Alex Brandon / AP
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023 | 2 a.m.
The legislative vandal Jim Jordan once again failed to secure the 217 votes necessary to become speaker of the House on Wednesday. While most political pundits expected Jordan to lose in the first ballot Tuesday, Jordan’s supporters had hoped to bully his detractors into submission once they were forced to “out” themselves and be identified in the public vote.
Fortunately, at least 20 moderate Republicans may have finally realized that Jordan and his Freedom Caucus colleagues are little more than destructive chaos agents looking to tear down the institutions of government and democracy and seize power for themselves, all while preening for their closeup on Fox News.
Time and again Jordan has proven himself unfit to lead because of his wildly disruptive behavior, ranting and raving, spreading unfounded conspiracy theories and seemingly existing for the sole purpose of impeding progress in the people’s chamber.
For those skeptics who think we’re exaggerating, consider this: Jordan was first elected to the House in the same election in which Barack Obama won the presidency. Jordan was sworn into office Jan. 3, 2007, four days before Steve Jobs announced a game-changing new technology called the iPhone.
During that entire time — more than 15 years in office — Jordan has never successfully passed a bill into law. The nine-term “lawmaker” has not made a single law. He has, however, worked to destroy numerous laws — including many introduced by his own party.
Politico has described him as “routinely thwart(ing) his own Republican leadership’s priorities.” And in 2021, researchers at the Center for Effective Lawmaking, a joint project between the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, rated Jordan as the 202nd most effective Republican in the House of Representatives. Keep in mind, this rating was after more than a decade of experience.
Of course, if Jordan spent less time attacking his colleagues, working-class Americans, hard-working immigrants, asylum seekers and people needing temporary government assistance, and more time actually doing his job, he might get something done. But legislating and governing aren’t Jordan’s goals. His goal is to destroy things and then insert himself into the vacuum of power left behind. He’s the king of the sucker punch and then running away while cackling as if subverting Congress is the same thing as governing.
That’s why he was among disgraced former President Donald Trump’s closest allies in the big lie that sought to overthrow democracy, ignore the will of the American people as expressed at the ballot box and install Trump as an illegitimate president. Jordan was also complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection that stained the walls and lawn of the United States Capitol with the blood of police officers.
And now, the least successful lawmaker and most successful agent of chaos in the House in recent memory is claiming that he is the best person to lead the House through the chaos and create laws that serve the American people.
Jordan has reportedly assured his Republican colleagues that his days of creating chaos are behind him, promising to work to build coalitions and pass essential spending bills and aid for our allies in Ukraine and Israel. He has also sworn to do everything in his power to avoid government shutdowns. But given that Jordan has been among the group of legislators most responsible for shutdowns in the past — including less than three weeks ago when Jordan denounced a compromise reached by then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avoid a government shutdown — there is no sane reason to believe him.
Instead, the few remaining moderate Republicans must hold strong against extremists like Jordan and secure the votes necessary to elect a sane, rational and — most importantly, effective — speaker.
We know that holding the line is uncomfortable and out of character for moderates. After all, the phrase “everything in moderation” implies that there is a time and place for the ignorant and brutish tactics of people like Jordan. But not when it comes to the person charged with leading one half of Congress and is second in line to the U.S. presidency.
Nevadans know a little something about gambling. With ongoing wars in Ukraine and Israel, increasingly aggressive tactics by Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others, the United States cannot afford to gamble on whether Jordan will keep his word and build bridges — instead of dropping bombs — as the next House speaker.
Moreover, the American public is increasingly making it clear that they don’t want people like Jordan in leadership.
Despite having a base that screams louder than anyone else, Trump’s extremism and intransigence made him a one-term president and handed unified control of Congress to Democrats. Two years later, in a midterm that should have resulted in a landslide victory for Republicans, extremism allowed Democrats to retain control of the Senate and lose such a small number of seats in the House that Republicans are unable to pass legislation without near unanimity.
Moderate Republicans should take a moment to gauge the winds of political change, which are blowing toward a populace that is tired of extremism and in search of effective governance.
Jordan is neither moderate nor effective. He’s a failure as a legislator and there is no reason to believe he would be anything but a failure as a speaker. Republicans in the House should reject him and work with moderate Democrats to find a suitable leader who can garner the 217 votes necessary to win the speaker’s gavel.
The American people need Congress to get back to work. So do our allies in Ukraine and Israel. Now is the time to rise above partisan politics and find a compromise that can work for all Americans.