I’ve Had Enough Of This Bashing Of Mike Johnson

Since the votes over the weekend to dole out foreign aid around the world, coming on top of some other votes for things like renewing FISA, the Right – including a couple of Hayride contributors like Jeff Crouere yesterday and Walt Garlington today – has come out of the woodwork to savage House Speaker Mike Johnson for the outcomes his body is delivering.

I think this puts me in a lousy position. Mike is a personal friend of mine, I know him to be a conservative no less committed and passionate than Jeff and Walt are, for example, and he and I share the same view of the present time and its place in American history. That’s why Mike wrote the foreword to my first political book The Revivalist Manifesto.

But I don’t like what happened over the weekend any better than those people who are trashing Johnson do.

I especially dislike the fact that Johnson broke a 212-212 tie on the House floor and defeated an amendment to the FISA bill that would have required the federal government to get a warrant before surveilling American citizens. That was a real disappointment. Following it, Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom I generally don’t dislike but who is ever more clearly fitting the pattern of the fanatical middle-aged divorced woman blaming external forces for her own disappointing personal life, suggested that Johnson was among several members of Congress who’ve been blackmailed by the FBI and CIA and others in the intelligence community.

Then since then, the Gateway Pundit and other outlets on the right have been digging into the checkered personal past of Johnson’s adopted son, who recently was arrested on drug charges in Los Angeles. So there’s your narrative of Mike Johnson who’s corrupted and compromised just like Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and John Boehner.

And if you want to believe that, I can’t stop you.

My take on this is that Mike Johnson is no happier about these outcomes than you are. But here’s something you probably haven’t thought of.

Which is that Johnson is taking bullets for Donald Trump right now, and if you want Trump to win the election this fall – and if you don’t, you’re such a colossal part of the problem that Mike Johnson shouldn’t even register in the discussion – then you owe Johnson a pretty deep debt of gratitude.

Do we want to rein in the intelligence community and bring things like FISA back into line with constitutional principles? Of course we do. Do we want to do that by trying to pass a reform of FISA that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden get to have input on?

Are you one of those sweet summer children? Touched by the angels? Bless your heart if you think that’s a good idea.

Donald Trump wants to fix FISA in the worst way. Do you think Trump wants that to happen before he can retake office in January?

Trump also wants to keep Ukraine afloat until he can take office. He’s talked about settling the Russia-Ukraine war and says he can do it very quickly. Well, that means Trump wants to at least hold the line on that war until he can get back into office. If the evidence shows, and apparently it does, though I no longer trust much of anything the regime media or the intelligence community say, that without an infusion of war materiel and supplies the Ukrainian front lines might collapse, then the strategic move in America’s national interest is to provide those resources and get Trump back into office so that he can sort through an honorable and sustainable peace between Ukraine and Russia.

We know that Joe Biden cannot achieve that. Beyond taking bribes from the Ukrainians and stupidly shoveling your tax dollars into that war, Joe Biden has nothing to offer.

As for Israel and Gaza, it’s in America’s national interest for the Israelis to finish off Hamas and rout them out of Gaza before that war escalates into a conflict between us and Iran. Biden is doing everything he can to hamstring the Israelis in this regard and his party is becoming a gaggle of apologists for jihad. The idea that Mike Johnson is somehow betraying his side by moving aid for Israel to a House vote doesn’t make sense.

Aid for Taiwan is similarly in U.S. national interest.

Ah, yes, but what about Johnson’ previous position that nothing else should be done before the border is secured? Moving those separate aid packages without tying them to border security is a betrayal, isn’t it?

Perhaps. But let me tell you who’s guilty of that betrayal.

His name is Mitch McConnell.

When McConnell sent his lackey James Lankford out to do that awful border deal with Schumer in the Senate, Johnson’s position that the border had to be strengthened before any of these foreign aid things could be done went right out the window. Republicans can’t even talk about the border now without getting hammered by a bunch of lying Democrats who pine for the loss of the “bipartisan border deal.” Which would have surrendered the border to the cartels for all practical purposes and legitimized millions of illegals into the American welfare state. But they know those objections are too deep in the weeds to affect their narrative, which is that Republicans rejected the chance to fix the border.

