Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“This is not Game of Thrones anymore, This is South Park”

Charlie Sykes, The Bulwark

That was then, this is now. And”now” now includes Mike Johnson, an avowed Christian nationalist and 2020 election denier as a Speaker of the House; blessed by Trump and supported by all House Republicans. Even Colorado Representative Ken Buck caved; he who had vowed never to vote for a candidate who refused to accept the 2020 election results. The Republican party is now the MAGA party, and this is not good news for America.

New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. Image courtesy of The New Yorker

When Sykes spoke last week, he was commenting on the inability of the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to agree on a leader for their slim House majority, let alone govern. Since that time, the chaos — which now appears to be purposeful — reveals a scenario in which a relatively inexperienced speaker who meets Trump’s approval will now preside over even more MAGA-inspired chaos.

The person now second to the presidency behind Vice President Kamala Harris is an architect of the push to decertify 2020 election results. We certainly don’t have confirmation that he’s a ‘flat-earther’, but based on his longtime association with Ken Ham and the cause of young Earth creationism (his nonprofit legal ministry called Freedom Guard represented Ham’s Ark Encounter Theme Park and the Creation Museum) he may think the earth is only 6,000 years old. This evangelical movement claims the Bible’s account of history is literally true, and tries to square that with the fossil record. Those of us living in the Colorado Rockies could find this greatly amusing if it weren’t so alarmingly unscientific.

Johnson’s mild-mannered expression and “nice guy” image covers a far-right extremism that makes Jim Jordan look like a moderate. He led the very conservative  Alliance Defending Freedom for a couple of decades, but the freedoms he protected were its adherent’s freedom to reject anything with which they didn’t agree.

He is anti-gay, anti-abortion, homophobic, and anti-women’s rights. In 2015, while in the Louisiana state legislature, Johnson proposed a Marriage and Conscience Act which would have allowed anyone in the state to discriminate against same-sex couples. In Congress, he co-sponsored the fetal personhood bill which would have the state closely monitor pregnant women under childhood endangerment laws.  He has gone on record saying that he does not believe in the separation of church and state, and apparently takes a dim view of some major parts of the Constitution.

In an interview this past weekend on Fox News’ Sean Hannity’s show he explained that his position on any issue comes straight from the Bible. “Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview; that’s what I believe.”

Johnson calls himself a “Bible-believing Christian” but in his case, he takes it all as literal — or at the least, as “18th century values”. I’m not sure how he squares slavery, child labor, or women being considered men’s property during that era. (I’d like his impressions of the biblical “Father of the Year” who the Bible records saved his sons from the hordes attacking the gates by handing over his daughters to be ravaged.)

Then there is this: In a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Johnson covered the GOP boilerplate about how Roe v. Wade resulted in the “killing of unborn children.” But then he got to the end and said this:

“Think about the implications of that on the economy!” he insisted. “We’re all struggling here to cover the bases of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and all the rest. If we had all those able-bodied workers in the economy we wouldn’t be going upside down and toppling over like this.”

The video below is via House Judiciary Dems’ Twitter account:

Others in the Republican party see the ascendance of Johnson as a sign. “If you don’t think that moving from Kevin McCarthy to MAGA Mike Johnson shows the ascendance of this movement and where the power in the Republican Party truly lies, then you’re not paying attention,” said Matt Gaetz (R- Florida), referring to the ousted former House speaker.

With less than a month until the government shutdown that will occur if the budget bills aren’t passed, with war in Ukraine and Israel and the Mideast sizzling, some see Johnson’s rigid stance and unwillingness to collaborate as counter-productive to solving the nation’s problems.