October 19, 2023

Jim Jordan

“Outspoken conservative Jim Jordan sought more time to bolster his faltering bid for the top job in the U.S. House of Representatives after losing a second vote on Wednesday… Jordan, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, for a second straight day fell short of the 217 votes needed to fill the vacant speaker's chair, as 22 Republicans and all 212 Democrats voted against him… Other Republicans said it was time to consider a fallback option that would give increased power to Representative Patrick McHenry, who has been temporarily filling the speaker's chair.” Reuters

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From the Left

The left criticizes Jordan’s history of obstructionism, and urges the House to expand the powers of Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry.

"The Trump henchman once condemned as a career-long ‘legislative terrorist’ by another Ohio Republican, former Speaker John A. Boehner, has been passing himself off as a virtual Solon… He has reportedly assured Republicans that he’s sworn off government shutdowns, and that as speaker he’d allow House votes on the must-pass annual spending bills and aid for Ukraine as well as Israel… He vowed to take the lead on passing ‘responsible legislation to fund our government and support our military.’…

“For the sake of argument, let’s say the Republican converts for Jordan aren’t being played. Maybe his makeover will prove real. Maybe, given Jordan’s popularity with the MAGA forces in Congress and out, he is the one person who can sell the right on the inevitable compromises necessary to govern. I doubt it. But if Jordan is elected speaker, we have to hope for silver linings."

Jackie Calmes, Los Angeles Times

"The irony of this difficulty to even do the basics in Congress is that it could normalize norm-breaking, prompting another revolt but this time from the pre-Trump party. You want to vote against the rule on the floor, as far-right House Republicans did when McCarthy attempted to pass spending bills, and then throw him out of the speakership when he dares keep the government open?…

“Okay, but that will only embolden the institutionalists, much as what happened when they rose to block Jordan this week. If the next speaker is scared of calling the vote on a Ukraine aid bill — even if it’s dressed up with money for Israel, Taiwan the U.S.-Mexico border and called the Confront Xi Jinping Act of 2023 — well then enough hawkish Republicans may sign a discharge petition with most every House Democrat to bring the bill to the floor. After all, they’ll say, they didn’t start this tactical arms race. They’re just playing by the new rules."

Jonathan Martin, Politico

“Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) is circulating a resolution that would temporarily expand the powers of Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.) until Nov. 17, when the government will shut down absent congressional action, or until a new speaker is elected. Former House speakers John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) endorse this idea…

“Mr. Kelly’s resolution would not require Republicans to bring Democrats into a governing coalition, which House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) proposed in a Post op-ed. Instead, it would restore some semblance of functionality as Republicans get their own house in order. Mr. McHenry could direct fellow GOP committee chairs to advance appropriations bills and a supplemental funding package to help Israel and Ukraine in their hours of need… The time has come for the House to get back to work.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is disappointed by the chaotic process and the divisions within the Republican party.

The right is disappointed by the chaotic process and the divisions within the Republican party.

“[Rep. Doug] Lamalfa, one of the flips to Jordan, reportedly told members of the media that after round three, Jordan should consider pulling out of the race. After it took 15 rounds for McCarthy to become Speaker in January, Jordan should throw in the towel after just three? Absolutely not. Even with one additional vote against him, Jordan’s in a much better position than he was at the end of last week when 55 members of the House GOP said they wouldn’t vote for Jordan on the floor…

“What’s more, anyone who says Jordan should surrender because a prolonged fight makes it more likely that centrists will partner with Democrats to elect a consensus Speaker isn’t thinking beyond the initial vote. More likely than not, this bipartisan coalition completely falls apart when it has to pass a new rules package. When they’re not able to do so, Republicans have a clear path to vacate the consensus chair, and it’s back to square one… Jordan and his allies must hold the line.”

Bradley Devlin, American Conservative

“It’s becoming worryingly obvious that the House GOP caucus is slowly reaching the point of becoming ungovernable and dysfunctional… There are a number of Republicans, particularly the ones from more vulnerable districts, who are simply done with Donald Trump and want to see the party move on. And a small but sufficient number of them are simply not going to support or show any loyalty to a leader in the House who is viewed as a Trump surrogate…

“At the same time, a smaller, but still sufficient number of members are dedicated Trump loyalists. They will similarly refuse to fall in line behind any insufficiently Trumpian nominees for a leadership position… This is Donald Trump’s show for now and he is the de facto leader of an increasingly divided party. It’s pretty hard to win elections under conditions like these, but the rest of us are just going [to] have to muddle along as best we can and try to find a path to victory.”

Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

“Still, for all the Republicans’ problems, there’s hope: Americans don’t like Democrats either. A Sept. 23 Gallup poll found 56% gave the GOP an unfavorable rating while 58% rated Democrats unfavorably. The saving grace for Republicans is that on big issues, Americans pick the GOP by a large margin…

“On which party ‘will do a better job of keeping the country prosperous,’ Americans said Republicans by 53% to 39%, the GOP’s largest lead on this issue since mid-1991. When asked which party ‘will do a better job of protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats,’ Republicans lead Democrats by an even wider margin, 57% to 35%. Even when voters were asked which party would do a better job ‘handling the problem you think is most important,’ Republicans lead 44% to 36%.”

Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal

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