The Republican House of Representatives majority, after
three tries, finally settled on a new speaker, following a
long-brewing revolt that led to the end of Speaker
Kevin McCarthy’s tenure three weeks before.
Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson won a unanimous
GOP vote to win the speakership 220-209 over Democrat
Hakeem Jeffers. This party unity was in stark contrast to
the party divisions which marked earlier voting that saw
three GOP speaker nominees fail to even come close to
the 217 votes necessary to win the post.
For three weeks, the House majority performed a comic
opera that wasn’t at all funny. When the curtain came
down, there was relief instead of applause.
Speaker Johnson says the next show will be serious
drama. There is plenty to be serious about in both
domestic and in international affairs.
The first action of the House under Speaker Johnson was
a bipartisan resolution condemning the barbarity of
Hamas in its attack of Israel. It passed overwhelmingly.
Coming up, the House must take action on the national
debt limit, an issue which provoked GOP dissension
before. It will test Speaker Johnson’s ability to serve as
leader of the House as perhaps no other immediate
issue. If he and his caucus are successful, they will then
face many more serious decisions in the term leading
to the November, 2024 national elections.
The work of the legislative branches of the government
goes on. The curtain will now rise on the next show in
D.C. The business of nominating candidates for
president will likely attract the most attention. There is
considerable dissension in both major parties on which
person that will be, and there is an unusual interest in
this cycle for third party and independent candidates.
Democrats might have enjoyed the spectacle of the
Republicans’ House leadership battle just concluded,
but now they face a decision of what to do with their
own incumbent president and vice president whose
support is plummeting ominously in virtually all
The curtain is now going up on that show, and no one
knows now who will be in its cast, or whether it will be
a comedy or a tragedy or something else.
Copyright (c) 2023 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.