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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
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Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Oval Offense: The Speaker Sh*t Show Part 2

Mike+Johnson+of+Louisiana+is+the+current+speaker+of+the+house+%28Courtesy+of+Wikimedia+Commons%29.
Mike Johnson of Louisiana is the current speaker of the house (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

The recent Speaker of the House drama can be best summarized as a bunch of headless chickens running around — total chaos. But after numerous candidates, nominees and voting procedures, the GOP has settled on Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA)

Who?

Johnson has long been in the shadows of Congress. The quiet, yet more radical conservative was first elected to Congress in 2016 and served as the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference as well as the GOP deputy whip — an assistant leadership role. 

The struggle to find a new Speaker of the House, however, did not stem from a lack of qualified candidates. For public image, the GOP was looking for a nominee who embodied their values and their passionate opposition to President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. But behind closed doors, it was purely a matter of getting enough votes and endorsements. And for that reason, Johnson was the guy. 

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On paper, Johnson’s voting record is nearly identical to that of Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a radical conservative who failed to win the speakership due to the opposition of 25 more moderate Republicans. 

Johnson, on a larger scale, embodies a modern movement within the Republican Party — the movement toward the incorporation of evangelical Christian values within bills and policies. The Trump-endorsed Speaker has been a proponent of anti-abortion and anti-gay policies, specifically opposing a bipartisan bill to federally recognize same-sex marriage. Furthermore, he was an essential proponent and supporter of Donald Trump’s election denial claims and went as far as to push a baseless conspiracy theory that “rigged” Dominion voting machines had ties to deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.

So how did Johnson win the Speakership while holding nearly the same radical beliefs as Jordan? There are multiple theories. It is possible that there was a compromise within the Republican party or that the time pressure and embarrassment of not electing a Speaker of the House three different times caused moderates to finally cave. One thing, however, is certain — if he wishes to end differently than former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Johnson will have to constantly appease and negotiate with both factions of a party, a task that is undoubtedly daunting. The pressure is on.

A few weeks ago, I asserted that Democrats took a gamble by ousting McCarthy, assuming a less radical conservative would be made Speaker. With Tom Emmers (R-Minn.) withdrawing and the election of Johnson, however, any hope has dissipated and the Democrats’ gamble did not pay off. 

This whole “Speaker Shitshow” — as much of a mess it was — provided an opportunity. It was an opportunity to take a step forward — to change the partisan dynamic of Congress and foster compromise and cooperation among parties through moderacy and a rejection of the modern radicalist movement. But time and time again, our government demonstrates its incapability to forge bipartisan alliances and create positive change when needed most.

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About the Contributor
Dillon Clark, Asst. Opinion Editor
Dillon is a sophomore from Washington, D.C. majoring in politics and international affairs and economics. Outside of the OGB, he is a member of the club lacrosse team and the Alexander Hamilton Society. In his free time, you can find him playing the guitar, playing pick up basketball or listening to music.

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    JudithNov 11, 2023 at 9:07 am

    “So how did Johnson win the Speakership while holding nearly the same radical beliefs as Jordan?”

    Redical according to who? You?

    Half the country supports the policies of the Republican party.

    The other half supports open borders, lockdowns, mandating vaccines, curtailing free speech rights, inflationary spending, sexualizing children, failing public education….

    This type of journalism is why people trust the media.

    Reply