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The House speaker fiasco shows that Republicans are unable to govern
Andrew Gawthorpe

Even for The Guardian this is good. They’ve employed a gawping mouthbreater who isn’t aware that legislatures legislate, executives govern. But of course R is bad so that’s OK.

Note that’s the headline, so that’s actually someone at The G, not the author of the piece.

Yet it’s precisely these basic functions that Republicans want to either sabotage or weaponize, a process which could ultimately lead to the same result. Even the “moderate” Republican position represented by McCarthy is to refuse to raise the debt limit without spending cuts, and in any negotiation over the issue he would quickly become hostage to the Freedom Caucus. Some of its members have pledged to oppose any debt ceiling increase at all, while others demand unpopular cuts to programs like social security and Medicare in return. A government funding vote would come with similar demands. In both cases, the result is likely to be paralysis as the party struggles to achieve unity.

Another hazardous moment will be passage of the Farm Bill, which is due to be renegotiated in 2023. This bill, passed every five years, provides both subsidies to farmers and welfare programs for hungry families, and Republicans are looking to enact deep cuts in the latter. Nearly 40 million Americans use food stamps every year, and Republicans want to dramatically cut that number by scaling back the program or imposing work requirements. Once again, the result will be a game of legislative chicken.

Ain’t that all a gasping shame. An election produces a change in the legislature. This could lead to changes in legislation. And the complaint here is that democracy might actually work?

11 thoughts on “Amazin’”

  1. And the complaint here is that democracy might actually work?

    This has been their biggest fear since 2016.

  2. Whereas Joggin’ Joe is eminently fit to govern?
    I suppose he is if you’re a sinister figure in the background who needs a stumbling, demented old man as your front man…

  3. Entertaining Tim. As I understand it, this is exactly what the American revolution was supposed to achieve.

  4. We’re heading into the 9th voting cycle now. The grandstanding by some of the members of Congress is nauseating.

    Even on the 8th go-around, there continues to be lengthy standing ovations every time Jeffries, Pelosi or McCarthy vote. There are also drawn-out speeches about “The honorable congressman from New York/California” or “As a black woman from the South” or “It’s time to honor the memory and dreams of the slaves.” And then there are the shouts of “This member from the streets of Brooklyn votes for HakEEEEEEEm Jeffries.” They’re behaving this way even on the third day and during the eighth vote, even after McCarthy fails to get past the majority threshold. Just a bunch of overgrown children who can’t vote and sit the fuck down. I appreciate that each wasted minute is another minute they aren’t ruining the country, but still.

    It’s also ridiculous that after these votes, they have maybe 20 minutes of short speeches from a few representatives, and then they immediately head into another vote expecting different results. Why aren’t they waiting at least a day for members to make deals/concessions and mull over their decisions? We’ve just gone through 8 rounds of 212 votes for Jeffries and 201/202 votes for McCarthy.

    Anyway, with all the talk of “inability to govern” and “democracy,” every single Democrat in the chamber is voting for an election denier. I guarantee you the Right isn’t going to use that easy callout in any of their campaigns. They’ll spend billions of our tax dollars to investigate and fail to imprison the president’s son, though. I doubt they’ll even be able to impeach Joe. It’s true that Republicans are just Democrats driving the speed limit.

  5. . . . a gawping mouthbreater who isn’t aware that legislatures legislate, executives govern.

    Pendantry but relevant:
    – the popular US notion of government is different to Britain. Here we consider “the government” to be just the executive; Number 10 and the various ministries populated by the biggies of the leading party in Parliament. In the US the general concept of “the government” is the whole Federal shooting match – White House, Capitol Hill, all the aplphabet agencies. So the majority party in the House of Representatives will definitely be considered part of the government, and its actions governing.

    More generally, it should be remembered that the eating of a bacon sandwich showed an opposition party was unable to govern here.

