Next Up?

Timestamp: Sunday morning.

I don’t know who the next speaker of the House will be but if past is prologue don’t hold your breath looking for another superstar like Nancy Pelosi. With the Republicans in control, I thought we’d take a little stroll down memory lane.

Newt Gingrich was the speaker who was supposed to bring the Republicans back and save America. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. Today Gingrich – the self-proclaimed noted historian – struggles for relevance, other than with the extreme right wing that refuses to accept reality. Gingrich’s great achievements were shutting down the government because he was offended about which door he was told to use when exiting Air Force One and delivering the House majority back to the Democrats. (One out of two was actually good.)

With much drama next came Dennis Hastert who was basically an incompletely vetted compromise. His major achievement was the internal Hastert Rule which today’s Republicans only respect when it fits their agenda and has made Congress much less functional. Hastert capped his “career” by serving prison time for sexually molesting young boys. (Is that the reason Jim Jordan shielded a person who molested his wrestlers? Was it hero worship?)

John Boehner – the only survivor from Newt’s leadership team – became speaker. His love of merlot became a running joke during his reign. My lasting memory of him was his singing Zippity Doo Dah before and after he announced his stepping down. The Tea Party had already made running the Republican caucus an impossibility. Last I knew Boehner had become a marijuana lobbyist.

Next up was the right wing’s “policy guru” Paul Ryan. In reality Ryan was arithmetically challenged. His budget plans were not only based on unrealistic projections, the numbers simply didn’t add up. My lasting memory of him is the picture of him (which he thought was flattering and the rest of us thought portrayed him as an idiot) with his backward baseball hat working out in the House Gym. Ryan, like Boehner, left the post after finding it impossible to herd the caucus into doing any governing.

Up until the current fiasco we had Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the surviving Young Gun. At one point the Republican portrayed Ryan, McCarthy and Eric Cantor as their future. (Cantor never made it to the speakership because he got knocked off in a Republican primary – while serving as House Majority Leader – by a Tea Party novice who he didn’t take seriously.) Like Boehner and Ryan, McCarthy’s vote whipping and counting machine didn’t exactly run smooth. Let’s just leave it at Kevin is far from a genius politically or otherwise.

Well, that brings us to today; or this week anyway. Again, I don’t know who the next speaker will be. I hope we will have an answer to that question before this week is out but I wouldn’t bet the farm on that either. This much I know: if you are waiting for a superstar, you will be disappointed.

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