There’s a special kind of humiliation in politics when you have already been elected party to office, are serving your constituents and after one term, you lose your primary’s primary.
On Tuesday night, the notorious and wildly-famous-for-a-freshman-congressman, Madison Cawthorn joined that dreaded one term and primaried club.
There is a specific sting that comes with such a short, yet full-throttled failure.
I can think of one person in my home state of Arizona that had this kind of spectacular flameout — former Congressman Ben Quayle, son of former Vice President Dan Quayle.
Ben Quayle served one term in the US House from 2011 to 2013 and faded away into the bowels of political history.
I do not know Congressman Cawthorn and I do not wish him ill.
In fact, he appears to have graciously conceded defeat to his Republican North Carolina primary opponent Chuck Edwards.
But there is no way for Cawthorn to spin his way out of this huge embarrassment for him and his campaign.
Politics is a rough, dirty, compassionless, relentless profession and he seems to have a lot of personal problems and demons.
In what must have been one of the most shocking interviews ever given by a sitting congressman, Cawthorn suggested that senior Republican leaders had invited him to take part in cocaine-fueled orgies.
On Tuesday night, the notorious and wildly-famous-for-a-freshman-congressman, Madison Cawthorn joined that dreaded one term and primaried club. (Above) Cawthorn, RN.C., speaks to supporters and the media at his primary election night watch party in Hendersonville, NC, Tuesday, May 17, 2022
He never named names and eventually walked that back.
Then compromising photos and video emerged showing him dressed in women’s clothing and engaging in inappropriate conduct with a staffer.
Long story short – this guy has issues and Capitol Hill is not an appropriate place for him (or his constituents) to work that out.
He was just 25 years old when he entered the office as the youngest congressperson ever elected and he has left as the youngest, at the 26.
During that time, he became infamous for his political stunts, incendiary tweeting, bizarre interviews, risqué photos, lies, scandals (including bringing a gun to the airport multiple times), speeding tickets, allegations of financial funny-business with staff, and last but certainly not least, emphasizing that he and his congressional team wanted to focus on ‘communication over governing.’
Translation: He was more interested in punditry than policy.
This is something that sounds absurd to political veterans, but it is more and more common with the millennial and Gen-Z generation of politicians.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is exhibit A.
She is more well known for her tweets, Instagram livestreams, political stunts and MET Ball gowns than any policy passed while serving in Congress.
She presents herself as an entirely more serious person than Cawthorn, but eventually she too will have to start producing legislation.
There is a parallel universe where Cawthorn didn’t flame out so easily and spectacularly.
Instead of tweeting his way through Congress, lying about witnessing drug use and Washington DC orgies and making a media spectacle of himself, this alternate-universe Cawthorn chose to focus on the issues that really matter to the people of North Carolina.
But alas, he has blown a huge opportunity in his life and the lives of his constituents because of the seduction of cable news and Twitter.
Let the short, flameout career of Madison Cawthorn serve as a warning shot to all of the politicians out there on the left and the right who choose to focus more on theatrics than actual governing.
We all know who they are and it isn’t just limited to Congress.
There is a nasty habit right now among those serving in and for the White House as well.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is more well known for her tweets, Instagram livestreams, political stunts and MET Ball gowns than any policy passed while serving in Congress. (Above) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) attends The 2021 Met Gala on September 13, 2021 in New York City
Those appointed or confirmed to occupy high-level staff positions seem much more interested in being on camera and vying for a job hosting a cable news show than helping the American public.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is in the process of making her seamless jump from the Brady Briefing room podium to an MSNBC pundit’s chair.
That’s not unheard of, but what is best is how she did it – simultaneously negotiating with left-wing media bigwigs, while claiming to represent the administration without bias.
Former Chief Spokesperson to Vice President Harris Symone Sanders made the jump to MSNBC as well, but her low ratings so far suggest the audience isn’t enamored.
The American public has a lot less tolerance for this kind of clownery than they had before and maybe would have had in a thriving economy.
The people are suffering in many different ways and want people on in DC who will actually get things done for them and not serve themselves.
There used to be a level of decorum and baseline ethics that blocked the shameless turnstile of people coming in and out of Washington DC into New York studios.
If I were advising a freshmen conperson, I would tell them to only do interviews with local news in their home state for the entire first year of holding office.
A politician has to earn their right to do national media so as not to appear entirely self-centered and unfocused on the job that they were hired to do.
I believe that Cawthorn’s loss is the first chink in the armor of the new class of recently elected dog and pony show politicians on Capitol Hill. I’m looking at you Marjorie Taylor Greene. (Above) Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., departs the House chamber at the end of votes, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 12, 2022
What does the future hold for Madison Cawthorn?
I have absolutely no idea.
But I believe that Cawthorn’s loss is the first chink in the armor of the new class of recently elected dog and pony show politicians on Capitol Hill.
I’m looking at you Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Many things change over time in this country, but one old adage of politics will forever stay the same — become too national, too fast and you will lose your local integrity.
Politicians should see what just happened to Cawthorn and be warned, the days of tweeting and dunking on the press, don’t substitute harsh for governing, particularly in the reality of 2022.