New Orleans This isn’t a race among the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives, it’s a some kind of a bad survival television reality show. The big difference is that the subtitle on this show would be: Survival of the Unfittest. We’re watching such a downhill slide that we seem to have gone from bad to worse to terrible to not much better to virtually evil, and who knows where it will end. Trump keeps jumping into the mess to torpedo anyone who hasn’t drunk his Kool-Aid. All the blissfully taciturn Senate Republican Minority leader, Mitch McConnell, can say is that “eventually they will select a Speaker,” which is the sort of quote that says, yes, the storm is terrible, but one day the sun will shine again.
For those still keeping score on these rings of Republican hell, first, what three weeks ago now, the gang of eight right radicals, pushed out Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Then Majority Leader Louisiana’s Steve Scalise was their candidate, but he pulled out before a vote, knowing how to count, he didn’t see the numbers. Next up, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, who had sabotaged Scalise and no matter how he had voted, likely had his knife in McCarthy’s back as well. He lost three straight votes over several days, gaining fewer votes each time. Minnesota’s Emmer, currently the House whip for the majority was next in line for a shot, but he didn’t make it overnight. Within hours, Trump both said that he didn’t know him, and that he was a RINO, Republican In Name Only, putting a vampire curse on him. Of course, a bunch of the right wingers also attacked him because he had voted to certify Biden in 2020, was ok with same sex marriage, and had voted to keep the government from shutting down the budget deal with Biden that McCarthy had negotiated.
Once again, he, like Scalise, was the whip. The whip’s job, regardless of the party in power, is to count the votes. The ideologues don’t care about the votes, just the chance to wave their flag on the issues that they share with their buddies, and that’s the big problem here. They don’t seem to know how to get to a majority, and maybe don’t even care. They just want to outlast the ones who care about keeping government going and serving the people, so they can be the last one standing.
Louisiana is getting a worse name around the country, because the next guy up is Mike Johnson from the 4th district which is largely the north and west-central parishes where the cities are Shreveport and Alexandria, although we’re so gerrymandered in Louisiana that geography means little other than what it takes to delete the Black vote. Johnson is far out, which seems to fit the bill for a bunch of the caucus. He voted not to certify Biden and was part of the team defending that play. He’s over the top about anything in schools that mentions gender to kids. He’s a hard “No” on Ukraine. I’m sure if he has a dog, he loves it, but that’s only my best guess of something positive to say about this guy. Basically, he’s been a no-name, back bencher, where being a hater is a badge of honor. It’s worth adding that Scalise is bad mouthing him to the local Louisiana press for not supporting his bid, which might mean that the time for payback is coming from that corner. Remember any four votes sinks the Speaker ship.
Now, Johnson as Speaker? Who would have ever guessed it? Not me, but I’m past predicting about this madness. I haven’t been to the circus in years, so I don’t know what act is coming up next. I can’t see how he can get the votes, but maybe he’s hoping the rest of the caucus is worn down enough to let him. This is when someone finally needs to make a deal, but right now there’s nothing but an impasse. Win, lose, or draw, the only thing certain at this point is that there will be no end to this horror show until a year from now when the voters get a chance to finally have their say.