It looks like the fix is in for Jim Jordan to be the next Republican tarred and feathered Speaker of the House. But hey, the vote’s not until next week. Still time for mischief.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2023, eight Republicans voted with all the Democrats to boot Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who lost 216-210. His crime? He had worked a bipartisan deal to keep the government open – until Nov. 17. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida led the move to oust McCarthy.
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett of Knoxville was one of the eight. He seemed to have a different reason on each of his TV interviews. The statement he sent to us on the motion to vacate the chair said,
“This was a tough decision. I voted for McCarthy for Speaker of the House back in January and I consider him a friend. However, I had to vote for what I think is best for the American people. We need leadership that will take real action to address our country’s serious financial crisis and steer us in a better direction, and we shouldn’t settle for anything less than that.”
The next day, blogger Heather Cox Richardson was ruthless:
Yesterday, eight extremist members of the Republican congressional conference demonstrated that they could stop their party, and the government, from functioning. Indeed, that’s about all those members have ever managed to do. Political scientist Lindsey Cormack noted on social media that Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) have managed only to name a single facility each; Representatives Ken Buck (R-CO), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Eli Crane (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Matt Rosendale (R-MT) have each sponsored no successful bills; and Bob Good (R-VA) has sent one thing to the president, who vetoed it.
And former Speaker Newt Gingrich called Gaetz “an anti-Republican who has become actively destructive to the conservative movement.” He said Gaetz should be expelled from the Republican conference.
What is it about Republicans and wrestling?
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs was a professional wrestler before entering politics and winning the Republican primary by 23 votes over Brad Anders and Bob Thomas in 2018. Now he wants to be governor.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University from 1987-95. Richard Strauss M.D. was the team physician from 1978-96. In 2019, OSU published its annual campus safety report, which reflected that Strauss committed 1,430 instances of fondling and 47 rapes during his tenure.
Jordan has consistently denied knowledge of the abuse. A statement from his communications director said: “Congressman Jordan never saw or heard of any abuse, and if he had he would have dealt with it.”
Strauss died by suicide in 2005 and, in 2020, OSU agreed to pay $40.9 million in restitution to victims. Other lawsuits are pending.
Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert was the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in history (1999-2007). From 1965 to 1981, Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach. He resigned from the House and became a lobbyist when Democrats took control in 2007.
In 2016, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for financial offenses related to the sexual abuse of teenage boys. At a sentencing hearing, Hastert admitted that he had sexually abused boys whom he had coached. Referring to Hastert as a “serial child molester,” a federal judge imposed a sentence of 15 months in prison, two years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Hastert was imprisoned in 2016 and was released 13 months later. He became the highest-ranking elected official in U.S. history to serve a prison sentence.
Well, that’s a record that won’t last long.
Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.