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GOP Finally Settles on Abject Lunatic for Speaker
Say hello to Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, your new House speaker.
It’s been fun, in a sense, to watch the Republican party flounder and fight over who will be their next Speaker of the House these past few weeks. We like it when awful people have a hard time! All of that agita, however, may be coming to an end, as it appears the GOP has found just the right blend of psycho to lead (frantically try to wrangle) their caucus (various groups of lunatics) into the future (until they change their mind). So who is this guy? Great question — one that even had to be posed to several members of Congress who voted for him.
The first thing to know about Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson is that he was once the type of guy who wore those small rectangular rimless glasses. He has since had an image consultant or someone manage to get him into a far-more-normal pair of frames, but this fact alone should set off alarm bells in your mind. There are really only two options for a guy like that: either you go into politics or you have a mild-mannered life as the friendly local dentist in a sleepy little town with a dozen open missing persons cases dating back to right around the time you moved there.
This man knows some dark secrets. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
It would be tempting to say that I am being a little harsh in this assessment of both Johnson and guys who wear those glasses. I can’t speak to the latter point — sorry dudes, pencil in a Warby Parker visit maybe — but as for the former, well. Let’s take a look at what Johnson has actually done in his time in office:
He’s an evangelical Christian who has voted for a national abortion ban. He also co-sponsored a bill that called for a 20-week abortion ban.
Proposed a bill that was the national equivalent of Florida’s draconian “Don’t Say Gay” law
Was one of the key architects of the crackpot legal struggle to deny the results of the 2020 election and keep Donald Trump in power
And absolutely worst out of all these things:
He hosts a religious podcast with his wife
Yikes. A podcaster and an election-denying lunatic? Bad news. While he may have the ideological bona fides for the hard right wing of the GOP, he doesn’t necessarily have the leadership experience. Per NBC News:
He has since ascended through the ranks, chairing the conservative Republican Study Committee and holding the position of House Republican conference vice chair. He sits on the Judiciary Committee (and chairs a subcommittee on the Constitution), the Armed Services Committee and the newly created select committee on "Weaponization of the Federal Government."
Mr. Johnson’s hallmark in Congress has been combining his hard-line views with a gentle style. He emerged at a moment when members of the conference were worn down and ready to accept someone who they did not view as an obvious choice. Instead, he passed a lowered bar: They view him as someone sufficiently conservative and who they do not personally despise.
That’s all it took! The GOP had to find the one guy with “small town dentist vibes” and not “psychotic wrestling coach/ Klansman/midwestern dork vibes” and they were in the money. Granted, when your entire party is filled with people whose personalities are more suited to an ARCO gas station at 3 a.m. than the halls of Congress, that’s not a super easy task. But finally, after weeks of searching, the GOP found their man: a guy no one has ever heard of, perfectly primed to shepherd through acts of evil none of us will ever forget.
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