Democracy at its Finest
The repeated votes for speaker should be celebrated as Democracy in action
There’s a lot of angst being written about how terrible it is that the House can’t select a speaker. Why?
First off, this is what democracy is all about. There’s lobbying, there’s negotiating, there’s voting to see if you can reach a majority. And then starting over when you don’t. The usual speaker elections are Kabuki theater. This is raw democracy.
Second, unlike January 6, unlike threatening our debt obligations, unlike performative screeching on FOX and MSNBC, this is not damaging to our democracy. This is a part of our democracy.
There’s No House
What about the issue of not having a constituted House? Not a big deal (Very Serious, TPM). There’s nothing that it needs to pass in the near future. There’s no significant oversight or lawmaking in process. The country will be fine if this takes a month or two.
After all, what happens once we have a speaker? The Republicans will then put 98% of their efforts into performative oversight. Even where there’s legitimate cause to dig into the problems, like the disastrously withdrawal from Afghanistan, what they do will not be helpful as it will all be played for the cameras. Are you in a hurry to get to that?
The House is unlikely to create any useful legislation. Any. And the bills they receive from the Senate that they might pass, those aren’t coming for awhile.
In the meantime, the country is getting a daily reminder about why they should not put Republicans in charge. Every day is a plus for the Democrats. How can Republicans credibly run for election promising to run the country when they can’t even elect a leader?
Should the Democrats step up?
Short answer - no. It’s not their job to save the Republicans from the crazies that the Republican leaders have nurtured all these years.
Long answer - if the Republicans propose a moderate as speaker, one who voted to accept the results of the electoral college (that has to be a very public requirement), and one who will put an equal number of members from each party on each committee, with the top Republican & Democrat as co-chairs, then… maybe.
One suggestion if they do this. Each party gets to select one member of each committee from the other party. So while each committee will be evenly balanced, the Democrats can insure there is at least one moderate reasonable Republican on each committee.
But not too soon. Let the Republican self-destruction continue. Let the offers to the crazies get so extreme that the moderate Republicans finally say they’re no longer supporting McCarthy. Only after that step will a reasonable compromise be possible.
My hope is this continues for a couple of weeks.
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