NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, October 20th, 2023

Bowing to reality and a vote of no confidence, Jim Jordan ends his bid for Speaker

Insur­rec­tion­ist enabler Jim Jor­dan of Ohio will not become the next Speak­er of the Unit­ed States of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the House Repub­li­can cau­cus has decided.

Jor­dan’s cam­paign for the post came to an abrupt and humil­i­at­ing end when he unex­pect­ed­ly lost an inter­nal vote, con­duct­ed by secret bal­lot, to answer the ques­tion of whether he should remain the con­fer­ence’s nom­i­nee after fail­ing to get elect­ed Speak­er on the floor of the House not once, not twice, but thrice.

And that was despite hav­ing the endorse­ment of Don­ald Trump.

Jor­dan had already been expe­ri­enc­ing neg­a­tive momen­tum between those floor votes, with sev­er­al Repub­li­cans pulling their sup­port and leav­ing him well short of the thresh­old of a major­i­ty of rep­re­sen­ta­tives present and vot­ing he need­ed to win. Democ­rats put up their leader, Hakeem Jef­fries, in each round of vot­ing, as expect­ed, and every Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­ber of the cau­cus sup­port­ed him.

Jor­dan fig­ured he’d buy him­self more time to win over hold­outs by get­ting explic­it per­mis­sion from the cau­cus to keep on cam­paign­ing for Speaker.

It did­n’t work.

Repub­li­cans have a slim major­i­ty in the House this Con­gress and can’t elect a Speak­er them­selves with­out near una­nim­i­ty in their ranks.

That’s a big prob­lem for them, because they are a frac­tured group that does­n’t trust or like each oth­er. In the past, they have tried to keep their feud­ing behind closed doors, but in the last few weeks, their infight­ing has explod­ed into pub­lic view to a degree our team feels is unprece­dent­ed. Many have demon­strat­ed an increased will­ing­ness to go on the record and crit­i­cize their fel­low Repub­li­cans, open­ly dis­re­gard­ing the once-sacred “Eleventh Commandment.”

Con­sid­er these on the record comments:

“If you are going to blow a bridge, you bet­ter have anoth­er one to cross. And those eight clear­ly didn’t have anoth­er one to cross before they blew this bridge.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Waltz (R‑Florida), com­ment­ing on the motion to vacate brought by Matt Gaetz, which eight Repub­li­cans supported

“I don’t think there is a sin­gle per­son in that room that can get 217 votes… Peo­ple are start­ing to real­ize that Kevin McCarthy kept this thing togeth­er with duct tape and sil­ly put­ty. And it’s not as easy as they think.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kel­ly Arm­strong (R‑North Dako­ta), admit­ting that Repub­li­cans are extreme­ly stuck after the ouster of Kevin McCarthy

“The most pop­u­lar Repub­li­can in Con­gress was just knifed in an anony­mous vote in a secret closed door meet­ing in the base­ment of the Capitol.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz (R‑Florida), grum­bling that Jor­dan’s gam­bit to keep his bid for Speak­er alive end­ed in a humil­i­at­ing failure

“There’s noth­ing that peo­ple can give us. There’s noth­ing that peo­ple can trade. That’s not what this is about.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mario Diaz-Balart (R‑Florida), explain­ing that those who are stri­dent­ly against Jor­dan becom­ing Speak­er don’t want any­thing from him or his backers

“One thing I can­not stom­ach, or sup­port is a bul­ly… Some­one who threat­ens anoth­er with bod­i­ly harm or tries to sup­press dif­fer­ing opin­ions under­mines oppor­tu­ni­ty for uni­ty and regard for free­dom of speech.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­i­an­nette Miller-Meeks (R‑Iowa), decry­ing the death threats she’s received from Jor­dan backers

