NEW YORK — House Republicans gather this afternoon to choose their chief for the 116th Congress. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio deserves this honor.
Jordan is battling Kevin McCarthy of California to serve as House minority leader, since Republicans lost control of the chamber on Election Night. Jordan is the superior candidate to lead Republicans back to the majority.
Jordan has what McCarthy lacks: a killer instinct. Especially in the minority, the job of the GOP leader should be to paint Democrats into a corner each and every day, expose their internal rifts, force their members to choose among their own warring constituencies, and otherwise bite their nails in public.
A few scenes from this Congress confirm that McCarthy is too nice and insufficiently ruthless to do this job:
• Rep. Maxine Waters (D – California) last June very publicly urged fellow Leftists to confront members of Trump’s Cabinet (and by extension Trump supporters). “You get out and you create a crowd,” Waters told a Los Angeles rally. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Amid very raucous confrontations between Left-wing activists and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, former EPA chief Scott Pruitt, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Waters doused those flames with jet fuel.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R- Arizona) introduced a measure to censure Waters for her incendiary remarks. A vote on Biggs’ resolution would have made Democrats choose between their hypocritical calls for civility and their bottomless love for the firebrand “Aunt Maxine.” The measure almost certainly would have passed, and Waters would have been admonished and humbled. This likely would have thrown a cold, wet blanket over the increasingly restive Resistance, perhaps cooling their more radical and disruptive tendencies.
McCarthy never scheduled a vote on Biggs’ censure motion. The House never gave Waters the public rebuke that she deserved. The Left was not instructed that their in-your-face tactics are alien to a constitutional republic and civil discourse.
Absent the House’s censure of the far Left’s chief heroine, the Resistance roared on. The goon-squad behavior of the Battle of Kavanaugh and subsequent mob rule became increasingly normalized. Conservatives continue to be hounded out of restaurants, bars, and other public places.
Kevin McCarthy could have taken a small step to derail, or at least impede, the Left’s battle wagon. And he chickened out.
• Democrats screamed this summer to abolish ICE. They introduced several bills to do so. To his credit, McCarthy reportedly scheduled a vote on a key measure to abolish ICE. Why not force Democrats to choose between their seething Left-wing base and responsible leadership, which recognizes the vital need for secure borders and a viable immigration system. If Democrats voted to keep ICE, their far-Left supporters would rebel, much as Republicans did when we read Daddy Bush’s lips, and he raised taxes in 1991. If Democrats voted to abolish ICE, however, they would expose their newfangled no-borders, come-and-get-it, Caravans-for-All mentality. Against the backdrop of virtual GOP unanimity behind ICE, this contrast would have been highly instructive to voters last week.
McCarthy instead introduced a GOP measure to praise ICE. The so-called “Ice is Nice” bill received the support of all Republicans except über-libertarian Justin Amash of Michigan. Among Democrats, 18 voted Yea, 34 voted Nay, and 133 voted “Present.”
Rather than a clear, highly instructive, black-and-white comparison, the result was a palate of grays. Those who voted “Present” could not be painted as friends or foes of ICE. Rather they were innocent bystanders whose Swiss-like neutrality shielded them from attack. Rather than lead them into a line of GOP fire, McCarthy handed these 133 Democrats the equivalent of diplomatic passports. And they got away.
• The House Judiciary Committee has asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify on a variety of controversial matters, not least to learn, under oath, whether he plotted to deploy the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, declare President Donald J. Trump mentally incapacitated, and remove him from office in, essentially, a bloodless coup d’etat. Rosenstein has refused to present himself.
The Judiciary Committee should have subpoenaed him, and others, months ago. If Rosenstein failed to show, a contempt of Congress vote should have followed, along with his subsequent arrest, if necessary, to force him to testify. Also, Congress should have cut off the DOJ’s funds until it stops its imperiousness and cooperates with oversight inquiries, delivers unredacted documents on Russiagate, and otherwise shows respect for a co-equal branch of government.
If McCarthy wanted any of this done, it would have happened. A GOP leader Jordan would have taken these steps months ago. It is entirely possible that McCarthy’s milquetoast ways kept the House from unearthing ugly truths about Robert Mueller’s probe, the Fusion GPS dossier, and the general stench of what my Fox News colleague Gregg Jarett calls The Russia Hoax. If voters had this information last week, Jordan and McCarthy might be competing to become Speaker of the House.
Nancy Pelosi does not need a jogging partner. McCarthy is too nice and easygoing to confront her.
The diminutive, blond Jordan would be more like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone with Pelosi in Joe Pesci’s role. What the incoming Democrat leader needs is marbles thrown in her path and buckets of paint swinging from ropes as she walks down the hall. Jim Jordan is just the tough, wily, mischief maker conservatives need to defend the people’s house during the Left’s pending two-year occupation.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.