The Fight Over the Speaker of the House

W.J. Astore

If only Progressive Democrats had fought at all when they had the chance in 2021

There is no Left in America, not in Congress, at least. Whenever the so-called Left, or Progressives, or the Squad have an opportunity to drive policy changes, they cave to the corporate centrists within the Democratic Party. Which is why I laugh, however ruefully, when Republicans warn about the “radical left” and how powerful it allegedly is in America. What “radical left”?

Two years ago, before Nancy Pelosi was yet again elected Speaker of the House, so called Progressives (perhaps we should call them PINOs, or progressives in name only) had a rare opportunity to drive change by withholding their votes for Pelosi as Speaker, just as Republicans are doing now for Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. Like today’s Republicans, the PINOs could have extracted concessions from Pelosi, including a House vote on Medicare for all, for a $15 federal minimum wage, and similar policies the PINOs claim are at the top of their agenda. They chose to do nothing. They got no concessions. They drove no change. And thus the centrist/corporate Democrats continue to ride roughshod over them.

Remember this, Democrats? Force the vote was a rare opportunity to drive change, but the PINOs caved to Pelosi and got nothing in return

Which is why I salute the Republicans who are holding up McCarthy’s appointment as Speaker. They have convictions and are willing to fight for them. They are extracting concessions from McCarthy. Meanwhile, all the PINOs are doing is posing for selfies while poking fun at alleged Republican disorder.

No, you PINOs. This is what true democracy looks like. It’s messy. It involves in-fighting. You have to be willing to get bloodied, at least figuratively speaking. And if you’re unwilling to fight, to “bring the ruckus” to your own party, as AOC claimed she wanted to do, party rulers like Pelosi and current House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries will diss, dominate, and demote you, as they did and do. 

Let’s take a quick look at the new House Minority Leader.  CNN praised Jeffries as “the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress.” That’s truly what matters, right? Diversity. More Black faces in high places. Or more women at the top. Or more LGBTQ+ and so on.

But what if “diversity” results in no meaningful policy changes? What if diversity, as my wife puts it, is mainly an optical illusion?

Jeffries, as Sabby Sabs of RBN (the Revolutionary Blackout Network) notes here, is just another corporate Democrat who’s especially skilled at fundraising for the Party. He’s against Medicare for all, he despises the Squad, he’s a fervid supporter of Israel (the “sixth borough of New York City,” he quipped), and his resume includes Georgetown University and (of course) a law degree.

Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Leader

Can we expect progressive policies from Jeffries? Is he a radical leftist? Of course not! He’s a younger version of Pelosi, a corporate shill who’s sold as a change agent because he’s the first Black party leader in Congress, just as Pelosi was praised for the “change” she represented as the first Madam Speaker.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s generally a good thing when more women, more BIPOC, and other traditionally underrepresented groups attain positions of power. But if their ideas, policies, commitments, and practices are basically the same as those old white fat tomcats who preceded them, where’s the progress? Where’s the change?

In so many ways, today’s Democrats are yesterday’s Republicans. They are pro-war, pro-military, pro-business, and thoroughly corporate. Their alleged diversity is mostly optical. Meanwhile, the Republicans, whatever else they may be, are showing true diversity of views, as manifested by Kevin McCarthy’s messy fight for votes from his own party.

All those corporate Democrats and PINOs in Congress should take a very long look in a truth-telling mirror before crowing about how dysfunctional the Republicans allegedly are. If dysfunction means fighting for change that’s consistent with your principles and campaign promises, the Democrats could truly use some of that “dysfunction.” So too could America.

13 thoughts on “The Fight Over the Speaker of the House

  1. Yes, yes, YES!! And Thank you Bill! I truly hope this gets printed in lots of other places (CN, Common Dreams etc, are you reading this?). Everyone should read this, especially progressives. I’m forwarding it to everyone I know.


  2. Fight over the Speaker; Fight with Russia over Ukraine!
    Whoever is elected Speaker will still be 100% supportive Publicly, no matter what his internal reasoning tells him, escalating the US WAR with Russia.

    ‘Ukraine on ‘NATO mission’ – defense minister’
    Aleksey Reznikov has argued that Kiev is shedding blood for the military bloc and expects weapons in return

    That’s just what Ollie North of Iran-Contra fame said on Hannity a while ago. I provided a link News Year’s Eve here, and on substack, if anyone wanted to see for themselves Ollie North saying, “We have to support Ukraine. They’re shedding their Blood with OUR Bullets.”

    The RT Heaser continues, just telling it like it is;
    Kiev is shedding blood to carry out the mission NATO set for itself and expects the “civilized West” to provide weapons and ammunition in return, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has said in an interview for a domestic TV channel.

    Appearing on the 1+1 network’s TSN channel on Thursday evening, Reznikov pointed out that at the Madrid summit last summer, NATO declared Russia the greatest threat to the US-led bloc.  

    “Today, Ukraine is addressing that threat. We’re carrying out NATO’s mission today, without shedding their blood. We shed our blood, so we expect them to provide weapons,” he said.

    Reznikov also claimed that his NATO colleagues have told him, both in conversations and via text messages, that Ukraine is the “shield of civilization” and “defending the entire civilized world, the entire West.”

    That will go right down to the last Ukrainian having Blood to shed for the US/NATO victory over Russia!


    1. I don’t understand why RT would delete this comment on “Ukraine on ‘NATO mission’ – defense minister
      Aleksey Reznikov has argued that Kiev is shedding blood for the military bloc and expects weapons in return.”

      Anyone here willing to speculate?

      The hypocrisy & duplicity is Sickening and Maddening at the same Time!

