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After Three Weeks Of Drama . . . House GOP Chooses Speaker Who Doesn’t Look Dramatic At All

October 26, 2023 Frontpage, Uncategorized No Comments


If it takes the United States at least two years to elect a president, or maybe four years or longer, maybe it’s not catastrophic that it takes the members of the U.S. House of Representatives three weeks to choose their speaker.
The campaign for the presidency has about become everlasting. No sooner has the quadrennial choice been finalized than strategists, prognosticators, and journalists cast their gaze ahead to the next one or even farther into the future.
So perhaps it’s not disastrous that after Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) surprisingly was removed on October 3, it took until October 25 to consider other possibilities before unanimous first-ballot acceptance of a new speaker with the unremarkable-sounding name of Mike Johnson (R., La.).
Although Donald Trump jokingly joined growing warnings that it was proving impossible to reach the 217-vote level necessary to become speaker — Trump kidded that only Jesus could do it — the pro-Trump Johnson refuted them all.
Actually, Trump while in New Hampshire on October 23 said seriously that he expected a “positive” result to “end up working well…pretty soon.”
And the Lord already has a job.
Johnson’s profile may have been new nationally when he suddenly became third in line to the presidency, but he was a familiar co-worker to other House members.
After they toiled their way past speaker candidates whose names may have carried too much baggage — Steve Scalise (R., La.), Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), and Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) — the modest-appearing Johnson seemed to be just what they wanted as he prevailed in the narrowly divided House by gaining 220 votes, versus Democrat Party extremists’ unanimous vote of 209 for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.).
As Johnson made his first public remarks after winning, one notable quality leapt right out — he speaks merely a million times better than the guffawing, rambling, spaced-out, and incompetent vice president right ahead of him in line of succession, Democrat Kamala Harris.
There was an uncanny note, too. The Florida Republican who set in motion what had appeared to be McCarthy’s disastrous removal as speaker, Cong. Matt Gaetz, may have been proven correct after all for saying that the successor to McCarthy would be an improvement.
It was reasonable that news media would want to inform their audiences of what the new speaker amounted to. However, dominant left-wing media’s immediate disgust at describing him in “news” as well as opinion coverage showed he hadn’t been one of their ideological errand boys.
No doubt they’ll be trying to hammer Johnson into changing with their carrot and the stick and other methods. But his traditionalist record on issues like pro-life and marriage had left them no comfort. Why, Johnson didn’t sound a bit like media-beloved notoriously bad Catholics Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.
The Wanderer took a look at Johnson coverage of some prominent U.S. and European newspapers’ online front pages.
The New York Times headlined, “Republicans unite around a hard-right conservative. The far right gets its man of the House” who, text added, “can be expected to press a hard-right social and fiscal agenda.”
The second and third sentences of The Washington Post’s online lead story: “Republicans welcomed a candidate they considered noncontroversial after three weeks of infighting. Democrats criticized his background as extreme, pointing in part to his opposition to certifying President Biden’s 2020 electoral win.”
An up-front Washington Post analysis may prove accurate if one takes the left-wing perspective: “The GOP rebuked Gaetz and the ‘chaos caucus.’ Then it rewarded them.”
Hard-left Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus’ view was headlined, “As House speaker, Mike Johnson is as dangerous as Jim Jordan.” The first sentence was: “If you were worried about Speaker Jim Jordan, Speaker Mike Johnson might just curl your hair.”
(Hey, why not call writers like Marcus “hard left” when they and their platforms are so free to blast traditional conservatives as “hard right”?)
Under the headline “Johnson Made His Name as Cultural Conservative,” The Wall Street Journal’s one-sentence online summary said, “Louisiana representative Mike Johnson’s opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, along with support for religious freedoms, has guided him as a legislator.”
The Journal’s story began that by choosing Johnson, “Republicans have cast their lot with a little-known congressman from Louisiana who has made his name pushing conservative positions on cultural issues and who played a key role in unsuccessful legal efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”
Major Madrid left-wing daily El Pais’s headline was, “House of Representatives elects ultra-conservative Mike Johnson as speaker,” and a subhead saying, “Republicans end three weeks of chaos by electing an evangelical Christian who tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”
El Pais’s story included quoting Democratic Cong. Pete Aguilar saying that Republicans didn’t stop until they found “the person who can pass their litmus test of extremism to oppose marriage equality and push for a nationwide abortion ban with no exceptions, cut Social Security and Medicare, and support the overturning of a free and fair election’.”
The Citizen Free Press aggregator ran a montage of major-media headlines on Johnson, including these: “Well, We Have a Speaker. He’s an Election Denier and an Extreme Christian Fundamentalist” (The New Republic), “Desperate GOP turns to election denier in race for House speaker” (MSNBC), “The New House Speaker Is a Far-Right Extremist Who Helped Plot 2020 Coup” (Rolling Stone), and “Mike Johnson Tried to Help Donald Trump Steal an Election. He’s Now Speaker of the House” (Vanity Fair).
Is it any wonder that media consumers who keep their noses stuck in such lying rabid articles are trembling every day with dread of Trump’s alleged upcoming Nazi takeover?
The Wanderer asked three sources to comment on Johnson as the new speaker.
National conservative commentator Quin Hillyer said: “Mike Johnson is one of the brightest guys in the House, and apparently well liked and trusted by his colleagues. That’s good. On the down-side, he didn’t just voice suspicions about the 2020 election, but embraced some of the most obviously loony and asinine conspiracy theories about it, such as that the voting machines were a corrupt plant from Communist Venezuela.
“He had to know those claims were false, but he eagerly spread them anyway. That’s not a good sign for his judgment and integrity. So, he’s a mixed bag,” Hillyer said.
Hillyer, a Southerner who had worked in Washington, D.C., said he hadn’t had personal knowledge of or contact with Johnson, “But my Louisiana contacts seem to like him personally quite a lot.
“I also watched him in a contentious Judiciary Committee hearing,” Hillyer said. “Out of all the GOP reps, almost all of whom came across like idiots, jerks, demagogues, or all three at once, Johnson was the ONLY one who actually knew how to ask good questions of witnesses and then how to concisely and deftly ask follow-up questions that actually followed logically to what the first answers were, rather than just dumbly reading staff-written nonsense completely unresponsive to the developing testimony.
“And, if the goal was to highlight deficiencies in the witness’ testimony, Johnson could do it very well, withOUT yelling or needlessly interrupting or making himself look like an ass or a bully,” he said. “So, he probably will represent the Conference well before the cameras. That’s what I mean about him being obviously quite smart.”

