What a Founding Father Might Say About the Speaker Fight

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The media and Democrats continue to make fun of Republicans who are “unable to govern” as the U.S. House of Representatives celebrates two weeks without a permanent Speaker.

Is that an accurate assessment of the current situation?

In the past two weeks, Ukraine has not received more funding and the debt ceiling has not raised.

I don’t think that is a big deal.

There’s no doubt that there has been a lot of grandstanding and fist-pounding, (looking at you Nancy Mace), and there is some merit in the argument that Republicans prefer being in the minority. But it’s absurd to say the country is in danger because members of one political party do not vote in lockstep.

There are many existential threats, but this is not one of them.

The majority of observers, including myself, thought that Matt Gaetz’s dissidents were unwise to remove McCarthy without a plan for his successor. However, the former speaker was deserving of being thrown out.

After promising to rein in spending and move on from transparency, he backed down on all of these issues. Both the debt ceiling and the latest funding bill received more Democratic support than Republican. Gaetz, who had dared critics to remove him because he was “the adult” in the room, called their bluff after they tried to do so.

Gaetz had been one of the first holdouts against McCarthy becoming speaker this year. He only agreed to be elected after rules were passed allowing a vote on a motion to vacate the seat by a single member.

I believe this whole thing is about accountability.

Each member of Congress is bound to represent the constituents they represent, and not their party or donors. The vote of a member for speaker is a part of this obligation. It plays a major role in how bills are negotiated and which ones are put to a vote.

The members are expected to disagree about the choice of speaker. However, as long as they adhere to the same basic principles, this is a strength, not a flaw.

James Madison, the “Father” of the Constitution, wrote in Federalist No. When factions are pitted together, it is more likely that a consensus will emerge which can be accepted by a majority. This is exactly what has happened among Republicans in the last two weeks. It’s something quite alien to Democrats, just ask RFK Jr.

There is no doubt that both Democrats and Republicans are willing to support a candidate as speaker to make a statement, to advance their bills, or to wield some power. If such a candidate wins, the citizens will suffer.

Picking the right speaker to create this dynamic is crucial.

I don’t mind waiting for two weeks to see what happens.