What Is WRONG With Jim Banks? Many Things..

Among the things I just don’t get is why someone who doesn’t believe in government wants to be part of government.

Take Indiana Congressman Jim Banks. (Yes, please take him. Although why you would want him is a mystery…)

In the wake of the recent vote to keep the U.S. Government operating, the Washington Post ran an article identifying the 95 Representatives who voted no. Banks was one of them. Had the Democrats not bailed out the new Speaker by voting in mass for the continuing resolution, the measure wouldn’t have passed, and we would have had another government shutdown.

Right before Thanksgiving.

A shutdown would mean 3.5 million federal workers going without pay. A number of them– including over 50,000 airport security officers and 13,000 air traffic controllers–would have to come to work anyway, and work without being paid, because their jobs are considered critical to national security.

Federal criminal justice workers would also have to show up without pay–  criminal proceedings would continue. Civil trials, however, would be put on hiatus.

National parks and museums would close. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid payments would continue, but services would slow and payments could be late. There’s lots more, including the international implications of shutting down the U.S. government at a time when two hot wars are raging.

Jim Banks is an ultra-MAGA culture warrior who wants to be Indiana’s Senator. He’s a member of what the New York Times has dubbed the “Wrecking Ball Caucus.”

Members of that Caucus believe that most of the governing Congress does is–in the words of one of them–  totally unjustified. These hard-Right ideologues share an anti-government  perspective that has led to what the Times calls “a historically dysfunctional moment in American politics.”

Washington is in the grip of an ultraconservative minority that sees the federal government as a threat to the republic, a dangerous monolith to be broken apart with little regard for the consequences. They have styled themselves as a wrecking crew aimed at the nation’s institutions on a variety of fronts…

Defying the G.O.P.’s longstanding reputation as the party of law and order, they have pledged to handcuff the F.B.I. and throttle the Justice Department. Members of the party of Ronald Reagan refused to meet with a wartime ally, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, this week when he visited the Capitol and want to eliminate assistance to his country, a democratic nation under siege from an autocratic aggressor.

And they are unbowed by guardrails that in past decades forced consensus even in the most extreme of conflicts; this is the same bloc that balked at raising the debt ceiling in the spring to avert a federal debt default.

“There is a group of Republican members who seem to feel there is no limit at all as to how you can wreck the system,” said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University. “There are no boundaries, no forbidden zones. They go where relatively junior members have feared to tread in the past.”

As one Democrat puts it, “The clowns are running the circus.

Banks is one of the clowns. He enthusiastically endorses Trump, which is no surprise–he  also  voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, confirming his distaste for small-d democratic self-government. 

Banks has been dubbed “Focus on the Family’s Man in Washington,”and has been described as a “man who prizes ideological purity over pragmatism.” Banks supported loudmouth disrupter Jim Jordan for speaker, and Banks and his wife, Amanda, both worked in Focus’ in-house public policy division.

Jim Banks is a frequent guest on programs by the Family Research Council, founded by Dobson in 1981, and he joined Trump and other Republicans at September’s FRC-sponsored Pray Vote Stand Summit, where he spoke on “De-Woking the Pentagon.” Trump endorsed Banks’ 2024 Senate run at the event.

Amanda Banks serves as vice president of education at Family Policy Alliance, which was founded by Dobson in the 1980s and now oversees a network of conservative family policy councils in 40 states. FPA has taken the lead in enacting anti-trans legislation and other measures in GOP-led states.

I began this post by wondering why someone like Banks–who has  shown no interest whatsoever in the nuts and bolts of actual governance, or in doing his job–wants to be part of an institution he despises. 

Stranger still: why does a man who doesn’t think government has the authority to fund parks and pay air traffic controllers believe that same government has the authority to force women to give birth and forbid doctors from treating transgender children?

Why are zealots like Banks willing to use a government they are trying to demolish to impose their cultural, religious “anti-woke” views on other American citizens?


  1. Aside from Banks being a hypocrite, like most “wrecking ball Republicans,” there is no other answer to your last question.

    They only want the government to serve their needs — mainly the needs of their donors, but not do the work for the masses. If the Justice Department goes after a GOPer, then it is terrible. If it goes after a DEM, then it is good.

