Apart from maybe George Santos, Jim Jordan might be the least qualified person to be House speaker. And, in the eyes of today’s GOP, that just might make him the perfect man for the job.
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Objectively, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) should not be speaker (or even in Congress). His legislative accomplishments are nonexistent, and he is an insurrectionist, defied a subpoena to help the House investigate the attack on the Capitol, has a murky past when it comes to his role in keeping a sexual abuse scandal hidden, weaponizes his power as lawmaker, bullies his colleagues, makes unsubstantiated allegations, and lies a lot.
In addition, he would be the most far-right speaker in modern history, and, along with his buddies in the “House Freedom Caucus,” which he founded, he has spent more time trying to burn the government to the ground than improving the lives of ordinary Americans. There is a reason why former speaker and fellow Ohio Republican John Boehner called him a “legislative terrorist.”
Yet, all of these things, which should disqualify him from holding this particular office — or any other, for that matter, apart from maybe the vice chairmanship of the National Election Deniers Association — also symbolize where today’s GOP is.
To his party’s base, and apparently most of his Republican colleagues, these aren’t strikes against him; they are reasons to make him the most powerful man in Congress and put him second in the line of succession for the presidency.
Jordan also has two other things going for him: He appears on Fox News a lot and has the backing of Donald Trump.
Both of these things matter more to Republicans right now than his actually being a moral person or qualified to do the job.
And therefore, they might soon make a second wrestling coach with a sordid past House speaker. In Jordan’s defense, while Dennis Hastert (R-IL) directly molested boys, Jordan is only accused of staying quiet about sexual abuse at Ohio State once he was made aware of it.
All that is standing between him and the gavel are a few brave holdouts who don’t think a bully who perpetuates the Big Lie should lead the House.
However, it would also be totally in line with today’s GOP if these lawmakers ended up voting against their own consciences.
As evidenced by the way Trump has steamrolled the party and turned it into a cult, Republicans these days are neither the most courageous nor the most principled bunch.
Over the past few days, several Republicans who previously said they would “never” vote for Jordan have already indicated that they would vote for him today.
If he does end up getting the gavel, only two good things will likely come from it.
The first is that Jordan will finally get the scrutiny he deserves. As we wrote last week, the speakership does not just come with the fanciest office in the Capitol but also with a lot more attention… attention that somebody who owes the American public a lot of answers about his part in the insurrection — or whose role in the Ohio State sexual abuse scandal may be reexamined — may not welcome.
The second is that, if Jordan’s previous “accomplishments” are any indication of what his speakership will be like, he is going to cost the GOP the House in 2024.