Yes, this headline is snarky. But the Republican Leadership in the House deserves the sarcasm.
Anyone who knows me realizes how much I love political theater and drama. My undergraduate degree is political science. And for several years I was one of the voices of the Gavel-to-Gavel live broadcast coverage of the Iowa Genera Assembly on WOI Radio.
And as apparent here, I continue to comment on politics at both the local, national and even international level.
Generally I have respect for elected lawmakers. My experience watching the deliberations of the Iowa legislature persuades me that both Democrats and Republicans (most of them) have sincerely held beliefs about what policies are good for Iowans.
Unfortunately, in recent years, the Republican majority in both Iowa chambers appears to have ignored obviously good proposals from the Democrats that would improve the GOP’s legislative agenda.
Returning to Washington, one has reason to be skeptical (even cynical) about the sincerity of legislative debate by both political parties on Capitol Hill.
In these first days of the 118th Congress, the House has failed to elect a Speaker of the House. There have been six ballots over the first two days of this session and California Republican Kevin McCarthy—the Republicans’ early choice to be house speaker—has failed to obtain the required 218 votes to be elected. He has stalled at 202 or 203 in each round.
A score of recalcitrant Republicans has blocked his election by casting votes each time for alternative candidates—Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Byron Donalds of Florida.
The Democrats have nominated New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries and he has received the unanimous support of his liberal colleagues—212 votes.
What happens now?
The House has adjourned following the sixth ballot and is scheduled to return to session tonight around seven o’clock.
In a normal world (non-existent in Washington), McCarthy would acquiesce to reality, withdraw and the Republican majority would agree on another candidate. Early voting would indicate the most likely acceptable one is Ohio’s Jim Jordan.
But since I believe that McCarthy probably has dreamed of being the Speaker of House since he was in kindergarten, that seems unlikely.
Thus, two prospects remain: First, McCarthy grants more concessions to the Republicans who are holding him ransom in exchange for his promises on issues important to them. News reports indicate that he has already given up much.
Second, McCarthy or some supporters with whom he has agreed, appeal to the Democrats for their support. This seems unimaginable for obvious reasons.
So the drama continues and we’ll be watching in Prime Time.