Rep. Mike Johnson has been elected speaker of the House. The Republican Party’s speakerless fiasco dragged on for weeks, displacing former Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy, hampering the U.S. government, and ending with what amounts to a reiteration that the Republican Party is completely beholden to Trump and his MAGA wing.
Johnson has packaged himself as a seemingly thoughtful person. However, Johnson’s thoughts concern the same failed small-government policy ideas that have harmed Americans since Ronald Reagan was president. When Johnson and fellow Republicans held a theatrical production of a press conference on Tuesday night, they made it clear they had no time to answer questions about policies or what actual work they, as the House majority, might be interested in.
But what exactly does Johnson stand for? Well, he’s been pretty open about his beliefs, and there’s a lot of video and audio tape of him telling us exactly what he thinks and feels.
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First up: Cuts! Cuts to “entitlements.” Sadly, conservatives have been relatively successful in getting people across the media to discuss social safety net programs, which are paid for by American citizens in order to serve American citizens, as “entitlements.” Here’s Johnson on this topic:
We have to get back to [entitlement reform] as a No. 1 priority. The CBO [Congressional Budget Office] says that entitlement spending, which they define as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, interest on the debt—those four obligations, we’ve eclipsed GDP in, what, a dozen years or something? I mean, this is not— this can no longer be kicked down the road. You can't wait eight years to address this. It has to happen yesterday. So we have to have our hand at the wheel and do this. We are completely derelict in our duty. We're rearranging furniture on the Titanic if we don't get this problem under control.
Here’s some more concrete information about Johnson’s “entitlements” policies.
Then, about a week after the 2020 election, we have Johnson saying the “election fraud” allegations have “a lot of merit,” and that he could give “example after example” of proof that the election was “rigged.”
As for reproductive rights, Johnson is against a person’s right to choose what to do with their body. He spoke about it during a committee hearing, lamenting the loss of “able-bodied workers” … to abortion, it seems.
If you believed Johnson’s well-parted, howdy-doody haircut and glasses and smug demeanor mean he is above the petty squabbling seen by the likes of Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, you would be wrong. Here he is telling Tucker Carlson how he thinks then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke the law by ripping up a copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
And with all of that said, if there were any questions about how House Republicans feel about the attempted Jan. 6 coup d'etat by Trump et al., this moment during Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar’s speech on the House floor before the speaker vote should put any questions to rest.
Rep. Elise Stefanik nominated Johnson on the House floor, saying that fellow Republicans would “humbly look in our hearts.” It seems they did and decided that an anti-abortion, pro-insurgency, anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare, and anti-Medicaid extremist was the perfect fit to lead them into the future.
Shame on House Republicans for picking an insurrectionist to be two heartbeats away from the presidency. We must make sure they never hold power again.
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