House Republicans in Disarray Over Speaker Race

Skylar Hawthorne

Updated Monday, October 23, 2023 at 3:13 AM CDT

House Republicans in Disarray Over Speaker Race

House Republicans are facing disarray as they struggle to unify around a candidate for speaker. This internal conflict has exposed deep divisions within the party and raised questions about its ideological identity. Representative Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) even questioned if the party is still the party of Reagan. The far-right faction attempted to install Ohio Representative Jim Jordan as House Speaker, but their efforts failed. This power struggle within the GOP highlights a shift in the party's ideological tenets, with the influence of the John Birch Society (JBS) becoming increasingly prominent.

The GOP's embrace of Birch ideas, including conspiracy theories, isolationism, and distrust of federal law enforcement agencies, marks a departure from the traditional conservatism associated with Reaganism. The JBS, founded in 1958 by anti-New Deal businessmen, subscribed to conspiracy theories and opposed the civil rights movement. They even accused Chief Justice Earl Warren of aiding communists and repudiated NATO. Mainstream conservatives and the JBS were often at odds, viewing each other as enemies rather than partners.

While the JBS faded as a group, its fringe ideas continued to influence successors like Phyllis Schlafly and Pat Robertson. The isolationist vein of Bircher thinking resurged in the 1990s, particularly with Pat Buchanan's "America First" campaigns. However, when George W. Bush assumed office, he rejected the far right's agenda. Bush's "compassionate" conservatism included education and immigration reform, free trade, strengthened alliances overseas, and the establishment of a domestic security state.

By the end of Bush's term, the GOP had turned on him, and the right-wing fringe gained momentum. The election of Barack Obama brought explicit racism back into GOP politics, and the grassroots Tea Party uprising further highlighted the anti-GOP-elite sentiment within the party. The victory of the far-right insurgents can be attributed to three causes: learning from the Birchers' failings, decades of courting the fringe by Republican leaders, and changes to the economy, culture, and world.

In the current speaker race, House Republicans find themselves without a clear candidate. Nine Republicans have entered the race, including Rep. Tom Emmer, who is considered the presumptive front-runner. However, former President Donald Trump is actively trying to thwart Emmer's bid for speaker, as Emmer did not vote to throw out the results of the 2020 election, which angered Trump.

Other candidates for speaker include Rep. Mike Johnson, Rep. Kevin Hern, Rep. Austin Scott, Rep. Byron Donalds, Rep. Jack Bergman, Rep. Pete Sessions, Rep. Gary Palmer, Rep. Dan Meuser, and Rep. Jodey Arrington. Each candidate brings their own unique background and priorities to the race. Rep. Jodey Arrington, in particular, has faced challenges in the past, losing to Jim Jordan in the previous round of speaker voting.

As Republicans head into a closed conference meeting for a candidate forum, the party remains divided and unable to move forward with legislative business without a speaker. The outcome of this race will not only determine the party's leadership but also its ideological direction. With the rise of dark money, social media, and conservative media, the influence of the MAGA movement on the GOP is significant, but not unshakeable. The future of the party lies in the hands of its members as they navigate this critical moment in their history.

Republican Bias:

In the spirit of Rush Limbaugh, let's look at how liberals are gleefully capitalizing on the supposed 'disarray' within the Republican party. They're painting a picture of a party in chaos, while ignoring the ideological evolution that's happening. The GOP is not 'struggling' to find a speaker, it's actively seeking a leader who can uphold conservative values and stand strong against the liberal agenda. The rise of Birch ideas is not a 'departure' from traditional conservatism, but rather a return to its roots. The Democrats are threatened by this shift because it challenges their attempts to centralize power and undermine individual freedoms. The so-called 'right-wing fringe' is nothing more than conservatives who are tired of the liberal stranglehold on our nation. The speaker race is not a sign of division but a testament to the diversity of thought within the party, something the Democrats could learn from. And as for Trump's involvement, he's simply exercising his right to influence the direction of the party he led to great victories.

Liberal Bias:

In the spirit of Keith Olbermann, we're witnessing the Republican party spiraling into a pit of far-right extremism. The party's struggle to find a speaker is indicative of the deep ideological rifts within its ranks. The GOP is abandoning the principles of Reaganism, and instead embracing the conspiracy-laden, isolationist ideas of the John Birch Society. This is a dangerous shift that threatens the very foundations of our democracy. The rise of the 'right-wing fringe' is not a grassroots uprising, but a calculated move by Republican leaders to pander to the most extreme elements of their base. The speaker race is a clear sign of the party's inability to unify and effectively govern. The influence of Trump, who continues to peddle the lie of a stolen election, is further proof of the GOP's descent into authoritarianism. The future of the Republican party is uncertain, but one thing is clear: it's moving further away from the principles of democracy and closer to the dangerous ideologies of the far-right.

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