Issues & Insights

Kevin McCarthy, Meet Fredo Corleone, Part II

“I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart.” — Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II

Back on Jan. 6 (of all dates), in explaining why the then-embattled Kevin McCarthy should be passed over as speaker of the House, your correspondent made a now-vindicated comparison between the Californian and the pathetic literary and film character Fredo (Freddy) Corleone:

(L)ike Fredo, (McCarthy) is not the Wartime Don Republicans need to counter the radical Squad’s scorched-earth transformation of America, abetted by the Uniparty’s Old Bulls.

McCarthy’s very flailing, fumbling attempts to lock down the Speakership belie the cool courage in the line of fire required to lead a raucous caucus with the narrowest of majorities.

Now, yet another comparison between the two pitiful figures presents itself. Bitter at being shunted aside in favor of younger Michael as Don, dim-witted Fredo entered into a near-deadly conspiracy with family “frenemy” Hyman Roth.

In the same fashion, Speaker McCarthy betrayed the conservative wing that allowed him to take power by depending on squish Republicans and a unanimous vote of his opposition to pass a 45-day clean continuing resolution keeping federal funding at its outrageously bloated fiscal 2023 levels.

Moreover, there is virtually no prospect of matters being different 40 days hence. As Freedom Caucus conservatives warned in signaling their opposition to yet another “CR,” the threat of a government shutdown will for the 27th year in a row put budget-cutters’ backs to the wall and raise, to the boiling point, pressures for another 12 months of unaccountable spending.

McCarthy could have avoided this impasse if he had heeded the advice of this commentator:

(M)ake the new House leadership’s highest order of business to draft and pass all 12 appropriations bills … including hearings, public markups, and subcommittee, full committee and floor votes. And put the Senate ‘uniparty’ … on nine months’ notice that failure on the upper chamber’s part to do the same will result in an epic shutdown showdown that, having been forewarned for three quarters, cannot credibly be pinned on the GOP.

Such a plan, keeping the House working day and night if necessary until Sept. 30, would have spread budget battles over months instead of forcing last-minute scrambling. But McCarthy did no such thing – because he is more comfortable making common cause with the spent, Roth-like octogenarians occupying the White House and both aisles of the Upper House, and the thug-ocracy on the opposite aisle of his own chamber, than with his own party’s base.

In fact, given the current state of our politics and culture, the Fredo-Roth comparison is especially apt. Like Roth, the usurper in chief for whom McCarthy now carries water is dissipated, yet clings to power by any means necessary; and hides behind the face of moderation utter venality, unmatched duplicity and unmitigated corruption.

And as with the no-holds-barred struggle for survival into which the wily Roth forced Michael, with Fredo’s assistance, the shutdown battle must ultimately be had

Because even the hopeless libs at Brookings admit our budgetary trajectory is “unsustainable” – a fiscal IED with mid-century interest payments projected to exceed even the unfunded megatrillions for soon-to-be-insolvent Social Security and Medicare.

But just as important, reclaiming the power of the purse at any cost is vital to confronting straight-on the radical progressive and elitist cabal and avoiding the endless series of train wrecks toward which it has set America barreling. 

Again, not just debt and economic crash. But also nonexistent borders driving down wages, straining resources, and fomenting a fentanyl death spiral. Breakdown of civil and social order, from fractured families to fertility collapse to gender-bending to lawless streets and subways, even as the justice system at every level is weaponized against political opponents.

Permanent blackouts, along with energy poverty and confiscation of essentials from guns to gas stoves to gas-powered cars. Social scoring and cancellation. All ultimately leading to a virtual prison state eliminating not just freedom of conscience but also commerce, enterprise, wealth creation, mobility, housing, self-defense, intimacy, family formation and expression – in exchange for apportioned messes of pottage from the all-powerful Nanny State.

To advance this overthrow of democratic norms, the ruling cabal has blockaded every conceivable political, economic, social, cultural, and judicial avenue for reform. Including, yes, elections. After the certifiably unlawful tactics employed in the 2020 contest and the equally suspicious sputtering of the anticipated 2022 “Red Wave,” can anyone count on the 2024 vote to turn the tide?

Resistance must start someplace – and a good place to start is Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s maneuver to unceremoniously force McCarthy from power via a motion to vacate, rinsing and repeating if necessary until the desired effect is achieved.

Anyone who has followed the Corleone saga knows that things ended abruptly for Fredo, and not well. Kevin McCarthy’s career as speaker deserves to end just as abruptly, to clear the way for a to-the-mattresses leader willing to do what it takes to rescue America – that is, shut down the government until Congress achieves a reasonable degree of downsizing, de-weaponizing, defunding and defending the border and our national security.

Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist, and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at

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