Keeping the House of Representatives open should be easy. Like, keeping-an-Oregon-weed-dispensary-open kind of easy. But much like acknowledging that the person who wins our presidential election should get to be president, Republicans can’t seem to do it. So we get grotesqueries like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan’s abortive speaker bid, which felt a bit like Sideshow Bob repeatedly stepping on a rake in the cockpit of the Hindenburg.
As fun as it might have been to watch Jordan hemorrhage votes until his support was whittled down to Matt Gaetz, Donald Trump, and the crustiest edges of the GOP, Jordan’s Republican colleagues mercifully pulled the plug on his vanity project when they suddenly realized Dennis Hastert had a better shot. And just in time, too, because it was starting to look like “Groundhog Day” if the groundhog chewed Bill Murray’s balls off every morning.
Of course, as eager as Republicans are to blame their series of increasingly embarrassing own goals on Democrats, that talking point is unlikely to gain much traction on this week’s Sunday shows, no matter how much they love to both-sides the issues. Except for maybe on “Fox News Sunday,” which would book a fart in a jar if it had a brand-new explicit photo of Hunter Biden.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: GOP still deciding which fanatical, anti-American traitor to anoint as speaker
Meanwhile, humans still can’t stop waging wars against each other, despite ample evidence that everyone hates them. Except the people who start them, that is. Maybe Thomas Malthus was right after all. Or maybe we just need to stop putting egregious dicks in charge of everything.
And on that super-cheery note, let’s dig in, shall we?
I think I’m starting to develop feelings for Liz Cheney. No, not those kind of feelings. But, you know, something other than the “choking to death on a stale Pepperidge Farm cracker” sensation I usually get when eyeballing old-school Republicans.
Perhaps my feelings can best be summed up by Bart’s comments vis-à-vis Homer during a particularly poignant moment on “The Simpsons.”
BART: ”I feel so full of … what’s the opposite of shame?”
BART: “No, not that far from shame.”
HOMER: “Less shame?”
BART: [Warmly] “Yeah.”
Okay, so we’re two “Simpsons” references in and we haven’t even rolled our first clip yet. So let’s do that, eh? Liz Cheney joined Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” and made a bit of news in the process. Turns out she could still run for president, presumably as a Republican, even though she’s almost certainly less popular with the GOP than with Democrats and independents these days. Of course, if all she does is tell Vivek Ramaswamy to sit in the corner and drink his milk during the debates, it will all be worth it. In fact, that alone could be enough to vault her to second place—a mere 60 points behind the long-disgraced current face of the GOP.
But more important than any potential presidential run is her determination to keep reminding voters that the Republican frontrunner literally tried to end America less than three years ago.
CHENEY: “We’re going to see what happens, we’re going to see how things unfold. I think Donald Trump is the single most dangerous threat we face. I would imagine that there will be a number of other candidates in the race.”
TAPPER: “Would you be one of them?”
CHENEY: “I’ll tell you what I am definitely going to do. I’m going to spend the next year between now and the election certainly helping to elect serious people, helping to elect sane people.”
TAPPER: “Of both parties?”
CHENEY: “Yes. Because I think that we could well find ourselves in a situation, given what we know the Trump folks are doing in terms of attempting to question the results of the election, we don’t want a situation where the election is thrown to the House of Representatives and Donald Trump has any possibility at all of prevailing under those circumstances. So we’ve got to elect people who believe in the Constitution and take their responsibility seriously to Congress. So I’m going to be spending a lot of time doing that, in addition to other things.”
TAPPER: “But you’re not ruling out a presidential run.”
CHENEY: “No, I’m not.”
TAPPER: “Okay, and we’ll see when your book comes out.”
Some people will think the big takeaway from that clip is that Cheney is still not ruling out a presidential run, as quixotic as it might be. And as long as she doesn’t try to run as a third-, fourth-, or fifth-party candidate, she's welcome to try. But to me the takeaway is that Cheney appears to think there are enough “sane” Republicans left to staff a Sunglass Hut, much less populate half the House. Guess that’s why she has to help out sane Democrats, too.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Matt Gaetz vows to shiv Kevin McCarthy, and AOC says she may help
Oh, he went there. Because of course he did. Kevin McCarthy, who used to spend all day dreaming about being speaker but now only fantasizes about launching Matt Gaetz out to sea on a trebuchet, is still steamed about the eight Republicans and 210 Democrats who voted to Scaramucci his worthless ass.
McCarthy joined Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” to complain that House Democrats failed to rescue a speaker who’d spent the previous nine months repeatedly stabbing them in the back, front, and undercarriage.
WELKER: “As we have said, the House of Representatives has been without a speaker for nearly three weeks now. What do you say to Americans who look at this chaos and believe it’s a sign that Republicans cannot govern?”
