Some thoughts on the House Speaker Battle

Some thoughts on the House Speaker Battle

Watching last week’s Speaker battle in the House was quite revealing.

While some columnists have expressed concern that the fractious Speaker’s fight was a performative waste of time that might have harmed the new Republican majority’s ability to govern for the next two years, I don’t see it that way.

Don’t get me wrong, there was performative BS involved. Every noble effort will find itself attracting showboating assholes who attach themselves like barnacles hoping to exploit it for their self-promoting purposes.

And the Speaker battle has its fair share of barnacles.

Contrary to what some elected lawmakers might think, being a member of Congress is not a no-show job. Voters didn’t elect these guys to Congress so they could aspire to be social media “influencers” who preen for the cable news cameras while screaming, “Look at ME!!!!”

Since the Constitution places a great deal of power into the hands of the legislative branch, being a representative requires work. Legislating on behalf of the people should be open and transparent. And it should include vibrant, healthy, and sometimes contentious debate.

For some House members, last week may have been the first time they witnessed a raucous debate carried out in full view of the American people. And rather than welcome it, they complained about how unseemly and chaotic the process of self-governance can be. To those guys, being a member of the House means getting a taxpayer-funded salary to do nothing while lobbyists and activists write legislation for you, and then all you have to do is cast a vote. Hell, you don’t even have to read the damn bill first.

But that’s not how any of this is supposed to work.

When you are the ones who hold the power of the purse, whose laws are imposed on every American citizen, you should be expected to show up for work and battle it out in an open and transparent manner.

The legislative body in a representative Republic shouldn’t be hiding behind closed doors compiling lobbyist-written legislation nobody has time to read. They should be introducing stand-alone bills which are debated on the floor and grappled over with all the seriousness and deliberation required.

And thanks to a handful of Republicans “disrupting” the status quo during last week’s Speaker battle, there are proposed changes to the House rules that will restore sanity, seriousness, and sense to the legislative process and Congressional oversight.

Now, that isn’t to say that every Republican member who opposed Kevin McCarthy acted with the best intentions.

From what I could see, Texas Republican Chip Roy was the guy driving this bus while mid-wit attention whore Matt Gaetz was the clown in the back calling attention to himself by mooning passing motorists.

With Gaetz sucking all the oxygen out of the room, the media was able to portray last week’s House battle as a pointless, rudderless exercise brought to you by “feckless” Republicans who don’t know what they’re doing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The serious hold-outs fought for genuine changes that could, as constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley put it, “redefine legislative rights” and “have tangible improvements for the House.”

In his column, “The 55th Speaker: Kevin McCarthy is no Nancy Pelosi – and that’s a good thing,” Turley outlines how the negotiated concessions will change the legislative and oversight process for the better while stripping the Speakership of the dictatorial powers Nancy Pelosi bestowed upon herself. He concludes his column with this:

Yes, there are demands in the concessions that some of us do not favor. However, we should be honest about the status quo: Today’s legislative system is a mockery of the deliberative process, characterized by runaway spending, blind voting and perfunctory debates. You can dislike or denounce the holdouts while still admitting they have a point — Congress has got to change.

Over the years, the House of Representatives ceded much of its power to the Executive Branch, giving elected members all the time in the world to laze about doing nothing while increasing the social media presence.

Using the Speaker battle to reaffirm the authority of the House while reversing both Pelosi’s abuses and all the nonsense that drove us into massive debt was not a pointless or time-wasting exercise. It was time well spent. And the Democrats may come to regret their short-sighted decision to approach last week’s battle with condescending and derisive delight.

As Shant Mesrobian put it Friday on Twitter:

“If things now play out the way it looks like they will with the Speaker vote, every alarmist idiot in media should feel extremely stupid and every gloating progressive in Congress should feel extremely humiliated that they couldn’t accomplish anything like this on their side.”

Thanks to hold-outs like Chip Roy, Republicans have created the groundwork necessary to restore the House of Representatives and reinvigorate true self-government.

It certainly isn’t the fault of the serious hold-outs that lightweight glory hounds like Matt Gaetz exploited the Speaker battle to boost their egos, social media engagement, and fundraising efforts. What matters here is that Roy and the others didn’t let the showboaters sink their efforts.

On the plus side, last week’s battle in the House went a long way to exposing which Republicans are serious about putting America first and which are self-satisfied attention whores more interested in putting themselves in the spotlight.

It also served as a reminder to all 435 members that they should take their vital role in our Republic seriously. There is more to the job than cable news interviews, showboating on social media, and voting on society-altering legislation they don’t bother to debate or even read.

And if some of them aren’t up to the role, then perhaps this new term should be their last.

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5 thoughts on “Some thoughts on the House Speaker Battle

  • January 8, 2023 at 10:40 am

    Well said Ms. Dianny. Thanks…

  • January 8, 2023 at 11:13 am

    I watched the 9th -14th voting on Cspan and I agree with 99% of your assessments. I’m disgusted with the clown acts on both sides, it’s evident the goofball Ds are pros when it’s their turn to talk out of their asses while the Rs just sit there and tell each other jokes.
    Or maybe I have both parties confused with each other

    The holdouts did keep things Interesting until Saturday, even though Spartz from Indiana was a head scratcher with her “present “ vote when it didn’t matter.

    The thing that bothers me the most were the empty seats all day long everyday ….and the inept Cspan camera operators, I had an image of monkeys wearing CNN shirts in the control booth throwing crap everywhere, eating bananas, jumping around, or just sitting on the camera controls

  • January 8, 2023 at 11:23 am

    I do hope Roy and his small caucus can keep things lively

  • January 8, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Let’s hope these rules will be followed by McCarthy and the GOP and they will not allow the Dems to steamroll more bloated spending on stupid programs that have little to no benefit. I’ve often thought that government is basically where a small group of people (Congress) pass laws that take money from a large group of people (those who actually pay taxes) to give to a different small group of people who did not earn the right to receive that money.

  • January 8, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    “suppose you are an idiot. Then , suppose you are a member of congress. But, I repeat myself” ~ Mark Twain


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