    I noticed the NYT had to make a plug for Ukraine and even called it a democracy. Based on what? The NYT was probably calling Ukraine a corrupt oligarchy back in 2014-16 when it was considered the most corrupt country in Eastern Europe. Enough with the money and resources to Ukraine, and enough with the NYT’s war propaganda.

    Oh, one last note: the reason the “government is dysfunctional” is because we’ve dumbed down Congress with anti-democratic policies like gerrymandering and unlimited money from donors. The wrecking ball caucus only requires a pulse. Brains are not required.

  2. By the way, the Family Policy Alliance, according to BARD, “The FPA is not transparent about its funding sources or its decision-making processes.”

    If these organizations are doing the work of GOD, why aren’t they proud of the funding sources they attract? Also, why don’t the donors want credit for assisting in this noble mission?

    It’s time for a housecleaning at the IRS.

  3. One thing about Banks; who is the Democrat running against him?
    It seems to me that now is a golden opportunity for Democrats, and democracy, in Indiana. Many of my conservative friends are disheartened by the dysfunction in Congress, and are saying that they intend to sit this one out. If that is the case among other conservative voters, if the DNC and the IN Dem’s can get their act together to energize voters it is possible that we might send a D to the Senate in 2024, and maybe even one sitting in the Governor’s Mansion. But we need name recognition in the media, especially in the rural areas, and I am not seeing any campaign ads for them at all.
    Time is running out.

  4. This is what i posted yesterday.

    But I think the dysfunction was explained by a R house member that showed just how far the culture war issues have consumed the Republican base when he was explaining his no vote on what should have been a simple bipartisan farm aid renewal bill. “We need something to show the constituents at home!”, meaning I think, that there were no added provisions to at least withhold aid from LBGTQ+ farmers.

  5. What do I tell my niece, unregistered and non-voter that the government is not as corrupt as she imagines?

    Indeed, I agree, we need a strong D candidate in every race in Indiana! Where are they? You can’t win if you don’t run.

  6. I assume that members of congress would continued to get paid through a shutdown – because they are ‘essential’ workers?? I was an ‘essential’ government employee during a threatened shutdown. I was embarrassed that I would have continued to be paid while other employees, who had to perform jobs to keep me working, would have no pay.

  7. Why are there “ultraconservatives” (extremists) in government?

    Because voters are concentrated in “cells” around the country who can’t be bothered with fundamental economics, so they fall for itinerant preachers selling lower taxes as an economic solution.

    Self-centered only me is so much easier than cost/benefit big picture analysis

  8. It is plain wrong for the Indiana GOP to endorse a candidate ahead of a primary. Here we are.

    I wish we had a strong Dem running for the Senate seat. Dems must still run to flesh out the weirdness of Banks. Look him up on Ballotopedia. He resists every bipartisan opportunity.

  9. Nothing wrong with Banks – he is just who he is MAGA, appealing head on to folks scared by rapid technological and societal change and untrusting of all institutions, especially government.

    What is wrong is:

    – DEMs who continue to put “party over country” and nominate “career politicians”/ “elites” with blue sky policy proposals that can’t be passed in divided times. They have no understanding of the lived lives of the working class/poor and their kitchen table issues.

    – Voters (Per aging girl – “What do I tell my niece, unregistered and non-voter that the government is not as corrupt as she imagines?) Why bother/hunker down…

  10. Upon researching Banks’s wife Amanda I found some very relevant information pertaining to his radical views and I now recognize that she is the power that controls her husband Jim. I’ve attached links to a 2014 IndyStar article about them and also to her bio page on the Family Policy Alliance. All very relevant info about the financial power backing him.

    My fear is that his backers’ intentions are to eventually raise him to the office of President. While I truly hope a miracle takes place to defeat him in the Senate race next year, I really fear for our country’s future if he wins.

    Fort Wayne’s tv station 21Alive fired their multiple-award winning top news anchor back in September or October, which was a surprise to both him and to the viewing public. He was fired due to interviewing Banks way back in January. He refused to allow Banks to get away with not answering the questions by just repeating irrelevant talking points. Months later that news anchor’s contract was not renewed – he was basically fired. I assumed Club for Growth and ALEC stepped in with threats of removing financial support, but now I believe Amanda and her ultra-theocratic employer may have had the largest influence over Gray Television, Inc. which owns 21Alive tv.



