Apparently, it wasn’t obvious to Republicans the problem with nominating a guy who had never passed a bill as their Speaker.
Apparently, it wasn’t obvious to Republicans the problem with nominating a guy who has scant fundraising, so few carrots to offer in exchange for votes, to say nothing of his inclination to deny the existence of carrots as soon as he offers them.
Apparently, it wasn’t obvious to Republicans the problem with nominating someone who elicits death threats as a means of exercising power.
Politico has a delicious article describing how Jim Jordan’s efforts to win the Speaker’s gavel through sticks and more sticks has backfired.
Jim Jordan’s allies attempted to badger House Republicans into making him speaker. Those tactics backfired on Tuesday, and could soon doom his speakership push outright.
The Ohio Republican’s most vocal GOP defectors during Tuesday’s failed speaker vote said they were pressured to back Jordan by party bosses back home and national conservatives with big megaphones. Most of those skeptics viewed it as a coordinated push with a threatening theme: Vote for Jordan — or else.
“Jim’s been nice, one-on-one, but his broader team has been playing hardball,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told POLITICO about Jordan’s network of supporters, adding that he’s been getting calls from party chairs back in Nebraska. He added that his wife even received multiple anonymous emails and texts saying: “your husband better support Jim Jordan.”
Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), who voted against Jordan on Tuesday despite outreach on Sunday, vowed after the first ballot on Tuesday that he wasn’t switching his position — ”especially now, in the light of these pressure tactics.”
”He supposedly said ‘stand down’ and they haven’t stood down. Leaders are followed,” Gimenez said, lamenting that ”some friends of mine [are] actually believing” conservative claims that he’s prepared to vote for a Democratic speaker.
Another Floridian who also opposed Jordan was more blunt: “The one thing that will never work with me — if you try to pressure me, if you try to threaten me, then I shut off,” GOP Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart said.
One of those Jordan-friendly commentators on the right, Benny Johnson, spent the day of the speaker’s race singling out Jordan’s possible opponents. In a move that is likely to further rankle already wary Republicans, Fox News host Sean Hannity’s staff posted a list of the 20 Republicans who didn’t vote for Jordan along with their office phone numbers.
“He’s lost support because of this,” said another House Republican who was granted anonymity to discuss internal conversations, pointing to a barrage of complaints from GOP lawmakers about Jordan allies’ tactics. “Constant smears — it’s just dishonesty at its core.”
There’s not a single one of these Republicans who hasn’t benefitted from decades of similar smear campaigns from Fox News — including the very same ferocity cultivated by Sean Hannity (who yesterday claimed his bullying was mere “straight news coverage“). Almost all grew inured, then resigned, then welcomed Trump similar tactics over the last 8 years.
And those very same Republicans are deluding themselves if they believe, as Politico describes, that “Jordan has publicly avoided” this kind of “strong-arming” in recent years. He has, instead, been targeting it at people who are just as innocent of the smears as Gimenez is — people like FBI agent Tim Thibault, who was targeted as “Public Enemy #1” for a year even after busting two Democratic members of Congress and twice approving the use of partisan propagandist Peter Schweizer as an FBI source, but people who were useful targets to froth up the base. Jordan has targeted such campaigns at government itself, focusing especially on rule of law.
There’s no telling how this will end up — whether, as Politico suggests, it’ll result in an agreement to make Patrick McHenry a caretaker as Republicans try to mend their ways or whether Jordan will somehow pull this out.
But just like serial loser Donald Trump, few Republicans aside from Ken Buck will come to the conclusion that tactics designed to destroy government will eventually destroy your own governance.