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A world on fire. A House on fire.
The rationale behind Jim Jordan’s bid for the Speakership goes something like this: We have a political terrorism problem in the House, so we need a terrorist in charge to keep it under control. Only an extremist can control the extremists who would otherwise burn the place down.
That logic apparently made sense to the vast majority of the House GOP. But not enough to actually turn the House of Representatives over to Jim Jordan, at least not yet.
To be sure, the homunculus from Ohio could still end up with the gavel because the pattern and practice of GOP normies is usually to cave.
But there is also a non-zero possibility that even in the Era of Nothing Matters, there might still be a red line. Maybe obnoxious assholery, legislative incompetence, performative demagoguery, and personal loathsomeness still have political consequences.
Meanwhile, Matt Labash connects some dots:
In a note to a reader, Matt adds: “I, for one, would vote for a taco over Jim Jordan. Though tacos and Jim Jordan have things in common, too. They both make huge messes. And neither has ever authored a bill that’s become a law.”
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A world on fire
Joe Biden lands in Israel as this ghastly war becomes even more ghastly.
A House on fire
How stands the U.S. Congress on this day in history? Let’s review the headlines and hot takes:
Turns out the moderates are vertebrates, after all.
Among the 20 Republicans who opposed Jordan’s bid for the gavel yesterday were a few junior frontliners with little to lose, such as Reps. JEN KIGGANS (R-Va.), MIKE LAWLER (R-N.Y.) and LORI CHAVEZ-DEREMER (R-Ore.).
But they were backed up by a cadre of powerful House veterans — people like Appropriations Committee Chair KAY GRANGER (R-Texas) and subcommittee “cardinals” MARIO DIAZ-BALART (R-Fla.), MIKE SIMPSON (R-Idaho) and STEVE WOMACK (R-Ark.), who said no to Jordan after years of watching their jurisdiction over federal spending come under attack by the hard right.
“The adults were fed up,” said one top aide to a member opposing Jordan. “They knew they had to act now or never.”
The House is scheduled to come in at 11 a.m. for another roll-call vote. But after speaking with dozens of members and aides, it doesn’t look to us like the Ohio Republican has any path to victory.
Jordan’s GOP opponents huddled after the House session Tuesday, and nearly all of them said they were holding firm against the Ohio Republican. Senior GOP lawmakers predicted that Jordan could lose an additional 10 or more Republicans today on the floor.
Of the 18 districts held by Republicans that preferred Biden in 2020, six Republicans voted for someone other than Jordan. Twelve voted in support of Jordan, but that’s only 6 percent of Jordan’s votes. The six who rejected Jordan make up 30 percent of the anti-Jordan votes.
The bad blood between Scalise and Jordan has become an especially bitter flashpoint, and their tense relationship was reflected in a Tuesday afternoon conversation about whether the Louisiana Republican would formally nominate Jordan in a speech ahead of the second round of voting….
But Scalise and Jordan never reached an agreement regarding a nomination, according to these sources. And to add insult to injury, their spat was leaked to The Daily Caller, further signaling to Scalise fans that they shouldn’t fall in line. In fact, one source told The Daily Beast that the whole ordeal would likely lead to more Scalise allies voting against Jordan on Wednesday.
The holdouts all appear to agree that at least one thing is worse than any election denier with zero legislative wins in his 16-year career: a Democrat with the gavel.
“Remember, when you go to the floor—if we go to the floor—everybody votes for whoever they want,” said Diaz-Balart. “I think obviously number one, I will never, ever vote for a Democrat for speaker. Ever. No matter the circumstances.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) looks like the latest dead man walking through a speaker race that seems un-winnable. He got 200 votes on Tuesday, with 217 needed. Sources tell Axios his chances are dim.
The latest hot solution: Make McHenry, 47, currently the chair-warming speaker pro tempore, a temporary speaker, House sources say.
He'd have basically the same power as a real-deal elected speaker but need Democratic votes to hold the gig temporarily.
McHenry got two ironic endorsements late yesterday: former GOP speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner. Both were run out of office — just like Rep. Kevin McCarthy was a few weeks ago.
Jim Jordan, Legislative Terrorist
Jim Jordan spent the weekend bullying moderates, but that may not be enough. Plus, narcissistic tech bros and the fake videos and disinformation around the Israel-Hamas war. Kara Swisher joined me for a lively and wide-ranging podcast.
You can listen to the whole thing here. Or watch us on YouTube:
BONUS: For Bulwark + members, Mona and I consider the Israel/Hamas war, how to push back on extremists (and when), and the outlook for a Jim Jordan-led House GOP.
1. The Republican Bankruptcy
KEVIN MCCARTHY LOST HIS SPEAKERSHIP the same week Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the FTX exchange, began the trial where he is widely expected to lose his freedom. The crypto crash king and the former speaker of the House of Representatives have one thing in common—they each presided over an empire built on fraud, whose lies couldn’t last forever. Now it seems that Jim Jordan—whose own bid for the speakership seems uncertain after he was defeated by a wide margin in a first ballot on Tuesday—will be no more successful at spinning dross into gold.
2. Israel’s Fight Is Ukraine’s Fight Is America’s Fight
The United States must increase support for Israel, but that assistance should not come at the expense of support for Ukraine. Israelis and Ukrainians, in some respects, face comparable threats to their freedom, their land, and to their lives from terrorist actors. In some respects, Russia and Hamas share similar goals: to destroy their free, democratic, open neighbor thriving on land they unrightfully consider their own.
3. How Poland Beat Authoritarianism (And Slovakia Didn’t)
WHILE POLAND’S CENTER-RIGHT IS CELEBRATING the outcome of this weekend’s election, Slovakia’s new governing coalition—spanning from the hard left to the conspiratorial-nationalist right—just announced its nominations for the new cabinet to be led by Robert Fico, a former prime minister who resigned in disgrace in 2018. I predicted that Poland’s political center would hold while Slovakia’s would implode. But as a Slovak-American, I have no reason to gloat: An aging ex-TV anchor known mainly for her anti-vax views, Martina Šimkovičová, is poised to become Slovakia’s next culture minister. Rudolf Huliak, currently under police investigation for hate speech targeting gay people, has been picked to lead the environment ministry.