The ongoing GOP House speakership debacle has been a clownish, humiliating spectacle which has made basically every Republican involved look like a dunderhead unfit to look smug on Sean Hannity’s show, much less govern the country. So it’s all the more surprising that one legislator who has emerged as a figure of resolve is Colorado’s Ken Buck.
Buck has not, up to now, been a figure of integrity, to put it mildly. He’s a radical right Freedom Caucus member who was instrumental in defenestrating former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Buck was in fact one of the eight Republicans who voted with oleaginous self-promoter Matt Gaetz to end McCarthy’s speakership, plunging the caucus into chaos.
And yet, suddenly and unexpectedly, Buck has located a spine and used it to stand up to his colleagues. In the leadership forum following McCarthy’s ouster, Buck demanded that the two leading candidates, Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan, state clearly that Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, won the 2020 election. When neither would do so, Buck said he wouldn’t vote for either of them. You have to imagine Buck asking his question during the leadership forum and every single Republican in the room doing a spit take, wiping the coffee off their chins, and having flashbacks to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.
Buck’s newfound concern with election integrity doesn’t make him a good person. It does indicate, though, that the GOP House leadership crisis has, perhaps, opened up space for some bad actors to make better choices. And it’s also a reminder that, if the GOP is going to get to a better place, some pretty awful people will need to decide to be — tactically, perhaps temporarily — less awful. [Continue reading…]