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Will Cowardly Republicans Make Coup Plotter Jim Jordan Speaker?
You’ll never go broke betting on them to do the wrong thing.
House Republicans held an internal caucus vote for speaker last week, and Jim Jordan lost. Steve Scalise had 113 votes, which is more, to Jordan’s 99, which is less. If this were a functioning political party, like the Democrats, everyone would’ve accepted this outcome, gone out on the House floor, and elected Scalise the next worst speaker ever. However, Jordan’s supporters (and let’s face it, Jordan himself) rejected the results of a free and fair election. This was a not a surprise. This is what the party does now. They didn’t even bother with allegations of fraud, which is almost passé.
Poor, pathetic Scalise was denied the 217 votes he needed on the floor. He conceded defeat and withdrew his name from consideration, declaring the simultaneous grand opening/grand closing of his speakership.
Sensible people scoffed when Jordan announced he was making another run for the gavel. Scalise couldn’t get from 113 to 217, so how could Jordan go from 99 to 217? Well, he didn’t. He managed just 124 votes the second go round, but that doesn’t matter. We’re all out here counting votes like nerds when Republicans don’t believe in democratic elections. That should’ve been obvious since 2020. Hell, it should have been obvious since 2000.
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Jordan’s droogs spent the weekend muscling the holdouts into submission. They enlisted the help of state media spokesman Sean Hannity. Once again, very serious people argued this was the end for Jordan, because “moderate Republicans” wouldn’t stand for such thuggish tactics. This would only harden their resolve. Take that horse head away because Johnny Fontane never gets that movie! Hell, there was even renewed fairy tale talk about a bipartisan coalition electing a “consensus” speaker who wasn’t a raving lunatic.
However, as Monday progressed, more and more former Scalise allies threw their support to Jordan. Among them was Anne Wagner, who last week ripped Jordan for reportedly giving “the most disgraceful, ungracious — I can’t call it a concession speech — of all time. There were gasps in the room.” Gasps! she says. No wonder she was considered one of the bedrock “Never Jordan” votes. She responded with a firm “absolutely not!” when asked if she’d ever support Jordan, but a lot can change over a madcap few days — like a lady can remember Democrats exist and are terrible.
Wagner declared Monday, “Let me be clear, I am not, and will not, work with Democrats as our Republican conference comes together to elect a conservative Speaker of the House. Too much is at stake to hand control of the House over to radical liberal Democrats, which is why we must elect a conservative as the next Speaker.”
Hakeem Jeffries is not a “radical liberal” but Republicans will always choose the worst among them over the best the Democrats can offer. They might disagree with Jim Jordan or even Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene but they consider Democrats fundamentally illegitimate. Worse, this is what Republican voters demand.
Jake Sherman at Punchbowl News reported more and more Scalise “loyalists” flipping their support to Jordan. Even Ken Buck, who was originally “hell no” because of all the couping, is now a “lean no,” but planned to meet with Jordan Monday night to quiz him on democracy. During his one-on-ones with skeptical Republicans, Jordan has done a fine job of convincing them he’s not Jim Jordan. Maybe he wore glasses and combed his hair slightly different. He certainly was more successful than Scalise was with his holdouts.
Wha’ happened? It’s simple: Republicans are cowards — morally, physically, and every other possible adverb. That was obvious in 2016 when they all folded to Donald Trump, but a shameful spotlight shined on their cowardice on January 6, 2021, when mere hours after Trump’s thugs attacked the Capitol, 139 Republicans in the House and eight in the Senate voted to overturn the election based on lies. Some, like Jordan, had been all in on Trump’s coup, but many, perhaps most, voted to kill democracy for no grander reason than they feared for their lives. What they lacked in conviction, they made up for in soiled undies.
We can’t stress enough that if political gain alone wasn’t the motivation for these Republicans but primal fear, then Democrats acted bravely and more honorably. Sure, it was in their political interest to certify Biden’s win, but they also have families and kneecaps they wish to keep healthy.
Jordan started Tuesday less than 10 votes away from winning the speakership. Yesterday, he wrote in a letter to the caucus that he would make sure “there are more Republican voices involved in our major decisions beyond the Five Families.” He’s not using mob rhetoric as a joke. It’s who he is and this is the man Republicans might put second in line to the presidency.
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