A Legislative Terrorist

As you all know, I am on a cruise, writing these posts from a spot on the Pacific Ocean. I’m currently six hours earlier than those on Eastern time, and thanks to the time difference and intermittent problems with Internet access, my grasp of the news is hit-or-miss. I’ve been following the incredible chaos playing out on the floor of the House of Representatives with what can only be called a feeling of unreality.

Evidently, Jim Jordan just lost his second attempt to be elected Speaker.

Jordan is easily one of the most despicable individuals ever to hold political office–and certainly one of the least able, least ethical, least accomplished people ever to be nominated as a leader of the legislative body. If successful, he would be third in line for the Presidency–a thought that makes me want to hurl.

Representative Pete Aguilar, a Democrat from California, really summed up the insanity of nominating someone like Jordan for Speaker. Aguilar began his brief talk by nominating Democratic minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (who garnered more votes than Jordan), and blaming extremism and partisanship for the unprecedented chaos of the House. He urged  Republicans to “embrace bipartisanship to do the work the American people had sent them to Washington, D.C., to conduct,” an exhortation he must have known would fall on deaf ears.

Aguilar went on to point out that Jordan is the “architect of a nationwide abortion ban, a vocal election denier, and an insurrection inciter.”

He has “spent his entire career trying to hold our country back, putting our national security in danger, attempting government shutdown after government shutdown, wasting taxpayer dollars on baseless investigations with dead ends, authoring the very bill that would ban abortion nationwide without exceptions, and inciting violence on this chamber. Even leaders of his own party have called him ‘a legislative terrorist.’

Aguilar pointed to Jordan’s opposition to disaster relief, veterans’ relief, support for Ukraine, and military aid to our allies, including Israel, and added: “This body is debating elevating a speaker nominee who has not passed a single bill in 16 years. These are not the actions of someone interested in governing or bettering the lives of everyday Americans.” Jordan as speaker would mean the Republican Party would “continue taking marching orders from a twice-impeached former president with more than 90 pending felony charges.”

Aguilar’s litany was entirely accurate. (It was also incomplete–he omitted the scandal of Jordan’s coaching days, when he closed his eyes to the sexual abuse of his young athletes.)

What boggles the mind is that 200 House Republicans would ever vote to put someone accurately labeled a “legislative terrorist”–someone described by John Bohner as a destroyer, not a builder– in charge of anything, especially an American lawmaking body.

Sinclair Lewis warned us: it can happen here.

Thomas Edsall recently devoted a column to the state of American democracy, and included a quote from Liliana Mason that goes a long way toward explaining the otherwise inexplicable:

The election of Trump is the culmination of a process by which the American electorate has become deeply socially divided along partisan lines. As the parties have grown racially, religiously, and socially distant from one another, a new kind of social discord has been growing. The increasing political divide has allowed political, public, electoral, and national norms to be broken with little to no consequence. The norms of racial, religious, and cultural respect have deteriorated. Partisan battles have helped organize Americans’ distrust for “the other” in politically powerful ways. In this political environment, a candidate who picks up the banner of “us versus them” and “winning versus losing” is almost guaranteed to tap into a current of resentment and anger across racial, religious, and cultural lines, which have recently divided neatly by party.

We have evidently devolved as a nation into very strong, opposing tribal identities –in one of which racism plays a prominent role–and we now elect “lawmakers” who privilege their tribe’s “winning” over anything remotely resembling the common good. 

Edsall also quoted Levitsky and Ziblatt, authors of a recent book on the perilous state of American democracy:

By 2016, America was on the brink of a genuinely multiracial democracy — one that could serve as a model for diverse societies across the world. But just as this new democratic experiment was beginning to take root, America experienced an authoritarian backlash so fierce that it shook the foundations of the republic, leaving our allies across the world worried about whether the country had any democratic future at all.

The results of the current effort to install a Speaker will be a clue……


  1. Jordan is not qualified to clean toilets in the House of Representatives, let alone to raise the gavel of the Speaker of the House.
    From the Atlantic:
    “He was involved in every step to try to destroy American democracy and the peaceful transfer of the presidency.” If Jordan wins the position you could no longer count on the speaker of the House to defend the United States Constitution.”

