Three weeks after a small group of House Republican rebels led by Matt Gaetz (R-FL) removed Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker (with the assistance of a unanimous Democratic caucus), the position remains vacant.
On October 20, Republicans gave up (after three ballots) on Jim Jordan (R-OH). “Moderate” Republicans seem disinclined to either jump ship and support the Democratic pick (New York’s Hakeem Jeffries) or to put forward a “moderate” who might pick up enough Democratic votes to break the Gaetz-led logjam.
All this drama naturally has the American political class in tears. “No legislative function can occur on the House floor until a new speaker is elected,” the Washington Examiner‘s Jack Birle explains. “No votes or any other basic functions can occur on the floor of the House until the election has been resolved.”
So … what’s the downside? I’m looking for a cloud around the silver lining, and failing to find one.
Hard as they may work to convince us otherwise, American politicians don’t do anything we couldn’t do for ourselves at lower cost and to a higher standard of quality — and what they do TO us massively outweighs anything they might happen to accidentally do FOR us.
As Mark Twain noted more than a century ago, “it could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”
They steal our wealth and order us around, and that’s about it — except for the part where they pompously style themselves “public servants.”
Every day the Speaker’s chair remains empty is a day off, a day of victory, for America’s long-suffering, hen-pecked, pick-pocketed, neglected, and abused public. After all, if Congress can’t do anything, Congress can’t do anything stupid, or evil, or both.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end.
Sooner or later, the honorable (snort) members of the House will start worrying.
It will dawn on them that the longer they mess around doing a whole lot of nothing, the more Americans will realize how much we LIKE it.
They’ll panic at the prospect that more of us will notice how useless they are at their best (that is, when they’re doing nothing) and how actively harmful to our peace and prosperity they are in normal times (that is, when they’re doing things).
At some point they’ll choose a Speaker and get back to “work.”
Until then, enjoy this refreshing break.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.