Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Speaker of the House

Dear Madam Elle,

I have a question: What is the speaker of the house?

Thanks in advance,


Dear Wondering,

Madame L thanks you for asking. The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives is called the Speaker. He or she is elected by members of the party in majority. The current Speaker is Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio). 

Before he was Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) was Speaker. She lost the job after the 2010 elections, which gave the Republicans the majority in the House. Even then, Boehner had to fight for the job with his House Republican frenemies, most notably Rep. Cantor of Virginia. When you watch Boehner in a press conference, always watch for Cantor with his big wolfish grin, standing just behind Boehner, looking a litle too lean and hungry.

But Madame L digresses.

All of this constitutional history is more than trivia because, under the Constitution, the Speaker of the House is next in line, after the Vice President, to the presidency. So, if something should happen to both Pres. Obama and Vice Pres. Biden, Rep. Boehner would become the president.

And all of THIS is brought up almost always when Newt Gingrich is mentioned because he used to be the House Speaker. Gingrich was forced to resign as Speaker in November 1998 because of numerous scandals he was involved in. 

At the time, Gingrich had been calling for Pres. Clinton's impeachment for "not [having] sex with that woman"; he was also carrying on an affair with now-wife Callista and after having sex with Callista for some time (months or years) decided to ask his second wife, Marianne, who had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, for "permission" to continue that affair. He told her that her "problem" was she wanted him all to herself. She said no, that his having an affair didn't fit with her definition of marriage.

When forced to resign, Gingrich turned on his fellow House Republicans, accusing them of  turning him into a "post-election whipping boy:" He complained that those Republicans who had been calling for his resignation were "hateful" and that he simply couldn't go on leading them in the face of their "cannibalism."

Does that sound familiar? Gingrich's language patterns haven't changed. He is currently bitter toward his fellow Republicans who are running for president, Mitt Romney most of all, apparently because Romney seems poised to win the Republican nomination. 

This week, after accusing Romney of using negative ads, Gingrich and/or his Super-PAC produced an ad that was not only negative but was full of lies. 

Many people, even in the Republican Party, were appalled, but not surprised, that Gingrich accused Romney of taking away Kosher meals from elderly Jewish nursing-home residents and denying Catholics the right to partake of their church's sacraments while he was governor of Massachusetts. 

Everyone realizes that this kind of attack is not dissimilar to calling Pres. Obama a food-stamp president, a Saul Alinsky radical, and a foreigner with Kenyan political ideas....or calling members of his own party who were ready to get rid of him "cannibals" and telling his second wife that she had a "problem." 

Madame L thanks you again for asking and hopes that you and all her Dear and Gentle Readers continue being interested in politics. As you can see, it's not just the presidential election years and it's not just the presidential race that matter. 

God bless and protect us all,

Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black again. Classic redirection. When the Argentine and Greek military juntas had thoroughly botched their countries' economic systems, they each started a war to redirect peoples' attention. On trial for butchering your estranged wife and her boyfriend? Put the LA Police Department on trial instead.

It works, and HWSBN is, more or less, a "historian." Mostly less. More like a bad fiction writer.