  11. AgingLGirl, you tell your niece that the only way things change is by voting your conscience. If you think the choices are all bad, pick the one that least offends you, but it is the duty as a citizen to vote. And impress upon her that her life depends on it! It’s what my father taught me and I likewise to my children.

  12. I have answered the question posed by Shelia today in a blog I wrote eleven and a half years go. I looked it up for fodder to answer her interrogatory today and find that my answer then and my answer today are virtually identical except for the characters I used then, i. e., nothing about Banks but rather references to Bernie Madoff and right wing tax cutters of that day. Not much has changed, though my effort then did not include presidential-led insurrection, congressional election deniers, a Puritanical Speaker from medieval times, and incredibly ignorant members of the House from Georgia and Colorado et al.

    In historical context, we should remember what the Coolidge-Hoover years of laissez faire tax-cutting administration(s) did for the rich in America, what it did to both the rich and the rest of us (the Great Depression), and how FDR’s New Deal in which policy based on making government work for all the people barely staved off fascism in the Thirties.

    Fed by political and financial animals such as Banks, Gaetz and others, it appears that the fascist captors of the Republican Party are making a comeback, but sans a grinding depression like we had in the Thirties upon which to base such destruction of our democratic institutions and installation of authoritarian rule. So what to do? Participate in droves in the election less than a year from now and protect certification of that vote by our vice president per the Constitution, since unless we do it may be our last opportunity to select those who govern us.

  13. Why? Perhaps because , to them, the religious agenda literally trumps all else?
    “…party of law and order,” well when it served their purpose, just like family values. I’ll spare you from my small rant about traitorous St. Regan.

  14. AgingGirl, Tell your niece that it is not the government that is corrupt, but that some of the people in it are more corrupt than she imagines.

  15. Right you are, Bill. I met Marc and wore his badge at a Democratic conclave a few months ago. He’s a good one. I will be voting for him and encourage readers of this snippet to do the same. Two years of Banks is reedickel dockle, and I have no word for six years! Worser?

  16. Banks wants to be a US Senator, not to legislate for the common good as a public servant, but to dismantle government and the Constitution, institute authoritarian (some would say fascistic) policies, and enrich himself and his immediate family.

  17. The answer to Sheila’s question, about why Banks wants to be in government, is simple. It involves one word: Testosterone.

  18. Seems easier to list what is right with Mr. Banks. It’s the side he’s on, at the fringes.

  19. Theresa and Ageing Girl: “AgingGirl, Tell your niece that it is not the government that is corrupt, but that some of the people in it are more corrupt than she imagines.”

    The problem is that many voters cannot imagine (or understand – thanks to little teaching of civics or critical thinking) the depth/breathe of corruption already there or being plotted. And, of course, beyond “mere” corruption, is the systematic dismantling of our democracy.

    One dog’s bark – WOOF

  20. Fantasy law – anyone who votes to shut down the government gets all of their assets frozen (and their family’s assets) for three times the length of time that the government is actually shut down – and no bank or creditor is allowed to waive late fees or give any other consideration to them, just like for the rest of the federal employees – no salary either, for them or their staff.

    Imagining “Senator Banks” makes me want to escape into fantasy. I only hope that the Democrats learn how to campaign. The state party did not show any intelligence during the municipal elections here, with their threatening mailer (“We don’t know who you voted for but whether or not you vote is public record.” – a true fact made to sound like a threat.
    If that was a fake mailing, I never heard about it. I think it was a real GOTV mailer.

  21. It’s really quite simple when you think about it…..
    Republicans ….. It’s all about Me!
    Democrats ….. It’s all about Us!

    Right wing media … specifically Fox ‘news’ and it’s original nut job bill O’Reilly, began turning over there maga rocks 30 years ago and in that time, the country has gone to hell!

    If there’s any Vermin to be eradicated, it’s on right wing media!

  22. Not clowns running the circus. The inmates are running the asylum, and they will knock down anyone or anything that gets in their way. I am holding out little hope for the survival of our democracy.

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