CNN — House Republicans on Monday open the next act of their Washington farce, desperately searching for a speaker after ousting the incumbent and rejecting two would-be replacements while still clueless about how to dig out of the crisis.
Congress has seen impeachments, fiscal cliffs, government shutdowns and even an insurrection, but the modern Republican Party is surpassing itself with a debacle that is embarrassing senior party leaders and threatens to damage the House GOP’s hopes of saving and expanding upon its tiny majority in 2024. Far from tackling critical bills needed to fund the government, the leaderless House can’t do the basics, like pass a resolution condemning the Hamas attacks in Israel.
At least nine new candidates have signed up to run for speaker ahead of a new selection process this week after Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan folded his futile bid for the job on Friday, following Majority Leader Steve Scalise the week before. The uprising that began nearly three weeks ago with the toppling of Speaker Kevin McCarthy has now weakened three of the most powerful figures in the House GOP. Perhaps a newcomer can change the calculations of the extremists who opposed McCarthy and Scalise and the more moderate battleground district members who doomed the bulldozing Jordan. But there’s no sign yet any of them can win the 217 votes needed in the full chamber to claim the top job. And more importantly, for whoever eventually wins the gavel, the task of making the House a functional legislative body looks impossible after weeks of GOP infighting that cultivated fresh grievances and demands for vengeance.

“You know, getting 217 is obviously going to be very difficult and is the sort of Rubik’s Cube of the answer to all of this,” Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Twisting colored squares together in the right order seems simple by comparison with attempts to unite a House Republican conference unable to comprehend how clownish it looks. Republicans, determined to fight a civil war over fractures in the conservative movement, seem oblivious to the degenerating global stability all around them or the shutdown threat directly in front of them.

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