The Republican beauty contest

Nine Republican members of the House of Representatives will go before their party colleagues behind closed doors tonight to make their case to be the party’s nominee for speaker. Then they will vote on Tuesday for whom to nominate to be the next sacrificial lamb publicly humiliated when and if they go to the floor of the House for the vote. As far as I know, no decision has been made as to how the selection will be made. Since the McCarthy ouster debacle, there seem to be no rules governing how the party works so we can expect yet another free-for-all.

One option is, after all nine have made their case, to have a preferential ballot where each member ranks their choices one through nine. But this may be too complicated for some of them who are not exactly Einsteins when it comes to reasoning (I am looking at you, Louis Gohmert) and so they could have eight rounds of voting where after each round, the lowest vote-getter is eliminated. Or they could simply take the top vote-getter after the first round as their nominee. These would be a rational ways of going about things so we can be fairly sure that it will not happen and instead there will be chaos. The race has already degenerated into flame wars and obscene tweets.

But in reality the method used is immaterial. The key question is whether whoever comes out on top by whatever process will get 217 votes in the House floor vote. One proposal circulating is to have all the members pledge, before the vote tonight, to vote for the nominee selected in the House. But this is not a party that likes that kind of prior commitment, especially since serial sex abuser Donald Trump (SSAT) has set the standard and said that he will not pledge to support whoever becomes the Republican presidential candidate. The party insurgents who brought McCarthy down are not likely to give away their power now.

It is of little use comparing the candidates but for those who are interested, here is how they voted on the 2020 election denial attempt. Under normal circumstances, being the most senior member after McCarthy and Scalise, majority whip Tom Emmer would be the nominee but he did not object to the 2020 certification of results which means that SSAT does not like him. McCarthy has said he supports Emmer but he also said that he supported Scalise and Jordan while undermining them and it is clear that he is still angling to get his job back. SSAT is not endorsing anyone this time around, like he did with McCarthy and Jordan, no doubt to avoid another embarrassing loss of his chosen candidate.

It is too bad that this evening meeting will be behind closed doors. It would have been fun to watch an entirely substance-free, personality-driven, conflict of egos and ambitions.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Louis Gohmert has left the (Capitol) building, and no one seems to expect his return.

    With him and Michele Bachmann now in the Congressional Dumbth Hall of Fame, competition for the Clown Crown has reached epic frenzy, but no unquestioned champions have yet emerged from the fracas.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Meh. They are all shape-changing space lizards* anyway. As an episode of The Simpsons pointed out, does it really matter if we choose between Kang or Kodos?

    *But as David Icke has pointed out, not all space lizards are bad. It is the *Jewish* space lizards we should be afraid of.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    @birgerjohansson, 6:

    I recall hearing an interview with Jon Ronson about David Icke, in which Ronson mused that he had assumed that Icke’s talk of space lizards was code for Jews… but that extended conversation with Icke convinced Ronson that no, it wasn’t in fact coded anti-semitism at all -- the guy really does believe it’s actual literal space lizards. He’s an absolute wackdoodle.

    Whether that’s better or worse than being a dog-whistling anti-semite is a question left as an exercise for the reader.

  4. Dunc says

    @7: As far as I know, no actual literal space lizards are being subjected to harrasment or violence as a result of Icke’s ravings. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Jews.

  5. KG says

    Whether or not Icke “really does believe it’s actual literal space lizards” (and I suspect there’s no clear answer to that question, even in what passes for Icke’s mind), he should know that his claims will be widely assumed to refer to Jews, and hence expose Jews to harassment and violence. Hence, he is antisemitic, since what counts in such assessments is the predictable consequences of intentional acts.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    To the best of my knowledge, David Icke has expressed some symptoms that may be consistent with mental disease, such as altered states of consciousness.

    The horrible, awful people in the US house of representatives do not have any such excuses (even if some collective delusions they express might have been considered pathological if it was just a single individual).

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