Let’s see. Headlines of the day. Well, there’s the new mess in the Middle East. There’s the old mess in Ukraine. The United Auto Workers are setting up more picket lines. The moon blocked out the sun for a minute or two. New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has some splainin’ to do about gold bars found in his closets, and Joe Biden’s re-election campaign raised about $71 million this last quarter. Oh, and there’s at least one more thing. The Republicans have been playing hot potato with the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Much to the delight of many on the minority side of the House aisle (and a few on the majority side too), former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by a 216-210 vote. It marked the first time in history that the House removed its leader. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) led the rebellion and was joined by a few others in his party and every Democrat. As he stepped aside, McCarthy indicated he would not make another run for Speaker.
As of this writing, no one has been elected to replace McCarthy. That’s obviously not an ideal situation for the country, especially with so much going on internationally as well as domestically. Not only is the Speaker right behind the Vice President in terms of presidential succession, but legislative activity in the House has been brought to a halt. (Just as a reminder, there’s another government shutdown deadline looming November 17th if Congress does not extend funding.)
No doubt you’re already aware that two Republican Representatives (Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Ohio’s Jim Jordan) put forth their names as possible replacements. But that was only after closed-door caucuses brought their nominations to the forefront. What exactly was said by all attending those meetings has not been leaked. But I think it might be fun to speculate. Maybe, just maybe, when the Republicans met to choose a new speaker candidate, the dialogue went something like this:
REPRESENTATIVE 1: Who wants to be Speaker?
REP. 2: Not me. I don’t want that transient job,
REP. 3: I’ll do it! I think I’d be a great Speaker.
REP. 1: Forget it, Gaetz. You’re the reason we’re in this mess to begin with.
REP. 4: I think Gaetz is a publicity hog and wants us to forget about that ethics probe into his possible sexual misconduct and illegal drug use.
REP. 3: Nothing has ever been proven!
REP. 1: Thank you, Mr. McCarthy, but I believe we can do without the character assassination.
REP. 4: Tell that to Gaetz!
REP. 2: If we could please get back to business, gentlemen. Thus far we’ve got Jordan and Scalise on the ballot.
REP. 5: What if we don’t want either one of them?
REP. 1: Who did you have in mind?
REP. 5: How about Donald J. Trump? There’s no rule that says the Speaker has to be a member of Congress.
(Cacophony of voices)
REP. 1: All right, all right, settle down. Is there anybody else who might be interested?
REP. 6: I’m available.
REP. 2: Pipe down, Pelosi. (Pause) Pelosi? Hey, how’d you get in this Republican caucus anyway?
REP. 6: Secret door.
REP. 2: Get her out of here.
REP. 6: (Retreating) I don’t look so bad now, do I?
REP. 1: Okay, where were we?
REP. 7: You were trying to herd cats.
REP. 1: Oh, right, right. And speaking of that direction, do you think it would be possible for all of you “cats” on the right side of the room . . . yes, even those of you climbing the walls to get as far away as possible . . . to move a little more toward the middle?
REP. 5: If we do, will you consider Donald Trump as Speaker?
REP. 1: Well, I hear he’s pretty busy at the moment.
REP. 5: Yeah, but it sure would stick it to the Ds.
REP. 1: That’s not our goal, here.
REP. 5: Why not? What have they done for us recently?
REP. 8: That’s a good point.
REP. 9: Since the Speaker doesn’t have to be a congressperson, how about we nominate Taylor Swift? She seems to be really popular with just about everybody these days.
REP. 10: Hey, that’s a good thought.
(Cacophony #3: “Win with Taylor! Swifties to the rescue!”)
REP. 1: Not gonna happen. And we’re getting nowhere fast.
REP. 11: How about if we all take turns being Speaker?
REP. 1: (Sigh)
Okay, okay, so maybe all that is a little far-fetched. But strange things do happen in politics. And it’s not as if a whole lot is getting done on Capitol Hill anyway, is it? Might be time to try something new.
©MMXXIII. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer