The perverse incentives of modern politics

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MINOT, N.D. — It wasn’t that Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Republican from North Carolina, called the Ukranian president currently leading a courageous resistance against the bloody aggressions of Russia’s Vladimir Putin a “thug.”

It wasn’t the routine threats of violence , or his specific incitements to violence at Donald Trump’s notorious Jan. 6, 2021, rally, or the allegations of sexual misconduct , or the lies about his background, including the events that led up to his confinement in a wheelchair , or even the racist website he created .

No, what finally earned this Trump world darling the substantive rebuke of Republican leadership in the House was his utterly unsubstantiated claims about cocaine-fueled sex orgies engaged in by members of Congress.

“He’s lost my trust. He’s going to have to earn it back,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said , adding that Cawthorn’s comments were “unbecoming.”

Wake up, Rep. McCarthy. Unbecoming conduct has been the defining characteristic of Cawthorn’s nascent and ignominious political career.

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