Sunday, October 15, 2023

Those who preach principle don’t always practice it!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     On Wednesday the Republican caucus nominated Rep. Steve Scalise, (R-LA) current Majority Leader in the U.S. House, as their nominee for Speaker of the House.  The vote was 113-99, with second place finisher Rep. Jim Jordan, (R-OH) endorsing Scalise after the vote.  GOP members appeared to be united behind Scalise after the conference and a floor vote was expected on Thursday.  But, the CRAZY EIGHT representatives, who partnered with the Democrats to oust Speaker McCarthy, reneged and refused to support Scalise. This was after they had vowed to do so in caucus.  Scalise then withdrew himself from consideration for Speaker. 

     On Friday, the House caucus met again to select a Speaker nominee.  Rep. Jordan won the first ballot 124-81 over Rep. Austin Scott, (R-GA).  On a second ballot, a vote on who would support Jordan as the Party’s Speaker nominee, the vote was 152-55.  Republicans control the chamber by a slim 221-212 margin.  With the GOP conference spilt/fractured/splintered, they can afford to lose no more than four votes within their ranks to elect a Speaker.  Three observations:

     First, who is Rep. Jim Jordan?  Prior to entering public life, Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach at the Ohio State University for eight years.  He served in the Ohio state legislature (House and Senate) for ten years prior to running for Congress.  He has served nine terms in Congress. All told, Jordan has been an elected official for 29 of his 59 years.  He is a career politician. 

     Jordan is credited with ousting former Speaker of the House John Boehner eight years ago.  A founder of the House Freedom caucus, Jordan was a thorn in the side to Boehner, who describes him as a ‘political terrorist.’  “I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart- never building anything, never putting anything together,” Boehner says about Jordan.

     Jordan is conservative on policy.  He is pro-life, pro second amendment and an ally of former President Trump.  Trump has endorsed Jordan for the Speaker’s job.  

     Second, Americans don’t need to see how the sausage is made.  The GOP conference should conduct the Speaker vote in private.  The floor vote should be a mere formality.  Every effort to avoid the January 2023 15 ballot vote should be avoided.  That was a circus and the world doesn’t need to see the clown show.

     Third, those who preach principle don’t always practice it.  The CRAZY EIGHT voted with the Democrats to remove Speaker McCarthy based on principle.  But those same ‘principled’ members are pressuring the 55 members who voted to not support Jordan to violate their values.  They have rallied Trump supporters, through social media and the airways and the releasing of private phone numbers of members, to threaten the 55 with the rage of the Party’s base voters if they stand in the way of Jordan’s election.   Threats, ultimatums, oppression are the tactics of terrorists, not people of principle.  There is no respect for the principles/values of the 55 who disagree? 

     Intimidation and browbeating to get Jordan the Speaker’s post may work short term, but it won’t long term.  There has to be true unity in the GOP conference or the House will remain paralyzed. Bullying fellow members could win Jordan the Speaker’s race, but it won’t work in governing.  With a razor thin margin in the House, the next Speaker will still be herding cats. 

     The GOP proudly declares it is a Party of principle.  A great deal of the Republican Party platform is supposedly based on Biblical concepts.  Yet little of the Party’s conduct in the Speaker’s race resembles those precepts (no fruit of the Spirit). 

     Situational ethics, arrogance, threats, bullying and justifying bad behavior have served to make the GOP look like the Party of the devil.  Until the bombastic rhetoric is dialed down and the Party begins to practice what it preaches, voters will question their trustworthiness and that will result in defeat in 2024.

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