Kevin McCarthy suffered an initial defeat on Tuesday, failing to garner enough votes to become Speaker of the House on three straight ballots. A group of conservatives are continuing to object, holding up McCarthy’s desired coronation.
One side is arguing that Republicans need to go in a different direction, even if the alternative hasn’t stepped up to the plate yet. The other side argues that McCarthy may not be perfect but that he has the votes and is suited for the period of deadlock the government is entering into.
Then there’s Joe Biden, who has decided to perpetuate the dumbest argument possible. According to the president, it is “embarrassing” that it took more than one ballot to choose a Speaker.
Although @PressSec said POTUS "certainly will not insert himself" in the speaker race process, President Biden said today, "I just think it's really embarrassing it's taking so long."
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) January 4, 2023
It’s hard to think of a more succinct example of everything wrong with our government than the idea that it’s “embarrassing” for representatives to actually vote their conscience. In Biden’s view, the House should be so beholden to the elites that it simply falls in line when commanded, not just eventually, but immediately. I find that view to be absolutely ridiculous. I also find it to be rather un-American.
Where did this idea come from that the government should be controlled by a small cabal of establishment politicians who dictate without question how other members of congress must vote? That sounds rather oligarchic to me. Heck, why have a congress at all if that’s the case? We might as well just have a few appointed individuals decide everything for everyone, right?
Biden’s mindset is a lazy extension of the broader Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi told her members to jump and they dutifully asked how high. Even the supposedly free-thinking “progressives” were quick to get with the program the moment they were told to. That dynamic isn’t changing under Hakeem Jeffries nor with the continuation of Chuck Schumer’s leadership in the Senate.
Tyrants love representative governments that exist only in theory. It allows them to do their worst while hiding behind the facade of popular support. Given his tendencies, it’s no wonder Biden wants the battle for Speaker to be a scripted farce instead of an actual fight over who should lead the GOP going forward.
Whether one supports McCarthy or someone else isn’t the point here. Both sides can make compelling arguments, at least in my view, and I’m fine with letting the process play out. The problem is this silly notion that things should be a fait accompli in a supposedly democratic body. Washington needs more battles like this, not less. It needs less conformity, not more. Conformity is how you get a $1.7 trillion omnibus package without anyone even reading it.