A progressive gadfly is offering a noble and selfless proposal to House Republicans. He wants establishment Republicans to let Democrats choose the GOP’s Speaker of the House.
“What I am recommending is that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) go to McCarthy and pledge to supply the requisite Democratic votes for him to become Speaker if he doesn’t have the required Republican votes,” says an op-ed published in TheHill.com, authored by D.C. political activist Mark Plotkin.
But there’s a price.
“In exchange for this easy first-ballot victory, the Democratic leadership insists that the Hastert Rule be eliminated,” says Plotkin, adding:
While he was Speaker [from 1999 to 2007], [Dennis] Hastert insisted that no bill be allowed to go to the floor unless it had a ‘majority of the [GOP] majority.’ This dictum was great for [GOP] party solidarity but awful and tragic for the country. Its practical impact was that it inspired about 40 right-wing zealots to have their way. It was their goal not to legislate, but to impose ideological purity on all matters of public policy.
Without the Hastert Rule, establishment interests might overcome voter opposition — by building short-lived coalitions of go-along-get-along GOP and Democratic legislators.
Plotkin’s term “right-wing zealots” is a schoolyard description for the many Americans who prefer smaller government, federalism, plus civic and economic freedom. That’s the GOP’s base of election-winning voters, volunteers and cheerleaders.
But their small-government agenda is garlic and crucifixes for the business and progressive interests that wish to suck money, power and freedoms out of the body politic.
So what is Plotkin offering to McCarthy in exchange for his political soul?
Why, nothing but the applause of progressives, and a temporary slowdown of progressive nastiness.
“What does McCarthy get from this deal? Overnight, he goes from party hack to statesman,” Plotkin offers.
“By pledging to bring up and move legislation with true bipartisan support, he is doing the nation’s work, not just the party’s work. Moreover, maybe — just maybe — the political climate changes. There is a genuine transformation. Polarization is replaced by progress. Cynicism is replaced by hope. The Republican Party gets a facelift. It is no longer perceived as the ‘party of no.’”
As a downpayment, Plotkin tried some ingratiating flattery.
“I don’t know if McCarthy is capable of this act of political courage… [he] does not quite strike me as a fearless visionary. But I would love to be surprised, assuming the Speakership might elevate his behavior. If this miraculously occurs, the country would benefit. Isn’t that what public service is all about?”
From “party of no,” to “public service,” if you just trade your soul to the Democratic party.
Shakespeare did it better — and finished the tale — when he described the three Scottish witches’ poisoned offer of promotion and power to war-hero Macbeth, then a mere ‘thane,’ or baron, of a poor Scottish district.
First Witch; All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
Second Witch; All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of [wealthy] Cawdor!
Third Witch; All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!”
Macbeth accepts the fateful offer, so his friendships and alliances die, the country revolts, and the people march on his castle. The conscience-stricken Macbeth sees his tragic end nearing, and declares;
“Ring the alarum-bell!—Blow, wind! Come, wrack!
At least we’ll die with [as a soldier, with armor] on our back.”
Macbeth’s reputation still hasn’t recovered, a thousand years after he accepted his deal.
Movie director Roman Polanski produced a NC-17 final fight scene.