I said at the time that McConnell was gutting the GOP position. He knew exactly what he was doing, but he didn’t care. And in sending Lankford out to negotiate the store away he was rolling Johnson just like he rolled Boehner, Ryan and McCarthy.

I’ll bet you any amount of money that Trump told Johnson he didn’t want the House to run another border bill. I’d be shocked if Trump’s position right now isn’t that he’d rather have the issue to run on instead of some half-assed “solution” the House sends to the Senate.  Especially because that “solution” either gets ignored or turned into a redux of the McConnell-Lankford betrayal, and then sent back to the House for Johnson to suffer a Hobson’s choice between passing a bad bill and getting blamed yet again for the border mess.

When the public currently blames Joe Biden, and when the loudest people complaining about the invasion of migrants into the country are big-city Democrat politicians, most of whom are black. It’s Democrat constituencies feeling most of the pain from the illegals crowding those cities, and on one level that pain is well-deserved.

If I’m Trump, I say let them suffer, blame it on Biden, I’ll use it to pick off as many disaffected core Democrat voters (read: working-class black men) as I can. And then when I take office after a good cycle wherein I win and get a majority in both the House and Senate I’ll get a bill giving me an iron grip on that border, including a big, beautiful wall, a fat tax on remittances back to the home country and the largest mass deportation in American history.

Which will be supported fairly passionately by minority voters all across the country, including Latinos, who have seen their standard of living drop through the floor as a function of the Biden migrant invasion Trump will now be sending away.


And if that’s what I want, do I really want Mike Johnson to hold up those foreign aid bills so that, for example, Ukraine collapses and it’s the GOP’s fault, just so I can lose the issue of the border to some half-assed solution or the GOP getting blamed for those problems too?

Why do you think Trump is backing Johnson when everybody else is beating on him? Don’t you think it would be a lot easier for Trump to jump on that bandwagon too?

Please try to remember something: Mike Johnson does not have the votes to pass conservative policy in this House of Representatives. He has 218 votes. He can’t command any kind of discipline out of those 218 votes. His caucus doesn’t vote in lockstep the way the Democrats do when they’re told to.

So what Mike Johnson can do is pass moderate policy. That he can make a majority for. In case you don’t know how legislative bodies work, and it seems like lots of people don’t, a Speaker’s primary job is to make majorities for items in front of the body. Now, as Speaker, he has the power and privilege to tint those majorities toward his ideological persuasion, but there are real limits to how far that goes.

Every one of those votes for the foreign aid packages got more than 300 members in support. Every one. Even the Ukraine aid bill got half the GOP caucus voting for it. Holding up votes on those things which all have a wide majority so that you can pass a tar baby of a border bill simply isn’t a workable solution anymore.

The Ukraine package did have one interesting little poison pill in it that nobody is paying attention to: it gives Joe Biden 45 days to deliver a statement to Congress outlining his strategy for victory in Ukraine.

Will Biden comply with that diktat? I don’t know. I know this – if he fails to do it, then Donald Trump has such a fantastic story to tell on Ukraine that it could be decisive in the election. That Joe Biden plowed $150 billion into a foreign war with a nuclear-armed enemy with zero strategy for victory or even getting out?

And honestly, it’s hard to imagine Biden coming up with anything compelling as a strategic statement after two years of a slow bleed in Ukraine. Whatever he says, the comeback is “what have you done to further these aims?”

There is a lot going on here. Johnson’s job is far harder than anything his critics are faced with doing. Am I happy about how things are going? Absolutely not. As I’ve said, he’s in an impossible position and he has no room to maneuver on practically any of these issues.

So essentially, Mike Johnson is punting them until after the election, in the hopes that there will be a Senate and a president who are allies rather than enemies, and perhaps a much healthier majority in the House, come January. At that point he would have the power to do some good for the conservative cause.

Walt’s column today is talking about what Mike Johnson can learn from Saint George, who was torn apart and martyred by a pagan king. I’d submit that martyrs are the last thing we need right now. What we need are crafty operators who can create victories this fall and then make lots of political martyrs on the other side.

Is Mike such an operator? I won’t trash you for thinking he isn’t. But what I would say is this current situation is hardly a fair test. He’s in a pre-speakership at this point and all of his options are bad.



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