    Incidentally, Andrew Gawthorpe was a civil servant in the Cabinet Office. Not sure which lot, but his relative youth and the timing of his higher ed adventures makes it likely to be Cameroid era. Perfect Guardian fodder.

  6. With a Dem president, and a Dem leaning Senate, there is no way a Rep house can “govern” anyway.

    This is the *perfect* time to sort out the question of whether the Republicans are going to keep doing what they always have done, or try something different. Otherwise they might as well roll over and let Pelosi scratch their green bellies.

    The idea that politics can be conducted without conflict is infantile, in the least. That the Dems do their equivalent behind closed doors doesn’t mean they don’t do it.

  7. @PJF

    It all depends on how you define “governing.”

    When it comes to states, governors do the governing. We have county executives for the county level, and mayors for cities. In the suburbs, there are also homeowners’ associations, if you want to get really granular. Each of those levels have legislative bodies. State House, State Senate; County Legislature; City Hall. At least on paper, those bodies are only charged with writing legislation. The executive branches at each of those levels should be doing the actual governing. They tell legislatures (or, at least, the members representing their own party) which issues to focus on, and what kinds of bills they should attempt to pass. The executives also have the final say, since they decide to sign or veto legislation.

    Unfortunately, executives–even including the President of the United States–have long been effectively legislating from the Oval Office, or Governor’s Mansion, etc. This also happens in the judicial branch, as many federal judges have been accused of “legislating from the bench.” It’s a procedural loophole that non-legislative bodies have used to get around their limitations. In 2014, then-Congressman Trey Gowdy made a speech emphasizing that “We make law,” not President Obama. This speech illustrated the Checks & Balances principle that acts almost as a threat toward outside branches trying to overextend their powers.

    Playwright David Mamet once wrote in an article explaining his switch from the Left to the Right, that:

    For the Constitution, rather than suggesting that all behave in a godlike manner, recognizes that, to the contrary, people are swine and will take any opportunity to subvert any agreement in order to pursue what they consider to be their proper interests.

    To that end, the Constitution separates the power of the state into those three branches which are for most of us (I include myself) the only thing we remember from 12 years of schooling.

    The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.

    Also, keep in mind that we have a BICAMERAL legislature, consisting of both the House and the Senate, not just a single parliament. So it’s not that the government isn’t set up to allow proper enforcement of the original constitutional structure. The issue is that our politicians and many of the citizens have simply stopped giving a shit about the rules. At the end of the day, the Constitution is still just a piece of paper worth only as much as the faith put into it. The 10 Amendment, for instance, is effectively nonexistent at this point. The “welfare clause” has become the ruling principle of all matters of governance. Not only does having 330 million+ multicultural citizens lead to a lack of cultural cohesion, but many of the elected officials exerting power over us weren’t even born or raised in the U.S. And most of those that were still grew up in a society that deifies politicians and ignores history, especially when it comes to the history of overprotective governments.

    If our three branches had learned anything from history, they would be looking for ways to decrease the size of the federal government and get less things done, not trying to pack the Supreme Court or arguing over who would make the best House Speaker.

  8. Didn't Reagan prove deficits don't matter?

    If you asked Reagan what would happen if the national debt got to $28 trillion or whatever it is today, would he have said see, I told you deficits don’t matter even if they add up to ten times the debt I racked up?

  9. “If you asked Reagan what would happen if the national debt got to $28 trillion or whatever it is today, would he have said see, I told you deficits don’t matter even if they add up to ten times the debt I racked up?”

    They don’t appear to matter if you are a global superpower who issues the global reserve currency, I think we can say that. However being a GSWITGRC is a) only relevant to one country at a time, and b) not a status that is immutable. Everyone else is subject to the laws of financial gravity, and eventually the GSWITGRC will be too. And the more egregious the flouting of financial gravity the worse the fall will be.

  10. “Even the “moderate” Republican position represented by McCarthy is to refuse to raise the debt limit without spending cuts,”

    The absolute fiends! Anyone would think the debt limit was a… a… limit, or something.

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