Remember their names.
On Tuesday, 11 of California’s 12 GOP House members put tribal loyalty above the country’s best interest and heedlessly cast their votes to make Jim Jordan — election denier, Jan. 6 instigator, political pyromaniac — the next House speaker.
Remember their names — especially the ones who are running next year in some of the country’s most competitive reelection contests: John Duarte. Mike Garcia. Young Kim. Michelle Steel. David Valadao.
Each had a chance to stand up for what is honest and right. Each failed to do so.
Jordan lost the first round of voting on Tuesday, thus sparing the nation, in this time of war abroad and strife at home, the calamity that could ensue if the gavel falls into his weaselly grasp.
For now, anyway. Another vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
Memories of Jan. 6, 2021, the most grievous attack on our democracy since the Civil War, may have faded in the past many months. It’s easy with that passage of time and the fog of partisan conflict to lose moral clarity. So here’s a refresher: Jordan not only condoned President Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and reject its legitimate outcome but actively plotted with the pouty president to do so.
The result was the deadly assault on Congress and first attempted coup in the nation’s history.
And the reward for Jordan’s treachery is to elevate him to the speakership?
Duarte, Garcia and the rest must think so, perversely enough.
There are plenty of good reasons to oppose Jordan’s bid.
He faces credible allegations he ignored the sexual abuse of college athletes while working as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University. (When New York Rep. Elise Stefanik referred in her nominating speech to Jordan’s “strategic, scrappy” leadership “on the wrestling mat” there were audible gasps inside the House chamber.)
His legislative record is not only barren — in 16 years in Congress, he has never had a bill signed into law — it’s replete with acts of political sabotage.
That’s not some partisan attack.
John A. Boehner, a former Republican House speaker, called his fellow Ohioan a “legislative terrorist” and said he had never seen “a guy who spent more time tearing things apart — never building anything, never putting anything together.”
But setting aside those glaring defects, what is singularly, unequivocally disqualifying is Jordan’s attempts, at Trump’s beckoning, to subvert an election that even Trump officials called the most secure in American history. All the talk of voter fraud, ballot-stuffing and other alleged subterfuge — which Jordan has widely promoted — is pure bunk.
Anyone arrogant enough to substitute his preference for the expressed will of voters and reckless enough to promote such blatant lies should come nowhere close to the power of the speakership.
Just imagine: If Jordan prevails and lasts long enough in the position, a dubious proposition given Republicans’ penchant for political cannibalism, he would preside over certification of the 2024 election. That would allow for all kinds of tampering and mischief.
Instead of a one-off, Jan. 6 might just be a bad taste of things to come, with the peaceful transfer of power — the foundation of our election system and an exemplar to the world — becoming just another artifact of a political time gone by.
Republicans can do right Wednesday by snuffing Jordan’s bid for speaker, with help from California’s GOP delegation. But that seems highly improbable.
Apart from Kim, Steel and others mentioned above, the California GOP lawmakers who supported Jordan included Reps. Ken Calvert, Darrell Issa, Kevin Kiley, Tom McClintock, Jay Obernolte and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Doug LaMalfa, who voted for McCarthy in protest of his removal two weeks ago, said he will back Jordan on Wednesday’s second ballot.
It’s unlikely that McCarthy — should he seek reelection in 2024 — Issa, LaMalfa, McClintock or Obernolte will be defeated. Each represents a reliably Republican district.
Calvert and Kiley face contests that are at least somewhat competitive. The five representing Central Valley and Southern California districts that Biden carried — Duarte, Garcia, Kim, Steel and Valadao — are particularly vulnerable.
In recent days there has been lots of talk among Jordan supporters of being “team players,” as if partisan loyalty trumps (forgive the pun) what it is best for the country.
And there has been all sorts of faux urgency about the need to elect a speaker so the House — leaderless since McCarthy’s defenestration — can get back to business.
But that only speaks to the seemingly limitless capacity of House Republicans to take a bad thing and make it worse. When you drive a car into a ditch, do you summon an auto crusher to pull it out?
Come 2024, remember the names and misplaced loyalties of those California lawmakers who voted to install an insurrection-backing, integrity-lacking Trump toady as head of the body that calls itself the People’s House.
Hold them to account.
Stand up for first principles.
Stop the crazy.