David Frum was a speechwriter for George W. Bush. He writes for The Atlantic. He reminds us why Kevin McCarthy is as contemptible as the 20 members of the Chaos Caucus blocking his ascent to the Speakership.

The defeat of Kevin McCarthy in his bid for the speakership of the House would be good for Congress. The defeat of Kevin McCarthy would be good for the United States. It might even be good for his own Republican Party.

Because the people attempting to inflict that defeat upon McCarthy include some of the most nihilistic and destructive characters in U.S. politics, McCarthy is collecting misplaced sympathy from people who want a more responsible Congress. But the House will function better under another speaker than it would under McCarthy—even if that other speaker is much more of an ideological extremist than McCarthy himself.

McCarthy is not in political trouble for the reasons he deserves to be in political trouble. Justice is seldom served so exactly. But he does deserve to be in trouble, so justice must be satisfied with the trouble that he’s in.

McCarthy deserves to be in trouble because he refused to protect the institution he now seeks to lead. After the January 6, 2021, insurrection, he told fellow Republicans that he would urge President Donald Trump to resign immediately. When that vow became public, McCarthy denied he had ever made it, until a contemporaneous audio recording exposed his lie.

“I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy said after the January 6 attack—then voted in the impeachment proceedings to protect this guy. Eight days after Trump left office, McCarthy flew to Florida for a photo opportunity with the ex-president who had sent a mob to rampage through the Capitol and harm, abduct, or do worse to McCarthy’s own colleagues. Trump then released a statement boasting that he and McCarthy would be working closely together into the future, a statement McCarthy never contradicted.

McCarthy then enabled and supported a purge of every House Republican who had acted with the integrity that he himself had failed to muster. He endorsedthe primary opponent to Liz Cheney. He stripped committee assignments from Republicans who served on the committee to investigate the Capitol riot he had once condemned and now condoned.

For weeks after January 6, McCarthy denied that he’d telephoned Trump that day to blame him for the attack. When then–Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler exposed his denials as false, McCarthy brutally rebuked her.

“You should have come to me! Why did you go to the press? This is no way to thank me!”

“What did you want me to do? Lie?”

Well, yes, obviously. That’s what McCarthy did.

Herrera Beutler then lost the nomination in a primary battle against one of the most reactionary Republicans of the 2022-midterms slate—who then proceeded to lose a seat in rural Washington State to a Democratic newcomer.

There’s more but you have to subscribe to The Atlantic to read it.