McCarthyism & The Red Scare

kevin mccarthy
Kevin McCarthy has just enough support to taste the Speakership—but enough enemies and antagonists that he might have to sell a piece of his soul to get there. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

This week, MAGA whisperer Tina Nguyen and I exchanged notes about the dynamics in Congress as Republicans claw their way back to House leadership. Only she can uniquely explain what the Freedom Caucus really wants, and I’m trying to decipher what other pounds of flesh the rest of the caucus will take from Kevin McCarthy as he vies to become Speaker. Could the moderates make a play with moderate Democrats to pick their own speaker? Could McCarthy make a last ditch deal with Democrats? We’re in for a wild few weeks. 

Tara Palmeri: Tina, you are so attuned to the MAGA wing of the Republican caucus—can you please explain to me their dream scenario for this Congress? Like if there were no moderates, no handrails, what would they do? 

Tina Nguyen: Never underestimate how single-minded the MAGA movement can be when it comes to delivering for the base. There would be a full-fledged investigation into Hunter Biden, and a full-fledged investigation into the origins of the January 6th Committee. Maybe some sort of investigation into Nancy Pelosi’s finances, Merrick Garland’s investigation of Mar-a-Lago, the origins of the Covid virus, and an investigation of Dr. Anthony Fauci. In this hypothetical world, you would see them target funding for Ukraine with the goal of severely curtailing or eliminating financial support altogether, holding up everything and anything in order to close the Southern border from illegal immigrants (good luck with that), and who knows, possibly investigating tech billionaires (except, of course, Elon Musk) for their alleged suppression of conservative speech online.