“The job of the Speaker of the House is not to preside over regular order. The Speaker’s job is to expedite the will of the majority party, to keep the trains running on time and to otherwise protect the prerogatives and the power of the House of Representatives.”
John Feehery is of the sort whose conservative credentials should not be dismissed lightly, though in the contemporary GOP that would put the Republican strategist and former aide to then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL14) squarely within the establishment wing of the Party. And he offers up a fine recollection for The Hill about, “The myth of regular order”.
When Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) became Speaker, he too promised regular order. Indeed, he famously allowed the House to work its will early on in his tenure, in 2011, to have the Rules Committee allow members to offer countless amendments to spending bills, to give his members more access to the levers of power.
But the conflict between the will of the majority of the House and the majority of his majority became untenable. A clear majority — including the Speaker — wanted action on a comprehensive immigration bill, but his Republican Conference did not. A clear majority wanted to lift the budget caps, but a majority of his majority did not. A clear majority in the House did not want the government to shut down, but his conference clearly thought that shutting it down was a necessary exercise in a battle of wills with President Obama.
We might take a moment for his generosity, of course, on that last, which might well have been an exercise in cynically letting the backbenchers charge the enemy guns because they’re too stupid not to, and this isn’t the day to force a no-confidence vote.
In other news, it almost isn’t worth mentioning that Dick Morris is backing upstart Jason Chaffetz for Speaker, but he wrote it for The Hill, so there it is in the sidebar, and, you know, for some reason it just seems apropos the moment. That is to say, Dick fucking Morris has spouted his two bits, and we can rest assured that the chaos is real.
No, really. Dick Morris? How does he get work? Somebody must owe him somethin’ fierce.
Image note: U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R/UT-03), left, and Daniel Webster (R/FL-10). in detail of frame from msnbc, 6 October 2015.
Feehery, John. “The myth of regular order”. The Hill. 5 October 2015.
Kornacki, Steve. “Conservatives disrupt GOP speaker selection”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 6 October 2015.
Morris, Dick. “Chaffetz for Speaker”. The Hill. 6 October 2015.