New Orleans I warned you. I’m watching the Game of Thrones reality show in Washington, DC, in the House of Representatives on full alert. I had been honest, that if it played out as it looked to me in wild, cheap seat speculation, I was going to be all about “I told you so.” Sure enough, so far with yet another vote pending, it looks like I should be putting in an order to Amazon for a crystal ball and set up a card table in the French Quarter to make some spare change.
Ohio arch-conservative Jim Jordan won a bit of a nod to take a shot at the Speaker’s job, but all reports are that he is nowhere close to the number he needs. He says he won’t call a vote until he’s only five votes from the number he needs, but one is still scheduled even as a long shot. There are reports that he and his posse are basically trying to bully their way to the majority and of course trying to play the Trump endorsement card to doubly threaten more moderate Republicans and those that are sitting in seats that Biden won and most imperiled and seen as potential Democratic pickups in 2024.
In a super “I told you so” report, some more mod-Republicans, including ones from Alabama and Florida, both Trump redoubts, “have publicly called on Democrats to specify what they would need to throw the GOP a lifeline….” On the table, as we predicted, is the requirement that no single member would be able in the future to pull the Matt Gaetz move and call for a “snap vote” on the Speaker, where a simple majority pushes them out. Democrats in some quarters have suggested it should at least require a majority of the party’s caucus to pull that trigger, blocking any future small cabal from creating chaos. Looking past in-house procedures, on the policy side Democrats are looking for some way to modify the “motions to vacate” so that some matters like Ukraine, Israel, and others could not be blocked from a floor vote by any small gaggle of representatives with a separate agenda.
None of this adds up to a deal yet. Democrats could also get greedy and try for more than their leverage and bargaining position warrants. Republicans could panic, worrying about backlash from wingers in their primaries. That’s all way out of my job description. None of us know what else is happening in the cloakrooms either with the spurned Speaker candidates, though I still believe they have zero incentive to break a sweat for Jordan.
The only thing that seems crystal clear is that Jordan can huff and puff, but he can’t blow the House down. He just doesn’t have the votes.