The Georgia effect on the race for speaker of the House

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Follow congressional Republicans’ efforts to select a new speaker of the House, and you’re bound to run into a Georgian, or five. Few situations better illustrate how the Georgia and national GOPs mirror one another, for good or ill.

When John Boehner said he was handing over the gavel, one of the first possible replacements named was Rep. Tom Price. The former surgeon has skillfully carved out a niche in Washington as a policy wonk with broad support within the party.

Price instead readied a campaign for majority leader, held by the initial front-runner to succeed Boehner, Kevin McCarthy. But since McCarthy unexpectedly dropped out of the race, Price has chosen to bide his time. Someone with strong conservative-policy credentials isn’t necessarily who members want, as Paul Ryan is learning.

With the party at an impasse, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland surprisingly stepped forward. The longtime state legislator has been rumored as a potential gubernatorial contestant in 2018, so the prospect he’d stay in Washington as speaker was unexpected. Westmoreland’s campaign is on ice as Ryan tries to solidify support, but he could revive it if Ryan fails.

Whether Westmoreland or Price manages to move up may depend on a few other Georgians.

Two freshman congressmen, Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk, are members of the Freedom Caucus that has held up the election for speaker. It was the Freedom Caucus that made it clear McCarthy couldn’t win without Democrats’ votes, and it’s the Freedom Caucus that has yet to sign off on Ryan’s candidacy.

Loudermilk told reporters he’ll maintain his independence from the caucus on the speaker vote. Hice has not. That may be because of the fifth Georgian enmeshed in this mess: Hice’s predecessor, Paul Broun.

Broun finished a distant fifth in last year’s Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat, but he’s said to be eyeing a challenge to Hice next year. In the meantime, Broun has re-emerged as part of the anti-everyone caucus.

First, he helped launch a website called FireMcCarthy.com. Now he and such other luminaries as Alan Keyes have moved on to FirePaulRyan.com. (One can only guess they have reserved similar domain names for, oh, about 230 other House members.)

If hiring someone as speaker isn’t a prerequisite for these folks to “fire” them, it’s hard to know what would satisfy them. Ryan has set the recent conservative gold standard for budgets and was on his way to doing the same for tax reform before the current chaos. But because he supports immigration reform — and even though he told fellow House Republicans he wouldn’t pursue such a bill as speaker until Barack Obama leaves the White House — he is branded a conservative apostate.

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, madness. Show me a politician who’s been in Congress more than a few months and has always voted the way the Broun brigade wants, and I’ll show you someone who couldn’t win the speaker election (or get more than, say, 9.63 percent of a statewide primary vote in Georgia).

The kicker? All of this could wind up being a preview of our state elections in 2018. You might want to start figuring out which of these sides you’re going to take.

Reader Comments 0

21 comments
lvg
lvg

Westmoreland demonstrated his  ability to accomplish nothing and  ask inane questions  in today's Benghazi  hearings.  I guess that makes him highly qualified tto move up. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@lvg So asking why a "friend" who asked 600 times in a year for more security was ignored completely is Inane?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The way I see it is the establishment GOP is not getting the things done the GOP base wants done.  Yes, it is hard to get some of what they promised done, but not making even an attempt just angers folks.  


This just points out that no man can serve two masters.  One of the masters are needed for votes and one for donations, so they play to voters during the election and the donors all of the non election time.   For some reason, the voters have awakened and sent some new blood up there with specific instructions on what the voters would like done.  The establishment has done everything in their power to maintain control and limit the effect of the newly elected representatives.  Paul Ryan is just more of the establishment using their brute power to control what legislation is brought up.  And as usual the legislation they prefer is the Chamber of Commerce agenda.


If an outsider were to get elected President and actually demanded that laws are enforced, the Constitution is followed, the budget balanced, and the borders closed, the establishment will have a stop gap moderating Speaker as insurance against any bold agenda.