      Former German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande, were both signatories to Minsk Agreement on the Steps to Implement Peace, along with Russia and Ukraine supported by a United Nations Resolution. There can be no doubt the US was the behind the scenes Power in those Agreements, as it’s the Power Ukraine Today.

      It’s in the Public Domain, both Merkel & Holland recently admitted Minsk was only a Mask! It was to give NATO Trainers Time to get Ukraine ARMED and Trained for the WAR the US had planned with Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Military Warsaw Pace facing NATO in 1991.

      Long before the Soviet collapse, The Kansas City Times published these brief excerpts September 13, 1976, with a followup on ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976, with so much more left out;

      “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November TO DO GOD’S BIDDING: To tell the World, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered […] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. “The gold dome is the symbol of BABYLON,” he said.” […] He wanted to bring to the Public’s attention an “idea being put out subtly and deceptively” by the government that we have to get prepared for a War with Russia.”

      That 1976 FUTURE is NOW with the Revelation of the details GENERALLY unfolding in the spirit of the letter.
      The World is waking up to see Americans may hasten “its days are numbered” part of the 1976 Vision, and waits with bated breath.

      With the benefit of 45 years hindsight, the last 8 years of intensified FBI, Military, Intelligence and Think Tank “experts” on TV constantly, unanimously, demonizing Putin and Russia, with no dissent allowed, the People have been prepared.

      Few will recognize “this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered” as the 1st 2 parts of the 3 part Writing on the Wall from Daniel 5 during the CAPTIVITY of BABYLON some 2800 years ago in the Bible History record.


  3. “After 15 rounds of voting held over five days, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has been elected speaker of the US House of Representatives.” — CNN International (January 7, 2023 

    Now let us see if the House under Republican mismanagement will cut off any further funding for the corrupt neo-Nazi regime in Kiev and get the United States the hell away from that sordid Eastern European mess.

    Or, as with every Republicrat Congress, nothing whatsoever will change for the better. . . .


    1. Oh for crying out loud . .

      “McCarthy pledges House will address “the rise of the Chinese communist party” — CNN International

      A little late for that, since the Chinese Communist Part began its rise to power in 1949. I realize it takes backward looking Republicans awhile to catch up with current events, but this historical amnesia really takes the proverbial cake.

      I get it, though. The Democrats have failed to subdue the Russian Closet Monster, so now the Republicans swill switch to challenging the Chinese Closet Monster. I wonder who will stock the shelves at Wal-Mart, and with what . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Time to Get Real About Ukraine’

        The war in Ukraine remains the most important story in the world today.
        Don’t believe the incessant U.S. government and media propaganda about Ukraine. Ukraine is not winning the war; they are losing badly.

        But wait, hasn’t the news been talking up Ukrainian gains in recent months, while Russia is retreating and being badly beaten? That’s the mainstream, pro-Ukrainian narrative. Here’s the reality:
        Most of the Ukrainian gains were against lightly defended positions that the Russians quickly abandoned because they were not worth fighting to defend.

        Those Russian troops (really Donbas militias) were ordered to retreat to fortified Russian lines while Ukrainian forces rushing to fill the void were slaughtered by Russian artillery bombardments.

        Most people think of war in terms of territory. If you lose territory, it must mean you’re losing the war. But it’s not always that simple.
        The Russians will willingly cede territory in order to fight again at a later time under more favourable circumstances. They’ll simply retake it when the terms favour them. They’re not primarily concerned about the territory per se. The primary Russian objective is to grind down and destroy the Ukrainian armed forces.

        What will be THE END result when the Russians and Americans have exactly the same goal and sticking with it, to grind each other down?


  4. I’ve read Niall Ferguson as a supporter of the US/NATO position since the WAR began, but he’s much more objective, more or less neutral and nuanced in this article, ‘All Is Not Quiet on the Eastern Front’

    2022 was the year in which war made a comeback. But Cold War II could become World War III in 2023 — with China as the arsenal of autocracy.

    War is hell on earth — and if you doubt it, visit Ukraine or watch Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Netflix’s gut-wrenching new adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic antiwar novel of 1929.

    Even a small war is hellish for those caught up in it, of course. But a world war is the worst thing we humans have ever done to one another. In a memorable essay published last month, Henry Kissinger reflected on “How to Avoid Another World War.” In 1914, “The nations of Europe, insufficiently familiar with how technology had enhanced their respective military forces, proceeded to inflict unprecedented devastation on one another.” Then, after two years of industrialized slaughter, “the principal combatants in the West (Britain, France and Germany) began to explore prospects for ending the carnage.” Even with US intermediation, the effort failed.

    Kissinger posed an important question: “Does the world today find itself at a comparable turning point [like the opportunity for peace in 1916] in Ukraine as winter imposes a pause on large-scale military operations there?” This time last year, I predicted that Russia would invade Ukraine. The question one year later is whether there is a way to end this war, or whether it is destined to grow into something much larger.

    As Kissinger rightly points out, two nuclear-armed powers are currently contesting the fate of Ukraine. One side, Russia, is directly engaged in conventional warfare. However, the US and its allies are fighting indirectly by providing Ukraine with what Alex Karp, chief executive of Palantir Technologies Inc., calls “the power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems.” These are now so potent, he recently told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, that they “equate to having tactical nuclear weapons against an adversary with only conventional ones.” Take a moment to ponder the implications of that……………………………………


  5. Now that we have a “functioning” House of Representatives, one can only wonder when the Impeachment of President Biden will kick off.

    That should go very well with a resurgent COVID on top of RSV and Flu, food, fuel, and energy shortages, spiraling crime rates, a surging inflation, a deepening recession, and of course, Cold War II in Ukraine and beyond. About the only thing missing would be another 9/11 event; which i am sure could be arranged.

    In sum, and as Cipher put it to Nero: “Buckle your seatbelt Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye!”


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