Take four: Can Mike Johnson get 217?

1 month ago 37

It’s not implicit yet. Three lawmakers voted “present” during a roll-call canvass of the conference, and 22 GOP lawmakers were absent, truthful it’s imaginable determination mightiness beryllium a decisive fistful of “Never Mikes” hiding retired there.

But the deficiency of vocal absorption and surfeit of genuine enthusiasm that was aired past nighttime connected opposing sides of the House GOP marked a important displacement aft 3 weeks of chaos.

“Mike is … a straightforward person who tin unite america arsenic Republicans!” wrote Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), 1 of a fistful of centrists who engaged successful hard-line tactics arsenic the hunt played out.

Johnson is “the close feline astatine the close time,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a blimpish firebrand who pushed hard successful the different direction, per CBS. “He’s got his pulse, I deliberation connected wherever the American radical are.”

Said Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who voted to region Kevin McCarthy arsenic talker past helped artifact Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) from replacing him, past nighttime on CNN: “I deliberation helium gets it tomorrow.”

Johnson wasn’t anyone’s archetypal prime — acold from it. On the archetypal ballot Tuesday morning, helium garnered lone 34 votes.

But it turns retired Johnson doesn’t person astir arsenic galore enemies arsenic immoderate of his higher-profile colleagues. And, overmuch to his benefit, Republicans decided — aft the sudden, Donald Trump-assisted termination of Majority Whip Tom Emmer’s talker candidacy yesterday — that they’re sick and bushed of looking similar full fools.

“Democracy is messy sometimes, but … this Republican bulk is united,” Johnson asserted conscionable earlier 11 p.m., surrounded by rowdy and relieved colleagues. Republicans would beryllium “ready to govern,” helium promised, moving the House “like a well-oiled machine.”

Barring a astonishment rebellion, Johnson’s ascension saves the House GOP from a parade of unorthodox and borderline unworkable alternatives.

Should helium unafraid the needed votes Wednesday astatine an expected noon level vote, retired volition spell specified ideas arsenic empowering a caretaker talker pro tempore, forging a bipartisan governing conjugation with Democrats, oregon — successful 1 fanciful brainstorm bandied astir yesterday evening, per NBC — a power-sharing statement betwixt McCarthy and Jordan.

Those scenarios volition evaporate should Johnson triumph the gavel. What volition capable that void are scads of questions astir who Johnson is and however helium plans to tally the House.

Meet the nominee

First elected to the House successful 2016, alongside Trump, the 51-year-old Shreveport autochthonal came into elective authorities aft 2 decades arsenic a law litigator for assorted right-wing causes. In the House, Johnson rapidly immersed himself successful blimpish argumentation circles, winning the chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee successful his 2nd term, which successful crook served arsenic a springboard to his existent presumption arsenic league vice chair.

His strengths: As a erstwhile RSC seat and existent seat of a Judiciary subcommittee, Johnson has a estimation arsenic a bookish wonk with the benignant of argumentation instauration that hasn’t been seen successful a imaginable GOP talker since Paul Ryan relinquished the gavel.

His deficiency of outward ambition means helium has fewer avowed enemies wrong the GOP. While Jordan, Emmer and Majority Whip Steve Scalise had each amassed a career’s worthy of interior enemies, determination doesn’t look to beryllium anyone who hates Johnson capable to sabotage his rise.

And his beardown relationships with the hard close could springiness him a freer manus to govern than McCarthy ever got. (Note that a governing roadmap helium circulated Monday floats passing a caller continuing resolution, precisely the benignant of measure that got McCarthy canned.)

His weaknesses: In presumption of House service, Johnson would beryllium the slightest experienced talker elected successful 140 years. Not lone is helium successful conscionable his 4th term, helium has ne'er served successful a elder enactment presumption oregon arsenic a afloat committee seat — meaning helium hasn’t had a existent front-row spot to power, fto unsocial immoderate meaningful relationships with apical leaders similar Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer oregon President Joe Biden.

As speaker, Johnson would beryllium instantly tasked with hiring a overmuch larger staff, and he’d beryllium thrust to the helm of a monolithic nationalist fundraising apparatus. In his abbreviated House career, helium has been decent but not overwhelming connected the currency beforehand — raising an average of astir $1.3 cardinal per rhythm for his caller campaigns, positive a small much for his modest enactment PAC. If elected, he’ll beryllium tasked with raising hundreds of times that amount.

His baggage: Johnson has a contentious past that is going to get picked isolated successful large item successful the coming days should helium negociate to adjacent the deal. One occurrence that is already moving beforehand and halfway is the pivotal relation helium played successful the GOP effort to overturn the 2020 statesmanlike predetermination results.

Drawing connected his acquisition successful law law, Johnson was the pb organizer of an amicus brief, yet signed by 125 different House Republicans, backing the Texas-led suit asking the Supreme Court to intervene successful the ballot counting successful cardinal plaything states Biden won. (The tribunal declined to perceive the case.)

Johnson was pressed connected the little Tuesday nighttime — and was promptly and angrily shouted down by different Republicans. “Next question,” Johnson said to ABC News’ Rachel Scott.

And past determination are his views connected hot-button societal issues specified arsenic abortion, civilian rights, escaped code and much — topics wherever helium has spent decades speaking and litigating — oregon his approaches connected overseas policy, national spending and different governing flashpoints he’ll rapidly person to commencement managing.

Asked astir conscionable 1 facet of that — assistance to Israel — Johnson declined to engage. “We’re not doing argumentation tonight,” helium said.

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