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My Pick For The Next Speaker Of The U.S. House

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My Pick For The Next Speaker Of The U.S. House

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If it were under the big top, it would be a hilarious clown show — with pratfalls, wild posturing, tumbling, juggling and a cacophony of comic chaos.

But alas, it’s under the Capitol dome, so it’s just the Republican congressional caucus — bumbling, stumbling, and crashing into each other in clownish acts of ideological zaniness, political incoherence and pathetic ineptitude. The present bedlam on the Hill was prompted by House Speaker John Boehner abruptly deciding to zip-a-dee-doo-dah out of office, having finally given up on corralling his caucus of clowns.

Sadly, his withdrawal has only intensified the buffoonery, generating a slapstick intramural contest over which group of far-out right-wingers gets their pick to replace him. Boehner’s contingent of anti-government, corporate-hugging extremists want one of their own, while assorted groupings of even fringier, farther-out packs of mad-dog tea party Republicans want someone who’ll howl at the moon and literally shut down the government.

When Speaker Boehner gave up his position because he couldn’t stand running the show anymore, next in line was Rep. Kevin McCarthy. He started campaigning for the job, but quickly backed off after he let it slip that the House Benghazi hearings were held just to damage Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and really had nothing to do with national security.

For the moment, Rep. Paul Ryan appears to be the most likely pick, except for two problems: One, he doesn’t really want the thankless task of clown-herding, unless he can get all factions of Republicans to a level of consensus (good luck with that!); and two, even though he is an Ayn Rand-worshipping, Koch-hugging, laissez-fairyland ideologue dedicated to killing everything from Social Security to Obamacare, Ryan is just not right-wing enough for the howlers. He’s considering whether to run for the job, but even if he does — and wins — the spectacle will continue.

The amusing irony in Ryan’s predicament is he helped create his own mess! He was chief architect of the 2010 Republican scheme to take over Congress by recruiting and electing the mad dogs who are now biting him on the butt — and turning the U.S. House of Representatives into the House of Ridiculousness. As Rep. Peter King put it: “We look absolutely crazy.”

And Rep. King is right. What’s at work here is the Crazy Caucus. At one level or another, nearly all Republican House members belong, but the caucus is driven by about 40 hyper-crazies who believe that the greatest problems facing our country are Hillary Clinton’s emails, Planned Parenthood, the existence of public services and the “hordes” of Mexicans who sneak into our country so they can vote for Democrats. It’s the job of the House speaker to try “leading” these mad dogs to an occasional bit of sanity. Who really wants to do that — or even thinks it’s possible?

Well, several of the mad dogs themselves say they should be put in charge. Daniel Webster says he’s available (not the smart guy who compiled the dictionary, but a tea party bozo from Florida). Bill Flores, a little-known tea party know-nothing from Texas, says he would unite the House by getting all the members to “spend enough time on our knees praying for each other.” That’s silly, but the idea of keeping lawmakers on their knees is appealing. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, a prince of right-wing pomposity who was elected by the billionaire Koch brothers to be their personal representative in Washington, says he’s ready to lead the House toward a Koch-headed plutocracy.

That’s pathetic. But wait — we have another surprising choice. It’s a little-known fact, but the speaker of our House of Representatives does not actually have to be a member of Congress. So why don’t we choose someone like a kindergarten teacher, a minimum-wage worker, an organic farmer or a circus ringmaster to run the show? Or maybe a group psychologist is what the place really needs.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks at his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington July 9, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (L) laughs as he addresses questions about his bid to replace retiring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) during a news conference after their closed Republican House caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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34 Comments

  1. fortunev October 21, 2015

    What can one say, Jim Hightower is the only sane texass person in the state.

    Reply
    1. angryspittle October 21, 2015

      Yep, ever since Molly departed this mortal coil.

      Reply
      1. Joan October 22, 2015

        I liked Ann Richards too. She knew her way around a word or two.

        Reply
        1. John Murchison October 22, 2015

          Her daughter Cecile did a great job fending off the GOP during the Planned Parenthood investigation.

          Reply
  2. Otto Greif October 21, 2015

    Why don’t Democrats nominate a a kindergarten teacher, a minimum-wage worker, or an organic farmer as their presidential candidate, instead of a sleazy, corrupt, influence peddling, brain damaged old bag?