MCCARTHY: “Well, it’s embarrassing, and you got to understand why we’re here. Eight Republicans led by Gaetz have created this chaos by joining every single Democrat in voting to shut down one branch of government. Look, I would do the exact same thing again. Could you imagine if we were having this discussion right now with the American government shut down, with our troops in the Middle East wondering when they’ll ever get paid again? Keeping the government open was the right decision to make and I’d make it again each and every day. Now the two men, Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, they could have done the job as speaker. Unfortunately, the chaos has continued.”
Yeah, you’re not going to pin this on Democrats, Kevin. It just won’t work. You’re just embarrassing yourself further—assuming that’s even possible.
Thanks for keeping the government open, Kevin. And for covering your mouth when you sneeze. And for showing up to all your interviews wearing pants. You’ve passed Humaning 101. Barely. Congrats.
RELATED: Sunday Four-Play: Matt Gaetz tries to 'splain himself, and Blinken responds to GOP lies about Hamas
So Kevin is embarrassed? Hey, so is GOP Rep. Michael McCaul. What a coincidence! Know who’s not embarrassed? Not one single congressional Democrat.
McCaul joined ABC “This Week’s” Jonathan Karl to dump ashes on his head and rend his garments. (Metaphorically, of course, though who knows what really goes on in the green room?)
KARL: “You need to have a speaker of the House before you get any of this done. What the hell’s going on?”
MCCAUL: “I have to say, and this is my 10th term in Congress, this is probably one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen, because if we don’t have a speaker of the House, we can’t govern, and every day that goes by we’re essentially shut down as a government. We have very important issues right now, war and peace, and we cannot deal with an aid package, or my resolution condemning Hamas and supporting Israel.”
KARL: “You can’t even pass a resolution condemning Hamas. … So are you supporting, I mean, I’ve lost count now. I think we’re pushing a dozen candidates and potential candidates for speaker. Who are you supporting?”
MCCAUL: “Look, I haven’t decided, but I want a speaker in the chair so we can move forward and govern. My issues, my committee of war and peace [House Foreign Affairs Committee], it’s too dangerous right now. The world’s on fire, and this is so dangerous what we’re doing. And most importantly it’s embarrassing because it empowers and emboldens our adversaries like [Chinese] Chairman Xi [Jinping], who says, you know, democracy doesn’t work.”
KARL: “Is there any possibility of, I don’t want to say coalition government, but is there any possibility that you’re just going to need some kind of arrangement that has Democratic support as well?”
MCCAUL: “This is, you know, discussed. If you can’t get to 217 within our conference ...”
KARL: “This is not really not a strange hypothetical.”
MCCAUL: “How do you get there? But I think for some, they see that as very dangerous as well.”
KARL: “But you wouldn’t rule it out if …?”
MCCAUL: “You know, I’d rather it be the Republicans nominating and voting on the floor for a Republican speaker, but this can’t go on forever. I don’t know if we’re going to have a speaker next week. I don’t know how this plays out.”
Hmm, so just two years after 147 congressional Republicans voted to overturn the results of a free and fair U.S. election, Republicans are suddenly worried that we’re sending the wrong message to our foreign adversaries about the virtues of democracy. Funny how that works. (To be fair, McCaul did not vote to overturn the 2020 election. He took a firm stand that was roughly as honorable and courageous as not deliberately running over squirrels on the way to a Klan meeting.)
It’s also interesting that all this chaos has erupted since Vladimir Putin successfully installed a puppet at the head of the U.S. government. And now the puppet’s puppets are puppeteering the country into a ditch. Weird how that works.
Let’s see, would you like a video about Hamas and Israel and all those concomitant horrors, or a short clip of Jake Tapper calling a congressional Republican a clown to his face? Okay, then. Let’s go with Tapper and the Clown. GOP Rep. Mike Turner rolled out of his tiny car and onto our teevees as a guest on “State of the Union.”
TURNER: “I really hope in the next several days that we come together as a Republican caucus that we’re able to resolve that, that we go unified to the House floor and deliver a speaker.”
TAPPER: “I hope you don’t take this personally, but do you have any idea how clownish you look?”
TURNER: “Well, you know, Jake, I’m very fond of saying that Congress is a lot like high school, but even more so. So hopefully we’ll get past this and, you know, I certainly have been part of the governing majority and I’m going to stay part of that, and I look forward to those who are on the fringes hopefully coming together so that we can get a speaker.”
TAPPER: “I said that to Congressman [Steve] Womack last week—high school—and he said that that’s an insult to high school students. It’s more like junior high. Congressman Turner, Chairman Turner, good to see you. I hope you guys pick a speaker sometime soon.”
TURNER: “Great. Thanks, Jake.”
High school. Junior high. Either way, Matt Gaetz will hang around long enough to make everyone super uncomfortable. Guess the only solution is for all these folks to finally grow up. Hakeem Jeffries has a plan for that.
But wait! There’s more!
That’s all for now. See you next week! By then, we might even have a speaker. Or not. We’ll see.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.