The Stupid Party?

Mary Ann Kreitzer, who runs the Virginia-based Catholic blog Les Femmes — The Truth, said: “The speaker fiasco has been a head-shaker and made the Republicans look stupid at best (columnist Joe Sobran used to call them the stupid party) and incompetent at worst.
“The Democrats always circle the wagons together around their satanic agenda. The Republicans, on the other hand, don’t mind having a decent platform, but are rarely interested in defending it,” Kreitzer said. “They are a mixture of RINOs, donkeys in elephant’s clothing, self-serving members of the uniparty, and a few members of integrity who will stick to moral principles.
“Our salvation is not in politics, thank God, but it’s still important, which is why we should pay attention. On the verge of a global war, the Republicans are engaging in their own petty internal war,” Kreitzer said. “Sad to say, most Americans probably couldn’t care less. They’re on their cell phones and Facebook counting the likes and hearts for photos of their latest meal. Perhaps we’re getting what we deserve.
“Mother Teresa often said that abortion would lead to war,” Kreitzer said, quoting the nun: “The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
Kreitzer added about the House selection: “On the other hand, all the gyrations and arguments seemed to exhaust the members and may have resulted in a good outcome. Mike Johnson has a 100 percent pro-life voting record and is a strong constitutional lawyer. While he supported Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, he’s also opposed the ongoing financial support that’s bankrupting our country.
“As the world seems on the verge of Armageddon, we need to pray for our political leaders to broker peace; not make war,” she said. “We’ll see how successful the new speaker will be in unifying the stupid party of RINOs, uniparty warmongers, and donkeys in elephant’s clothing. I wish him well.”

