Sign up for our newsletter: GZERO Daily

{{ subpage.title }}

Speaker Vote Mess Sows How Ungovernable US House Is | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Speaker vote mess shows how ungovernable US House is

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.

What are the implications of the House failing to elect a speaker this week?

Well, I'm down here at the US Capitol where Kevin McCarthy has failed on multiple ballots this week to receive the 218 votes that he needs to become House speaker. And if you're a political junkie, this is really your week. You've got multiple ballots, warring political factions, you've got backroom deals. But the reality is the implications of this in the real world aren't that great. It's a historical anomaly, hasn't happened for over 100 years, but the House wasn't going to pass that much meaningful legislation this year anyway. So a delay in organizing doesn't matter all that much. And whoever the speaker is, they're probably going to end up being pretty weak and any legislation they do achieve will just be either ignored or rejected by the Democrats who control the Senate.

Read more Show less

What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring

WHAT WE ARE WATCHING

Jair Bolsonaro, Smut Lord – This is NSFW unless your W is covering global affairs. Last Thursday, the Brazil's president asked, in a tweet, "what is a golden shower?" This after he'd posted video in which a half-naked man dances lewdly atop a bus stop in Rio de Janeiro and then allows another man to urinate on him. Bolsonaro – a social ultraconservative posted the vid, it seems, as evidence of his country's moral degeneration, a plague he blames on the Brazilian left. He then recorded a Facebook Live video in which he criticized (and showed) sex education textbooks that feature illustrations of genitalia. We're watching to see if Bolsonaro's polarizing passion for culture wars gets in the way of the economic reform and anti-corruption promises which were major reasons many people voted for him.

Impeachment Talk – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in Washington, said that impeaching President Trump would be too divisive and that "he's just not worth it." Other Democrats, especially those running, or considering running, for president will now have to respond. This response will be among the most strategically important political decisions they will make this year. Impeachment is an issue that can, in principle, fire up the Democratic base, but it risks alienating moderates while handing Trump an issue that, in turn, inflames his own most fervent supporters.

WHAT WE ARE IGNORING

Russian police arresting balloons – Over the weekend, thousands of Russians protested new laws that tighten state control over the internet. The demonstrations, among Russia's largest in recent years, illustrate the risks that the government faces as it tries to curtail internet freedoms that Russians have become accustomed to. Though authorities permitted the demonstrations, police in Moscow arrested half a dozen activists for flying "unmanned aerial devices" without a license. The devices in question? Small blue helium balloons. We're ignoring this flagrant war on joy, but we're also heading over to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew our balloon flying licenses. Back in a few hours…

Assurances that killer robots won't kill us – In response to some bad press that the US army is working on "AI-powered killing machines" the Pentagon has updated a request for companies that can help it build a new gun system that can "acquire, identify, and engage targets at least three times faster than the current manual process." Everyone can calm down, according to the Pentagon: the not-at-all-sinisterly named Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS) will abide by US Department of Defense Directive 3000.09, which requires human input into any decision to kill. We're ignoring this fracas, because "lethality" is an overused military buzzword [KAK1] because this totally doesn't sound like the beginning of a bad made-for-cable movie or anything.

Subscribe to our free newsletter, GZERO Daily

Latest