Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Brendan Buck: The speaker, Mike Johnson, holds his role only because a few hard-line Republicans ousted the previous speaker for being too dismissive of their demands. But since the moment they threw their support behind Mr. Johnson, these hard-liners have encountered the reality that they're irrelevant to the governance of the House of Representatives.



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For all its rank partisanship, the House right now is functionally and uneasily governed by a bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats. The House is led by a conservative speaker, but for any matter of lawmaking he cannot count on a Republican majority.

Members of the Freedom Caucus, however, now see themselves as watchmen of the floor. They set conservative policy demands that are impossible to achieve with Democrats controlling the Senate and White House. And when these demands are inevitably not met they routinely hijack the process to stop legislation before it can even get an up-or-down vote, no matter if a measure has the overwhelming support of the Republican conference or the House.

The Freedom Caucus's power stems from its willingness to take out the speaker. When those tools are removed, their threats quickly become more bark than bite. Whether it's Mr. Johnson or Mr. McCarthy or the two previous Republican speakers for whom I worked, it has not been the Republican leadership that cut out the Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus, by believing in the myth of their own power, made themselves irrelevant to legislative outcomes.

At this point in time it appears fairly certain that should MTG and the hardliners make good on the threats to force another vote to remove the Speaker enough Democrats will not vote to remove him. And it isn't because he's a friend or ally to the Democrats' plans, it's more because MTG and the other Putinites in the House GOP caucus shouldn't be allowed to further disrupt the work of Congress and refocus the world's attention on the dysfunction and undermining of our government that Putin openly roots for and subversively promotes.

Johnson can find all the safe harbor he needs if he's willing to publicly call the MTG-led Putinites what they are: misguided anti-American/pro-Russian know-nothings, willing to throw away 248 years of tacitly bipartisan foreign policy, especially in the face of Putin's blatant invasion of an emerging democratic country, now in an existential fight for its survival.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2024-04-22 04:08 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Another related viewpoint:

Yes, in both the FISA and Ukraine votes, it was members of the House Democratic minority who ended up providing most of the necessary support, but the bottom line remains the same: Trump, even after leaving the White House, has long acted as if he could call the shots on Capitol Hill.

If he's paid attention, the former president now knows better.

Trump told House Republicans to elect Rep. Jim Jordan as House speaker, and that didn't happen. Trump told Republicans to shut down the government, and that didn't happen. Trump told Republicans to use the debt ceiling to default on the country's obligations, and that didn't happen.

As regular readers might recall, Trump told Senate Republicans to replace Mitch McConnell as the Senate minority leader, and they didn't. Trump told Republicans to derail a bipartisan infrastructure package, and they didn't. Trump seemed especially eager for GOP lawmakers to kill an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act, and they didn't do that, either.

The point is not that Trump is irrelevant in Republican politics. But there's a myth in some circles that the former president can simply bark orders and watch GOP lawmakers obediently follow his instructions.

In several notable instances, that's just not the case.

Steve Benen

Trump nor the Freedom/Putin caucus runs Congress, and in fact they can't stop necessary bipartisan cooperation when critical legislation must be passed for government to do its job, thank goodness.

#2 | Posted by tonyroma at 2024-04-22 04:17 PM | Reply

What is most interesting is not the lack of influence over Congressional business by the Putin wing of the party, but Dotard's lack of sway over the rest of the GQP Congress. It seems like Tiny Johnson brought Dotard some bad news on his trip to Mango Lardo, my guess is he said he was in a corner, either he brought the aid bill to the floor, or Dems would introduce it via Discharge Petition and it would pass, scoring an even bigger win for Dems and furter embarrassing the GQP. Orange Satan saw the writing on the wall and softened his position on Ukraine aid before the vote so he didn't suffer another mortifying loss in Congress. Could the fever on the Reich be breaking now that Dotard is seen as weaker every day, sleeping and farting in court, more and more confused every day? Dotard's father died with Alzheimer's disease, diagnozed in his mid-80s, but I know from personal experience with my grandmother and mother that the symptoms start five to ten years earlier, but we dismiss it as simple aging, and we know it runs in families. Add to that likely tertiary syphilis because he refuses to wear protection and by November what's left of his brain might be leaking out of his ears.

#3 | Posted by _Gunslinger_ at 2024-04-22 08:58 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

As always, the proof will be if Speaker Johnson holds the line or if his recent epiphany is a one-off.

#4 | Posted by Twinpac at 2024-04-23 02:28 PM | Reply

The hammer that the Freedom Caucus has is the threat to vacate the Speaker. If they try and fail, they will have loss that hammer. It is for that reason that I don't believe they will try to remove the Speaker.

#5 | Posted by FedUpWithPols at 2024-04-23 02:47 PM | Reply

These people's whole lives are about believing
in myths.

Take Jesus for example...

#6 | Posted by earthmuse at 2024-04-24 06:40 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Freedom Caucus" is a ridiculous name for politicians that openly call for a democratic nation to surrender to a murdering dictator who illegally invaded their country despite treaties that the Russians agreed to in 1992 promising they would never invade if Ukraine gave up their nuclear weapons which, I am sure, many Ukrainians know was a serious mistake and that the U.S. encouraged them to do. Had they their kept nuclear capability, Putin would not have dared invade a sovereign nation with that nuclear capability.

#7 | Posted by danni at 2024-04-24 07:58 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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