The whole thing got so numbing by the third day. Eight hours of calling names, eight hours of the same numbers, over and over again. The Democrats in the House of Representatives stayed solidly behind their leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Twenty-one members stood against Kevin McCarthy within the Republican caucus, who were, through the first 11 votes, every bit as immovable as all the Democrats. McCarthy could only afford to lose four Republican votes if he wanted to be speaker. On every ballot, his candidacy was cooked by the time they got to the D’s.
As much as Republicans insisted their chaotic process was a demonstration of democracy working as intended, and as much as the TV pundits deplored the endless exercise on behalf of The American People, the only possible response to the whole tangled mess was to laugh. At the very least, it was a good antidote to the pretension that was flying thick and fast over yet another attempt by conservatives to monkey-wrench the government—this time without broken windows and death threats. Eventually, though, even laughter didn’t help. Tedium set in, then complete enervation. So much so that I nearly missed what perhaps was the most amazing moment of the whole sorry week.