Speakership Circus Was Too Much For Some House Republicans To Stomach

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) casts his vote as the House of Representatives holds its second round of voting for a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washing... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) casts his vote as the House of Representatives holds its second round of voting for a new Speaker of the House at the U.S. Capitol on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) failed in his bid to become Speaker of the House on Tuesday after all Democrats and 20 members of his own party declined to vote for him. The House has been without an elected leader since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from the speakership on October 4 in a move led by a small group of conservative members of his own party. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Two House Republicans who voted against Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) multiple failed bids for the speakership announced their retirements on Wednesday, with one specifically citing the last several weeks and the Republican Party “lying to America” as rationale.

Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), who was vehemently opposed to a Jordan speakership and received a few votes herself from colleagues during House floor roll calls last month, announced in a statement Wednesday she wouldn’t seek reelection, in part to get out of the way of the “next generation of leaders in my district.” Granger is also currently the House GOP appropriations chair and is the first Republican woman to hold that position. But the Texas congresswoman was facing term limits for that role and would’ve needed a waiver to continue, which may have factored into her decision as well.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) was a bit more explicit about his demoralization in his retirement announcement Wednesday, citing the party’s deterioration on display during the speakership race and his colleagues’ broader embrace of election denialism as his reason for gtfo-ing.

“We lost our way,” Buck said. “We have an identity crisis in the Republican Party. If we can’t address the election denier issue and we continue down that path, we won’t have credibility with the American people that we are going to solve problems.”

The finger pointing is a bit rich coming from Buck, a guy who only recently jumped on the fed-up-with-the-big-lie bandwagon and who was part of the group of hardliners who voted to oust ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in the first place. And Buck’s pivot to the appearance of sanity is only a few months old. As he railed against his Freedom Caucus colleagues for their drive to impeach President Biden, enough to earn him a shiny new “moderate” label from some in the media, many had apparently forgotten his past of over-the-top misogyny, extreme homophobia and blatant climate change denialism.

But as Public Notice’s Noah Berlatsky recently said of Buck’s newfound flirtation with reason, Buck is “a bizarre canary in the fascist coal mine — but at this point that’s the only type of canary the GOP has.”

The New York Times reports that Buck and Granger are likely just the first of what will be a wave of Republican retirements now that the dust from their own demolition has settled.

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