Stalemate: The Council, the House, the Middle East


Below, some revisionist, background thoughts about the Republican meltdown in Congress, Seattle City Council matters, and the Middle East. I see mediagenic, dramatic conflict — but not likely to lead to a resolution.

The Speaker. The underlying political reality is the 2024 race for the House, which is likely to flip to Democratic control. (The Senate is likely to revert to GOP control, thus keeping divided government alive.) That political background is why House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries‘ offers for a bipartisan solution are largely for show, not for real. Democrats want to run against Republican chaos (rhymes with Trump mania). And the Republicans fear having a new Speaker blessed by the cursed Democrats, so the bipartisan solution is still a non-starter.

If Jeffries were serious, he might not just leave a call-me phone number, but actually make a specific offer to the Republicans, breaking the logjam. An offer might go this way: New Speaker will be a Republican, but one with at least 10 years’ experience in the House. In exchange for some Democratic votes, three powerful committees (Rules, Justice, Appropriations) must have D and R co-chairs and equal voting strength. It’s unlikely that Jeffries will make such a specific proposal, so it ought to come from Derek Kilmer or Suzan DelBene, two of our state’s moderate, problem-solving Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Republicans in the House are in showdown, big-game mode, trying to settle whether the Populists (Jim Jordan and the Trumpers), the Institutionalists (committee chairs), or the Reaganites (Kevin McCarthy) prevail.  It may be best to let this football match find a winner, rather than smoothing over the feuds, but I doubt that will happen.

Farewell Symphony at Seattle City Council. Teresa Mosqueda, who is about to exit the council by getting elected to the King County Council, is trying to weigh in on the Seattle city budget. Mosqueda, the budget chair and not up for reelection this cycle, wants to protect the Jumpstart funding she authored from the Mayor’s (and the council’s) broader priorities, reserving the tax for affordable housing. Her ploy illustrates her imperious style each budget-time, continues her feud with Mayor Harrell, and favors her endangered political ally, Tammy Morales

I doubt Mosqueda will get much traction, since Harrell is far more popular than the lame-duck councilmember. But it does get her ink, which might come in handy for her new progressive leadership position at the Seattleizing county. And it can only help her prospective run for Adam Smith‘s Congressional seat or for mayor. Meanwhile, the balance of power will likely be decided when the council (not voters) picks a replacement for Mosqueda, settling the split between center-left (led by Sara Nelson) and the retirement-depleted progressives (led by Morales).

Explosive Middle East. Israel, like Ukraine, is in a proxy war between America as a declining power singing from an old hymnal, and the rising power coalition of the Outs: Iran/Russia/China. The stakes are high, which means a settlement and a hot war are unlikely — such as a stalled invasion of Gaza, a new Gaza government installed by Arab nations and easing out the doomed Netanyahu, a trip-wire, demilitarized zone around Gaza, and revived talks about a two-state solution. 

Biden is an experienced-foreign-policy wartime president who will keep drumming on Israel and Ukraine, boosting his reelection chances. As ever, the Palestinian cause is a loyalty test for many Arab states, so it is not likely to be resolved but fester for many more years.

In short, stalemate in Congress, at City Hall, and in the Middle East.

David Brewster
David Brewster
David Brewster, a founding member of Post Alley, has a long career in publishing, having founded Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, and His civic ventures have been Town Hall Seattle and FolioSeattle.


  1. I am a bit shocked that David Brewster, a thoughtful pragmatic voice, falls for the “both sides are wrong” argument in Congress. David, do you really believe there are even five Rs willing to cross the GOP base and Freedom caucus and elect a bipartisan speaker, much less the 100 plus that would be required to make this happen? Are the Ds supposed to trust MCCarthy or Jim Jordan, or the new batch of aspiring leaders? Are you watching the GOP the last six and even 15 and even 30 years? And do you think discussions are not going on, but that so far, the GOP members know the price of independence from the new GOP “mainstream?” The modern GOP thirst for power usurps the willingness to care about governing and the Constitution. We the people need to face reality and take reins of power away from the domestic autocrats and anarchists. Reading Mitt Romney this weekend is also a cold bucket of water in my face. Time for all of us to wake up and trust our senses on what we are seizing. The root of this is a political problem, and requires a political solution. Until that happens, this is what we are stuck. As old Ben said, “ We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.”

  2. David et al,
    Today is the reason I subscribe to the PAN all of you provide me with:
    What I need to Know
    What I should know
    What I wish to know and with a bit of humor.
    Many thanks,
    Miriam Sutermeister HH 5-P

  3. Oligarchical collectivism, our current paradigm, is becoming increasingly incoherent. Decentralization and local control will follow. As resource pools dry up, expect more gridlock in the national government, dysfunction in city hall, and only losers/no winners in the Israel/Palestine saga.

  4. Well, here we go Mike Johnson, the worst possible R, A Louisiana Trump lackey, who did more to advance the nonsense that the 2020 election was stolen, than almost anyone besides the ex-prez himself. Failing to get behind the flawed, but workable, Kevin McCarthy cost Democrats dearly—many observers warned that it would, but they wanted to make a point.

  5. Sorry, David Brewster, your political commentary is astute, well written, of course, but:
    “…If Jeffries were serious, he might not just leave a call-me phone number, but actually make a specific offer to the Republicans, breaking the logjam. ”

    That is something Nancy Pelosi would have done, and how sorely is she missed today. But no, the Democrats, with a remarkable talent for shooting themselves, wanted to make room for a younger person. They wanted to draw a line in the sand, instead of recognizing when you have to hold your nose and make a compromise with McCarthy.

    So here we are, Dems, with a Louisiana Republican and election conspiracy butt-kissing fanatic in that powerful position. How ecstatic Trump must be. How embarrassing. How scary for our future.


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