarthy has vowed to strip Ilhan Omar, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell of their committee assignments.
Similarly, on the issue of illegal immigrants, McCarthy had this to say when asked by Breitbart “if he could pledge no amnesty would be considered under his leadership“:
“We know first and foremost one of our greatest strengths is the rule of law, so you have to have an immigration system based upon the rule of law. You have to secure the border. The immigration system is broken and we’re going to fix it. Yes.”
Axios, in the article, elaborates further on each issue it says McCarthy is focusing upon. Essentially, the impression given is that McCarthy is taking a rock-ribbed conservative, MAGA-centric line and eschewing the Conservative, Inc. tack that normally defines GOP leadership.
So, McCarthy is at least willing to stand by his pledges and say he’ll follow the MAGA path. Though we must wait and see how long he’ll stick to those pledges in the face of savage media attacks, it’s at least a good start.