Resolute Square

Children With Chainsaws

Rick Wilson Explains Why Mike Johnson's House Will Shut Down The Government If They Can
Published:February 26, 2024

The idea of giving a child a chainsaw is briefly amusing, then suddenly horrible.

Nothing good comes from it, now or ever.

Which is why, of course, Mike Johnson and the rest of the MAGA Party in Washington are utterly incapable of governing the operations of a Waffle House in Cordele, Georgia, not to mention the lower chamber of the greatest legislative body in the world.

Johnson, at Donald Trump’s orders, has ground the House to a halt on vital national interests and issues. On immigration, Johnson took Trump’s lead to kill any possible negotiations on the toughest border and immigration bill in decades. On Ukraine, Johnson has similarly been determined to block any and all aid, again at the behest of Donald Trump, and by extension, of course, Vladimir Putin.

The do-nothing Chaos Caucus rules the roost, still in possession of the magical motion-to-vacate artifact left over from lasts years “Kevin McCarthy Must Die” jihad led by Matt Gaetz. Mike Johnson is fearful of wearing the wrong tie to work, to say nothing of trying to — heaven forfend — do anything meaningful for the people of the United States.

It’s why the handful of grownups in the House from the Before Times like Cathy McMorris-Rogers are running for the exits as fast as their feet will carry them. The bleed-out of experience, knowledge, institutional mechanics, and competence is increasing in both frequency and amplitude.
The Biden 18 Republicans are in trouble, with their usual backstop of No Labels money vanishing into Nancy Jacobson and Mark Penn’s third party cash incinerator, and their ability to pretend they’re a bastion and bulwark against the MAGA lunacy less credible by the day.

There was a brief flutter in the Spring of 2023 arguing that the GOP could make Donald Trump the Speaker of the House. It was repeated a few times during the public stoning of the apostate McCarthy, and had enough lift for Trump to actually deny he wanted it. (Donald needs executive power and control of the Department of Justice, not legislative power where he’d have to a) work and b) compromise.)

Mike Johnson (R-PornApp) may have the title of Speaker, but Donald Trump sets the agenda. Donald Trump determines what legislation comes to the floor. Mike Johnson is effectively Donald Trump’s hand puppet, with Trump’s tiny lemur-sized hands directing his every move.

The lunatics are very much in charge of the asylum.

Which brings us to this week’s crisis in the House. As you’re all aware, we’re approaching another Continuing Resolution deadline this Friday, in which unless the House takes action we’ll plunge the economy and the markets over the cliff by defaulting on Federal obligations. If there were a mountain range of dumb ideas, this would be the tallest, steepest, most-snow-capped peak for a thousand miles, and yet once again, here we are.

The GOP is holding the economy hostage again, despite the long history of this being a Very Bad Political Look. Threatening — and actually implementing — shutdowns of government programs polls about like finding a turd in the punchbowl. Working for an economic disaster to help Donald Trump’s flailing campaign is a next-level approach to Gold in the political Darwin Olympics.

Caitlin Emma of Politico reported the GOP’s stated objections to the bill are their demands to cut agriculture programs (e.g. food assistance to poor families) and a poison-pill demand to ban mail delivery of abortion drugs like Plan B. In public, they’ll say it’s about “runaway spending” but at this point that fig leaf is nanoscale.
There’s a certain recursive argument the MAGA world never seems to get in these fights. Even if we take them at their word (a notable lift, to be sure) and agree that spending is out of control, the added costs to an economy in a full government shutdown are catastrophic, lowering growth, revenues, and markets. The shutdown will cost more than it will save by several orders of magnitude.

The few edge cases who want a shutdown are the nihilists and ranters, but the organization is demonstrably helpless to course-correct.

The analogy in the opening paragraph about children with chainsaws obtains pretty well to the mess Mike Johnson is about engineer on Trump’s behalf. It will be bloody, painful, and in the end will leave everyone wondering just who would put anyone so unable to yield a tool like this in charge of it.