“I think a lot of these guys play to the clicks. If you live in an echo cham­ber and you’re only talk­ing to peo­ple that agree with you, I think, well, you have an unre­al­is­tic view of what’s going on, then.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Don Bacon (R‑Nebraska) describ­ing many of his ultra MAGA col­leagues, who have no inter­est in governing

And then there was this from Flori­da’s ultra MAGA Gov­er­nor Ron DeSantis:

“Look, I think it’s unfor­tu­nate that these guys can’t get their act togeth­er,” said Mr. DeSan­tis, a Repub­li­can run­ning for pres­i­dent who once served in the House. “It’s like the gang that can’t shoot straight. They’ve been run­ning around like chick­ens with their heads cut off. It’s not inspir­ing con­fi­dence. There’s a lot of theater.”

Polit­i­cal the­ater is actu­al­ly noth­ing new — it’s been part of the Repub­li­can M.O. for a very long time. What is new is the utter dys­func­tion and degree to which the infight­ing is on dis­play for every­one to see. Most of what seems to unite these Repub­li­cans is what they don’t like — e.g. Pres­i­dent Biden and Demo­c­ra­t­ic poli­cies. They objec­tive­ly lack ideas to help the coun­try and haven’t done much leg­is­lat­ing since they got con­trol of the House of Representatives.

If we look back at what’s hap­pened so far this year — and you can browse NPI’s archive of Last Week In Con­gress for vote data — we can see the House just has­n’t done very much. It’s an insti­tu­tion lurch­ing from cri­sis to crisis.

There was the strug­gle to elect Kevin McCarthy that start­ed every­thing in Jan­u­ary, there was the pas­sage of some bills dead on arrival in the Sen­ate that were designed to stoke the cul­ture wars Repub­li­cans want to wage, there was the debt ceil­ing deal, there was the base­less impeach­ment inquiry, and then more recent­ly, there was the pas­sage of the con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion to keep the gov­ern­ment open, plus some “inves­ti­ga­tions” launched by  to gen­er­ate anti-Biden media coverage.

In between, there have been only a few small pol­i­cy wins here and there that got bipar­ti­san and some­times even unan­i­mous sup­port, like Ruben Gal­le­go’s Native Amer­i­can Child Pro­tec­tion Act, which passed in September.

When Democ­rats had tri­fec­ta con­trol in the last Con­gress, they got a lot done, despite hav­ing only slim majori­ties them­selves. The list is long — it includ­ed the Infra­struc­ture and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Sci­ence Act, the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act, the Respect for Mar­riage Act, the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan, the Postal Ser­vice Reform Act, and the Elec­toral Count Reform and Pres­i­den­tial Tran­si­tion Improve­ment Act. That’s just a sam­pling — there’s much more.

There was no who’ll be our Speak­er sideshow in the last Congress.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, who Repub­li­cans love to denounce, ran a tight ship, as always, and made sure that the votes were count­ed before bring­ing motions or leg­is­la­tion to the floor. Her suc­ces­sor, Hakeem Jef­fries, hopes that vot­ers remem­ber how dys­func­tion­al Repub­li­cans have been this Con­gress when they’re decid­ing who should rep­re­sent them in the House in 2024.

So do oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic leaders.

“Before most Amer­i­cans have even fin­ished their work week, House Repub­li­cans have already giv­en them­selves an ear­ly start to the week­end after only get­ting fur­ther away from putting out their own dump­ster fire,” said Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee Chair Jaime Har­ri­son in a statement.

“It seemed like the Chaos Con­fer­ence reached rock bot­tom 17 days ago when they oust­ed their own speak­er, but the House GOP spent the last two and a half weeks only fur­ther prov­ing to the Amer­i­can peo­ple that they are unfit to gov­ern. Instead of work­ing to avoid a loom­ing gov­ern­ment shut­down or sup­port­ing our allies in Israel and Ukraine, House Repub­li­cans have shame­ful­ly thrown in the tow­el – before what will inevitably be anoth­er long week of new lows.”

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple deserve better.”

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