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.