  2. And now we learn that the private phone numbers of Republicans who did not vote for Jordan have been published resulting in harassments and threats made against them and their family members.
    Apparently harassment worked with one hold out…Victoria Spartz who claimed that it was the speech of Jordan’s nominator that persuaded her to change her vote. A friend tells me that MAGA radio station WIBC went after her all day Tuesday after she did not vote at all then. Is that what changed her mind? It doesn’t make sense. She had already announced months ago that she would not run for office again. So why become a supporter of MAGA now?
    As for the twenty hold outs, if they see what we are seeing why not take a real stand and all vote for a moderate? Or for Jefferies? If they are going to get punished anyway, why not make a stand? A real stand.

  3. I couldn’t agree more on the depiction of Jordan, but then we are back to the “two tribe” rhetoric.
    That is the problem. Saying that we are divided into two tribes gives equal legitimacy to both “tribes”. We shouldn’t. The John Birch Society and their ilk used to be considered wacko. Now their descendants are a legitimate equal “tribe”, the new Republican Party. We have legitimized them.

    As you have often pointed out, Sheila, the Republican Party has been taken over (or devolved) into a group who want to end the experiment of the American form of democracy and replace it with an autocratic or theocratic model.

    In reality, there is a disparate collection of. people who want to try to improve the American form of government (with equally disparate views on what that means, e.g. Liz Cheney vs. AOC) and there is the anti-democracy MAGA Republicans, which includes all of the Republicans that stood by, i.e. everyone who hasn’t left or been kicked out.

    We shouldn’t talk about the “political divide” as if both parties have moved to extremes. Only one party went over the edge.

    Back to topic – it looks ever so hopefully possible that we will avoid a Jordan speakership. I will keep hoping.

  4. The news on Wagner’s nightly report regarding Jordan’s 2nd loss to become Speaker is that some of those determined to keep him from the Speaker position are receiving threats from unnamed sources. Including death threats; following in Trump’s unending threat tactics which had him back in court yesterday. There is now talk of increasing bipartisan support for Speaker Pro-tem to enter the running. Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry supported Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections BUT voted FOR President Joe Biden’s legal and unquestionable win. He also voted for the temporary debt bill, approved by President Biden, to prevent the government shutdown. We are in another situation where opting for the lesser of a long list of evil possibilities to proved a Speaker of the House of Representatives before the time runs out to prevent a full government shutdown.

    I am a believer and strong supporter of President Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope” that the parties will come together at the bargaining table to resolve this issue and all others. But…are the sitting Republicans in the House strong enough to uphold their Oath of Office to protect democracy, Rule of Law and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America as required or will they remain mute and idle in their current cowardly positions? It is obvious to thinking Americans that Democratic Representative Hakeem Jeffries is far and above the most trustworthy person to fill that vacancy but…we are looking to the weakest links in the House chain of majority members to fulfill their responsibilities as lawmakers for this nation, NOT for Donald Trump & Company.

  5. If you are in Spartz’s district, call her. I did. Tell her to oppose Jordan. She has nothing to lose.

  6. Morton; Jordan as Speaker of the House would put us closer to Trump returning to the White House. Something none of us can digest. They all remain above the law; we are only about 10 WEEKS from the 3rd anniversary of the January 6th Insurrection and none of the leaders have yet been adjudicated in our justice system. Time nor tide waits for no man! Trump appears to be accomplishing that.

  7. I hear ya, Morton!

    What still irks me is Nancy Pelosi and crowd let Jim Jordan and his ilk off the hook for 1/6 because, “We need a strong Republican Party.”

    Once again, NO WE DON’T.

    Jordan and his fellow travelers from MAGA on up to Mittens Romney should have been wiped out. Anybody endorsing or assisting in the insurrection is guilty of treason.

    Meanwhile, the coward Joe Biden lets Jim Jordan survive but still holds Julian Assange in a maximum security prison for printing the truth about the USA.

    We are now in an Alice in Wonderland world. The actors and directors are all bonkers!

  8. Todd,

    You are mostly correct, in my opinion, but I’m jealous that you stole my radicalism today.