Surely there are Representatives in the House, who are closer ideologically to the voters positions than Paul Ryan, that can unify the House.  Ryan is Boehner II, which means the House will be out of step with the GOP voters once again and like Boehner his tenure will end badly.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

 This is, not to put too fine a point on it, madness


You have pretty much come up with the same conclusion we have all been saying for the last few years. The Republican party has been hijacked by Broun and people like him (Donald "Twin towers would still be up if I was president" Trump) who want conflict not compromise. Tomorrow is judgment day. If Paul Ryan is not speaker then we are looking at a leaderless majority in the house for a long time. (although looks like he will take the job albeit cautiously)

Dusty2
Dusty2

Well,  I'm not worried.  This, too, will pass. Besides, Georgians are up there helping out!!  We can do better the second time around. 


I am a little more worried about the next president.  Will it be the blow-hard or the statesman?  Surely we can tell the difference.  Jeb Bush is the calm one after the storm, when people start thinking.  We do not need another wasteful  " wonder blunder" passing through.  Just one who can govern and solve problems, not create them.  That is JEB! 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"This is, not to put too fine a point on it, madness."


Oh, go ahead, put a fine point on it. :) 

Moderate Republicans view the whiny Freedom Caucus the way moderate Americans view the Republican Party whenever the Republican prove to be the "Party of No".


Common sense might just prevail with moderate Republicans.  It does not appear that it will prevail with the Freedom Caucus.  



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude "It does not appear that it will prevail with the Freedom Caucus."

Well, two-thirds of them say they're going to vote for Ryan, so maybe it will.

Btw, there's more to the House GOP conference than "moderates" and the Freedom Caucus. The members of the Republican Study Committee (formerly chaired by Tom Price) are very conservative. They just aren't willing to go as far as the FC in pursuing certain (mostly procedural) goals.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude "two-thirds of them say they're going to vote for Ryan, so maybe it will."


I wonder if Ryan will accept that, or if he wants 100% support. (My initial interpretation is that he wants 100%.) 


lvg
lvg

House is actually accomplishing something in a bipartisan fashion :


""Committee on Thursday debated and passed a resolution that would condemn the Palestinian Authority for "anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement."


The non-binding resolution, drafted by Congressman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Ted Deutch (D-Florida), lists a host of statements from PA leadership made since 2013 that its authors consider inflammatory. Noting that the Oslo II agreement, signed in 1995, forbids such rhetoric, it condemns PA President Mahmoud Abbas for praising the killers of Israelis as "heroes," for labeling Jews a "contaminating" presence on the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif) and for encouraging bloodletting in Jerusalem.

The resolution urges Abbas and Palestinian Authority officials "to discontinue all official incitement and exert influence to discourage anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian civil society" and directs the State Department "to regularly monitor and publish information on all official incitement by the Palestinian Authority against Jews and the State of Israel."
From Jerusalem Post today.
I guess this was in response to Kerry's inappropriate remarks that innocent women, children and th eelderly were getting stabbed and murdered because of Israeli settlements.

straker
straker

Kyle - "I've never been in favor of disqualifying someone from office for one position I don't share"


Well, neither am I.


With so many issues on the table these days, the chance of a House, Senate or Presidential candidate agreeing with me on every single one is about zero. 

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

There are some GOP statesmen, they suffer from mad ones.

M H Smith
M H Smith

I think it's time to fire the GOP.



Aquagirl
Aquagirl

And here's where gerrymandering bites you in the butt. It's produced do-nothing nutballs who are choking the Republican party, rendering them basically unable to govern.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@Aquagirl 

Do-nothing?

How many bills have the obstructionist Democrats filibustered this session?

straker
straker

"madness"


Kyle, are you finally starting to see the light?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@straker I've never been in favor of disqualifying someone from office for one position I don't share.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Madness.  That one word sums up the Republican party of the last 15 years.  It has gotten madder and madder and madder and madder.  Here's hoping this is the final explosion.