Get Back To Work

In comments made earlier, conservative Republican political consultant Constantin Querard had criticized individual House members failing to support the choice of the majority of their colleagues in caucus but instead going their own way, so that neither nominees Scalise, Jordan, nor Emmer won a floor vote.
After Johnson was elected on his first floor vote, Querard commented to The Wanderer: “Looks like the GOP caucus finally figured out that the only way this works is if the members support the will of the majority of the caucus. It has long been understood, although quite a few members forgot about it for a while here in 2023, but everyone did what they were supposed to do and the U.S. House finally has a speaker again.
“Hopefully they can all get back to work and give the email fund-raising a rest for a few months, because there is a lot of work that needs their attention,” he said.
Querard also emailed a message to “you media types to keep in mind for next time”: “Johnson won with 100 percent of the GOP votes. So, juxtapose that against all the ‘establishment’ talk of the last few weeks, where we are told the establishment had the power and used their power to kill all the good candidates. That’s what we’ve been told, right?
“So today, all those same talking heads are cheering for Johnson and ignoring that he had the unanimous support of the establishment? But we’re supposed to believe the establishment killed Jordan because he and Trump were allies, etc.,” Querard said. “Those are all lies being told to steer the grassroots one direction or another, and until people get smarter, those tactics will work.
“Now you can see it for yourself, so don’t forget it the next time you’re in a hurry for a story and someone hands you a convenient narrative likely to please center-right readers,” he said. “It may not be real.”
Earlier in the week, before Johnson won, The Wanderer posed some questions to Querard including on the GOP difficulty choosing a speaker.
He replied: “Nothing has changed because we are still living in this new world where a certain number of Congressional Republicans suddenly no longer feel compelled to abide by the majority decision of the GOP caucus, so until a member can come along who can actually get 217 votes all by himself, you won’t get a speaker, until these members realize that this is unsustainable.
“And there is no reason for optimism because if there were a candidate that personally popular, he would have already been proposed, nominated, and elected,” he said. “The only people now running for speaker are candidates with less support than the candidates already disposed of by this broken process.”

Fine In The End

The Wanderer also asked if the two Arizona congressmen who were part of the eight GOP dissidents who forced McCarthy out, Andy Biggs and freshman Eli Crane, would have hurt themselves with the voters in 2024.
Querard replied: “Republican activists are still mostly okay with the vote to get rid of McCarthy, and the consequences of the House being without leadership have been minimal, for now. But there is a debt ceiling approaching and the business of this country can only wait for so long before the inability of Republicans to govern or to run the only part of the federal government we control becomes an issue.
“Biggs is perfectly safe in his district regardless of the outcome, but if the consequences actually start to impact regular folks, then a candidate like Crane might face some heat,” Querard said. “But he fits his district pretty well and I’d think he’d be fine in the end.”
Asked if House Republicans hurt their reputation with voters in 2024 as being better than the Democrats, Querard said: “One unfortunate thing about the timing is that Congressional Republicans were actually polling well ahead of the Democrats when it comes to who is best to handle key issues. So making voters doubt you can actually handle any issues seems like a really bad political idea.
“There is a ton of time between now and next November, of course,” he said, “but they are wasting time they should be using on a budget, Israel, the Biden investigation, and more.”
Another of the eight GOP dissidents, South Carolina Cong. Nancy Mace, said she voted to remove McCarthy because that’s what her constituents wanted, and that she wasn’t voting according to some national GOP plan.
Querard replied: “We can give her the benefit of the doubt in this case and assume that her phones likely lit up with people wanting McCarthy gone. I have no doubt that McCarthy was unpopular in her district, as he is in most districts other than his own.
“But that goes for virtually every speaker of the House,” he said, “and so will Mace now keep voting to kick out all of the future speakers in the middle of their term? That might be a bad precedent to set.”

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