    Have you seen what Jordan’s gerrymandered district looks like. It reminds me of what a spider’s web looks like when the spider is fed LSD. That said, imagine what his voters are like… if you can. Who on earth would vote for a cretin like Jordan over 8 terms in Congress? THAT is where the problem really lies: the Democrats can’t find/train a viable candidate who actually cares for and intends to maintain our Constitution.

    When does the DNC finally do the right thing and get candidates viable enough to eliminate the GOP once and for all?

  9. My guess is that those who didn’t vote for Jordan the first time didn’t just get threats of being primaried. They and their families most likely were threatened with physical violence. They won’t admit it, but few of them could really afford the protection for their families, like Mitt Romney, so they become compliant. This is one of the saddest eras of my lifetime.

  10. “It can happen….anywhere.” The leading candidate for President in Argentina is described in the Times this week:

    Javier Milei, a far-right libertarian leading the polls in Argentina’s presidential election this month, has made a lot of contentious statements in recent years: Humans did not cause climate change; people should be able to sell their organs; his nation’s currency “is not even good as manure.”

    But, to many Argentines, he has done something far worse: attacked the pope.

    In 2020, Mr. Milei, a self-identifying Catholic, called Pope Francis an “imbecile” and “the representative of the Evil One on earth” because he defends “social justice.” Last year, Mr. Milei said the pope “always stands on the side of evil” because he supports taxes.

    But Mr. Milei — a Rolling Stones cover band singer turned libertarian economist turned television pundit turned politician — is not your average presidential candidate.

    He has run with little party structure around him. He has vowed to decimate the government he is vying to lead. He promises deep cuts to social services. He wants to discard his nation’s currency.

    And instead of campaigning with a spouse and children, Mr. Milei has an immediate family that consists of his sister (who runs his campaign), his girlfriend (who gets paid to impersonate a political archrival) and his five Mastiff dogs (which are clones of his previous dog).

    The approach may be unorthodox, but it is working.”


  11. Speaking of stealing one’s thunder, Vern, you stole mine. I was all set to point out that, in addition to his bullying and death threats, no record of governing, sexual coverup, and Trump-loving insurrectionist record of Jordan, he has the ugliest gerrymandered district in the United States of America. On the map it looks like a U lying on its right side designed to keep him in office until he breathes his last. Query unless un-gerrymandered if any Democrat could ever win that seat. Perhaps our best chance of ending his reign of terror would be to quietly register as Republicans and support a Republican running against him in his district in Ohio’s primary.

    Heresy? No. Reality. This man has apparently never heard of Valley Forge, Guadacanal, Okinawa, Gettysburg, or any of the other sacrificial deaths and injuries suffered by patriotic Americans in the defense of our democracy which, I suppose, should not be surprising since he and his fellow democracy-hater Trump are still in 1/6 coup world, a world that presupposes the forceful death of our democracy and the end of the Constitution as our organic law.

    To once again restate my motto in such connection > Our democracy is our most precious asset we hold in common and is one of the last few things left worth dying for (as two of my friends did in WW II).

  12. Calling it a cultural divide or whatever misses the point. Jordan’s district is just chock-full of stupid people. That’s what is going on here, the rallying of the ignorant to form a dangerous mob of know-nothings only capable of motivation through the appeal to emotion, not thought. The GOP is now an organized criminal syndicate, and its mindless pawns are simply incapable of comprehending the folly of their actions.

    We either outnumber them at the polls or we fall victim to their idiocy. That is what Jim Jordan represents.

  13. “By 2016, America was on the brink of a genuinely multiracial democracy….” I do not know that I can quite buy that, but that, the previous 8 years of a BLACK man’s presidency, could easily have been enough to freak out the bigots. And the here comes (came) Mr. Loudly Bigoted closest thing to an actual alien (orange) lizard person! Jordan is not a lizard person, but a lizard, period.

    The Scripps News Network has a logo that depicts a lighthouse on a coast, and the words “Give the people light and they will find their way.” Sadly, crazily, when too many of “the people” saw the light they raced to put on blinders!

    Legislators and their families are receiving threats. Run that through your heads once more: “Legislators and their families are receiving threats.” So, we are in 1930’s Germany?? Jawohl, baby!! Is this not criminal behavior? ???!

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