McMorris Rodgers Needs to Share Blame
For the impending government shutdown
Former speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s continuing resolution (over which he lost his speakership) expires this coming Friday. MAGA Mike Johnson, the current Speaker, has yet to pass a single budget bill. Last Thursday, apparently in no hurry, MAGA Mike adjourned the House of Representatives until this morning. On Friday, Veterans’ Day, he gave the “afternoon keynote address” at the Worldwide Freedom Initiative Meeting in Paris at 15:15 Paris time. (To be fair, we don’t know if he spoke in person or via Zoom.) Apparently, being seen and speaking at an international far right conference with folks like David Bossie, Devin Nunes, Nigel Farage, Kristi Noem, and Balázs Orbán is more important to Mr. Johnson than avoiding a government shutdown that would likely stretch beyond Thanksgiving.
We know something of MAGA Mike’s background and political convictions: his ultraconservative views on abortion and gay marriage; his “covenant marriage”; his anti-science young-earth creationist beliefs; and his lawyerly efforts to overturn the 2020 election, to point out just a few.
Elected from a painfully conservative Louisiana Congressional District, Mike Johnson isn’t shy about any of this (even though much of it came to light to most Americans only after he was made Speaker by unanimous vote of House Republicans):
When recently questioned on Fox News by host Sean Hannity, Johnson, a Trump supporter and 2020 election denier, responded, “Someone asked me today in the media, ‘People are curious, what does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?’ I said, ‘Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.”
Given that revelation my Mr. Johnson, it should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the expressed belief system and educational background of U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (CD5, eastern Washington) that it was McMorris Rodgers who gave the laudatory nomination speech for MAGA Mike in the closed-door Republican Caucus.
Apart from her University of Washington “executive” MBA, McMorris Rodgers’ entire education was received in Fundamentalist Christian institutions. (Read CMR. Who is She Really?) Like MAGA Mike, she is a young-earth creationist: “The account that I believe is the one in the Bible that God created the world in seven days.” Her enthusiastic nomination speech suggests that her views are little different from his. The only difference is that she is less “out” than he is. Judging by the stammering that preceded her “world in seven days” statement made at the Bing, McMorris Rodgers’ understands that openly advertising views like his might not fly so well among many of the voters in eastern Washington.
…McMorris Rodgers recalled the Old Testament story of David, who slew the giant Goliath after he, too, was underestimated.
“In the story of King David, we are reminded that man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” she said. “Mike Johnson has the heart and the mind to bring hope and healing, to secure our border, keep our families safe, and build a brighter future by tackling our sky-high debt and broken budget process.”
Not unlike David, who ascended to the throne after the previous king of Israel and his heir apparent fell in battle, Johnson only became speaker after McCarthy and his first proposed successor were done in by hard-right lawmakers who opposed any collaboration with Democrats.
Since Johnson is now third in line for the presidency one surely hopes that the line about the previous king and his heir falling in battle is not prophetic.
With no sense of irony, McMorris Rodgers:
Point[ed] to the words “in God we trust” that are engraved above the House rostrum where the speaker stands, she told her fellow Republicans, “The first job of a leader is to inspire trust. People we serve are counting on it.
“May today be the day that we vote unanimously for a speaker who will lead us to rebuild trust,” the Spokane Republican added, “first in God and each other, and ultimately with the people of this greatest experiment in self-governance the world has ever known, the United States of America.”
Surely McMorris Rodgers (and MAGA Mike) would like us to believe (and may themselves believe) that “In God we trust” has been the official motto of the United States since the founding. That would fit the pseudo-historical founding narrative to which MAGA Mike subscribes—that the U.S. was founded as an exclusively Christian nation and should return to its Christian roots (as defined by the like of Mr. Johnson).
McMorris Rodgers might be surprised to learn that “In God we trust” was adopted as the official motto of the U.S. only in 1956 at the height of the Cold War. It replaced E pluribus unum ("Out of many, one”). E pluribus unum was the traditional motto of the United States since it was adopted as part of the Great Seal by the U.S. Congress (under the Articles of Confederation) in 1782. According to some, “In God we trust” was adopted during the Cold War to contrast the U.S. with officially atheist communist Russia. It is certainly not indicative of a Christian founding. (Similarly, the “under God” line in the Pledge of Allegiance was added by an act of Congress only in 1954.)
If Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, acclaimed by McMorris Rodgers as someone in whom we should all feel comfortable placing our trust, causes a government shutdown this coming Friday with all his dawdling and ineptitude (or out of anti-government conviction), we should all remember that we have “our own” U.S. Representative to help him shoulder the blame.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. One might wonder why McMorris Rodgers, with nearly two decades in the House of Representatives without accomplishing much of anything, enthusiastically nominated an obscure three and a half term Christian right wing ideologue as Speaker. Isn’t she better qualified than he after nearly twenty years in the House? Or does she value the fact that Johnson comes from such an electorally secure district that he can get away with pushing their mutual doctrine without fear of reprisal?
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