The GOP’s Speaker of the House Debacle

The Next Phase Blog usually stays away from political issues but, darn, it’s hard to avoid commenting on this week’s Speaker of the House debacle. Of course, it’s fundamentally a political event but it also brought out the tongue-in-cheek creativity that so often appears on social media.

Red Wave, 2022 election, speakerThe late-night comedians had some good perspectives. Jon Stewart says, “This is the best season of C-Span ever.” Jimmy Fallon says, “But this is interesting—according to the Constitution, if they don’t have a speaker by tomorrow, the top contenders have to compete in a dance-off.” And Seth Myers concluded, “You guys can’t even have a red wave amongst yourselves.”

The Four Factions

Penalty kick, soccer, speakerMany people have come up with ideas for how the Republicans could succeed in their efforts to elect a Speaker of the House.

Sports ideas predominate, as expected, with references to the football playoffs appearing frequently. What combination of wins and losses would allow the various Republican factions to come together on a candidate they all like? That depends, of course, on whether such a candidate exists.

Political Analyst Jon Ralson used soccer when he Tweeted: “Can’t wait to see this go to penalty kicks tomorrow on the House floor.” To which Chris Bender replied, Don’t like Kevin’s chances if this goes to PKs. Gaetz has been spending a lot of time watching JV girls soccer teams.”

My Suggestions

I have my own suggestions that would resolve the conflicts among the four ideological groups as described by Political Analyst Gabe Guidarini:

  1. Moderates (if such a thing exists)
  2. Conservatarians (Conservatives plus Libertarians)
  3. Mainstream MAGA (an oxymoron if there ever was one)
  4. National Conservatives (not your father’s Conservative)

We could:

  • Survivor, Jeff Probst, fire building contestHave each speaker candidate shoot free throws from the throw line. Best two out of three wins. Nothing but net gets an extra point.
    (This is like penalty kicks but takes up less room.)
  • Bring in Jeff Probst from @SurvivorCBS to moderate a contest in which speaker candidates build a fire. The first fire strong enough to break the string and raise a flag wins.
    (To be conducted outside the Capitol for best results.)
  • Try the ever-popular Rock-Paper-Scissors until a candidate wins.
  • Send the candidates into the Chopped Kitchen to create a three-course meal from a basket of ingredients. The best chef takes the gavel.

I could go on but I don’t watch many reality TV shows. Twitter and Facebook are full of them, though.

A Sad State of Affairs

Republican, clown show, speaker

Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

The jokes and suggestions are crowding social media, followed only by commentary on what a sad state of affairs this is. Even Fox News’s Sean Hannity called it a “clown show.” Pundits, editors, and news anchors all over the country and overseas are pondering how America could have sunk so low.

But really, folks, who can be surprised?

This is what happens when you elect people to run the government who don’t believe the government should run. The disarray, disunion, and dissention are not an unfortunate side-effect; they’re the point. Usually, however, the Republicans elect a speaker before they begin obstructing, dismantling, and shutting down the United States government.

This year, they started early.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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