    Reply
    1. Daniel Jones October 21, 2015

      Now now, this is about the House Unrepresentative.

      How about Joe Biden? He’s already said he won’t be silent, why not put himself forward as a prospective Speaker?

      Reply
      1. Otto Greif October 21, 2015

        Why would we want an idiot to be Speaker?

        Reply
        1. @HawaiianTater October 21, 2015

          I dunno, Otto. Why DO you want an idiot to be Speaker? LOL

          Reply
        2. RED October 22, 2015

          Weird, usually I see you desperately clinging to all things idiotic. It’s like your thing. If there’s a an ignorant stupid hateful bigoted idiotic idea, Otto is usually all for it. Mo Ron!!!

          Reply
        3. Bob Eddy October 22, 2015

          And yet, we already have one!

          Reply
        4. Sand_Cat October 24, 2015

          We don’t. That’s why we don’t want you.

          Reply
    2. angryspittle October 21, 2015

      We could nominate you. I am sure you would be as good of a choice as a bent fork.

      Reply
    3. Independent1 October 21, 2015

      Damaged old bag?? Really, let’s see you identify one idiot representing the Devil’s Party who can even come close to matching this:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCcLW33ZAmA

      Reply
    4. John Murchison October 22, 2015

      How dare you say that about Carly Fiorina!

      Reply
    5. BillP October 22, 2015

      That’s not a nice way to talk about Carly Fiorina!

      Reply
    6. Insinnergy October 22, 2015

      Paid Troll. Ignore.

      Reply
    7. Sand_Cat October 24, 2015

      Which of your favorite Republicans are you pushing here?

      Reply
  3. angryspittle October 21, 2015

    I would support Louie Gohmert or Blake Farenthold. Why not go balls to the wall with the crazy?

    Reply
  4. Dominick Vila October 22, 2015

    Considering the dismal and disruptive congressional performance of the last few years, I nominate Mickey Mouse for Speaker of the House. There is no doubt in my mind that our beloved rodent would do a much better job than what we have all witnessed and endured.

    Reply
    1. John Murchison October 22, 2015

      I wouldn’t do that to Mickey. Donald Duck would be more fitting don’t you think?

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila October 22, 2015

        Just make sure you leave Scooby Doo out, and Spongebob is definitely out of the running. Too nice a guy…

        Reply
        1. John Murchison October 22, 2015

          Spongebob would be suspect anyway…he would be considered foreign born. He does live in a pineapple under the sea after all.

          Reply
          1. Dominick Vila October 22, 2015

            Don’t forget that while we only recognize 16 miles as territorial waters for the rest of the world, we claim 32 miles for ourselves. That means that there is a good chance that Spongebob’s pineapple may have been within Hawaii’s territorial waters. That makes him a natural born citizen without the travails of an extended sojourn in places like Canada.

            Reply
          2. John Murchison October 22, 2015

            We wont convince the birthers with that argument!

            Reply
          3. Bob Eddy October 22, 2015

            But doesn’t the Constitution say they have to live in the continental United States and the birth certificate has to be verified by Donald Trump? And how do we know he isn’t a Muslim or something? And that yellow color – makes him look like a foreigner to me.

            Reply
          4. Dominick Vila October 22, 2015

            🙁

            Reply
          5. Bob Eddy October 22, 2015

            And I think he may be gay.

            Reply
          6. John Murchison October 22, 2015

            Goodness knows we cant have that. What would the neighbors say?

            Reply
      2. Sand_Cat October 24, 2015

        We already have Dopey in multiple incarnations. Enough Disney characters!

        Reply
  5. Bob Eddy October 22, 2015

    Ryan has already said he would take the job if he can always have his own way and wouldn’t have to work too hard. You can’t get more tea bagger than that!

    Reply
    1. Insinnergy October 22, 2015

      That’s pretty much what he said.
      I don’t think he expects a “Yes” though.

      Reply
  6. johninPCFL October 22, 2015

    I’m frankly amazed that David or Charles Koch’s name hasn’t been forwarded by one of their minions in the House. The Kochs already own 40 GOPs in the House, why are they too cowardly to just nominate David or Charles?

    Reply
  7. Stuart October 22, 2015

    Ted Noogies!

    Reply
  8. Sand_Cat October 24, 2015

    Only if he/she brings the strait-jackets and lots of drugs.

    Reply

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