Since it only takes a handful of moderate Republicans to sink Jordan’s ambitions, all eyes will be on them this week to see if they can hold the line.
Listen To This Story
In an effort to make one of their own House speaker, right-wing Republicans are trying to prevent more moderate GOP lawmakers from using the very same tactics that they themselves like to employ to get their way.
That is very much consistent with the far-right’s “Do what we want, or else” approach to politics.
And it is also consistent with how Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the man who is trying to strongarm his way to the speakership, has spent his time in Congress.
However, there are a few GOP lawmakers remaining who reject this “scorched earth” and “win at all costs” mentality. And, since it only takes a handful of them to sink Jordan’s ambitions, all eyes will be on these relatively moderate Republicans this week to see if they can hold the line.
If they don’t, then the House GOP’s transformation into a “legislative terrorist” organization will be complete.
Those aren’t our words, by the way. “Legislative terrorist” is how former House Speaker John Boehner once referred to his fellow Ohio Republican.
Of course, that characterization is a bit unfair. That’s because Jordan isn’t much of a legislator… he just plays one on Fox News and during committee hearings.
His legislative accomplishments are as abysmal as his efforts to protect Ohio State students from sexual abuse.
“House Republicans have just elected a speaker nominee who, in 16 years in this Congress, hasn’t passed a single bill because his focus has not been on the American people,” said House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
That’s not hyperbole. When it comes to actually doing the work of a lawmaker, Jordan is failing completely.
In the last session of Congress, for example, he earned a “legislative effectiveness score” of 0.09 from the Center for Legislative Effectiveness. That means he was only a slightly more effective legislator than a ham sandwich.
For comparison purposes, Jeffries’ score was 4.181.
Of course, Jordan had other things to do during that time… for example, trying to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election and aiding Donald Trump’s coup attempt.
Or, as Jeffries put it, “His focus has been on peddling lies and conspiracy theories and driving division amongst the American people.”
Essentially, that’s been Jordan’s real job since joining Congress.
Apparently, he now figures that he will be able to do this more effectively as speaker.
For now, there appear to be enough GOP holdouts who will deny him that opportunity. Some of them have genuine policy differences with Jordan, such as their approach to Ukraine funding, while others simply object to the far-right’s tactic of blackmailing, coercing, and bullying the rest of the conference to do its bidding.
After all, that’s how the GOP found itself in this mess.
However, it remains to be seen whether Jordan’s opposition can stand firm in the face of his supporters using all of these strategies to get them to bend the knee.
For their part, Jordan’s backers seem incredulous that others would use their own weapons against them.
Take Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), who had this to say:
I can’t believe what I’m witnessing:
• Going on two weeks with no speaker.
• A war in Israel
• Appropriation bills due in 30+ days
… and there is an active campaign now to block Jordan even though this is now our third go at speaker? For what?
I didn’t get elected by…
— Anna Paulina Luna (@realannapaulina) October 14, 2023
Interestingly enough, just a couple of days ago, she said she would not support Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) after he had defeated Jordan in a secret vote and become the official nominee for speaker before dropping out in light of the opposition of far-right Republicans.
For now, the plan of Jordan’s supporters is to hold a first floor vote on Tuesday, see who votes against him, and then unleash the right-wing propaganda machine and the Republican base on them.
“What is going to happen is, they are going to vote on the floor, and then they hear from the grassroots,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) told a Politico reporter.
Scalise, of course, dropped his bid to become speaker even before the first floor vote after realizing that he would not get the support of some far-right members.
Don’t expect the same from Jordan. It seems more likely that he and his allies will continue to bully any holdouts and keep voting.
After all, “legislative terrorists” have to get it right just once; those opposing them have to hold the line every time.