Chaos in Congress Isn’t Good for Virginia

by Robin Beres

In a recent column for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Rep. Bob Good (R-VA 05), noted that as of this month, “the U.S. House of Representatives will be the only thing standing between Americans and the Democrats’ assault on freedom, the family, the economy and our national security.”

The GOP won the House majority by a slim margin in November 2022. So, if Good is so concerned about the Republicans’ ability to address so many pressing issues, isn’t it odd that he is being such a willing contributor to the humiliation the GOP is inflicting upon itself right now?

What should have been a quick vote on January 3 for a Speaker of the House — a requirement before Congress can begin working on any of the people’s business — ended in the House adjourning Tuesday with no Speaker. Three consecutive votes failed to garner enough support for GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23) to secure the gavel for his party.

The failure to elect a leader on the first vote is the first time this has happened in 100 years. The opposition is coming from a small group of far-right-wing Republicans who appear to be reveling in the chaos they are causing and the humiliation they have dealt to McCarthy. Bob Good is one of them.

I’m not sure what Good, who considers himself a biblical conservative, hopes to derive from this nonsense, other than reveling in the national attention. If he and his team of hyper-conservatives wanted to start this Congress making the GOP look like a bunch of inept buffoons, they’ve surely succeeded. If they wanted to give the Democrats a good laugh, they’ve also succeeded with that. Check out the Twitter picture of Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA 33), posing outside the House Chamber with a bag of popcorn.

On the other hand, if what Good and his other revolting friends wanted to do was disrupt GOP plans to halt the Democrats’ egregious spending, address spiraling inflation and energy costs, draw attention to the out-of-control Southern Border, and a myriad of other issues, they’ve succeeded in that admirably.

These hard-liners, almost all members of the House Freedom Caucus and at least five of them freshmen, did extensive damage to the GOP’s agenda in just one day. Good claims that the “next speaker must be a true fighter committed to using every tool to stop the radical agenda of the left.”

He may believe that, but another thing the Speaker of the House must be is someone wise enough to understand when it’s time to fight and when it’s time to negotiate.

Good lays blame at McCarthy’s feet for Republicans failing to “defeat Democrat legislation passed as so-called ‘suspension’ bills. He failed to use the leverage of the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act to stop Biden policies that are weakening our military. He did not whip votes against the phony infrastructure bill which focused more on climate change than roads and bridges.”

Surely the second-term representative from Virginia understands that Democrats held a majority in the House as well as the Senate and the White House. There was precious little McCarthy could have done to stop the passage of those massive spending bills.

While Good and his cohorts may see themselves as steely-eyed determinists, to most Americans, they are little more than extremists and obstructionists. Some of them, Good especially, seem to be enjoying their time in front of the camera a bit too much.

On Tuesday, Larry Sabato of the UVa Center for Politics noted that Rep. Good has taken on a leadership role when it came to opposing McCarthy’s path to Speaker. Sabato said, “Until now, this is the first time that I think a national audience is beginning to see who Bob Good is and what he stands for.”

Yes, we are beginning to see that, and the image isn’t flattering to Good, to his district, or to the Virginia GOP.

Sabato predicts that this isn’t going to end well for Good and will ultimately hurt his constituents. He warns the representative from Campbell County is going to make some powerful enemies in Washington. Should that happen, it is not only going to impact his constituents, it could hurt the entire state.