On November 1, 2023

Ray of hope, or more chaos?

By Angelo Lynn

Editor’s note: Angelo Lynn is the editor and publisher of the Addison County Independent, a sister publication to the Mountain Times. 

Out of the chaos of the past three weeks, is Rep. Mike Johnson, the newly elected U.S. House Speaker, a ray of hope that the can finally govern? 


Rep. Johnson, 51, is a social conservative, ardent Christian, who has strong views against abortion and gay rights. He’s that kind of conservative, meaning a religious ideologue. He also has been a solid Trump supporter, including in the effort to overturn President Biden’s electoral victory and supporting Trump despite his sordid and amoral affairs with women, blatant racism, an ignorance of Christianity and fake embrace of it. 

With that background, one might think Johnson is ill-informed and poorly educated. 

But he’s not. He graduated with a law degree from Louisiana State University and practiced constitutional law for 20 years. He was first elected to the state’s House of Representatives in 2015, then elected to Congress in 2016 and was elected to his fourth two-year term in 2022. He has won his district by large margins. He says he supports Israel’s and Ukraine’s fight to preserve their independence. He and his wife have been married for 24 years and have four children. He is described by colleagues as “principled” and “moral.”

It’s a description, and a record, that offers some hope.

It’s too bad that Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., withdrew his party’s nomination to the speakership before Democrats had the opportunity to work with him. He was more moderate and more reasonable, and the best of the candidates seeking the post so far, but that didn’t happen. Johnson is now the man of the hour. It will behoove Democrats in the House to work with him to the extent that budgets can be passed within the next two weeks to prevent a government shutdown and crucial aid can be approved to both Israel and Ukraine.

Of Johnson’s election to speaker, New York Times reporter Annie Karni summed up his unlikely rise to the top. Karni said Johnson, a little-known conservative, made his election look relatively easy “only because Republicans have been worn down over the past three weeks, rejecting three speaker designates, and have finally decided to rally around someone without a big profile, who they view as sufficiently conservative and who they don’t personally despise.”

That’s a low bar to pass and a sad commentary on the state of today’s GOP, but Democrats should give Johnson a good-faith opportunity to lead — and hope for a partner who is at least rational on that side of the aisle.


Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Vermont values under ‘atax:’ Vermonters rally to challenge threat to food, water, shelter

June 19, 2024
Dear Editor, A broad cross section of Vermonters gathered in the State House cafeteria to express their displeasure with the direction the state’s political leadership is taking them. (And that was April 25; things have not improved since.) Feeling ignored or otherwise discounted and marginalized, and in some cases, even mocked, the diverse group chose…

Universal School Meals: Delivering for Vermont children, families and schools

June 19, 2024
By Teddy Waszazak Editor’s note: Teddy Waszazak is a resident of Barre and the Legislative Policy Lead at Hunger Free Vermont, a statewide advocacy and education nonprofit working to end hunger in Vermont. As another school year comes to a close, all of us in Vermont have two exciting milestones to celebrate: the start of…

VTSU should renew its commitment to diversity office

June 19, 2024
Dear Editor, In the summer of 2020, the nation watched 8 minutes and 46 seconds of video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a detained man named George Floyd until Floyd was asphyxiated to death. It was horrific, and Floyd was only one of several people of color who died at…

Scott was right to veto H.887

June 19, 2024
Dear Editor, Our state Legislature is meeting this week to vote on overriding Governor Scott’s vetoes of legislation introduced during the latest session. One of the bills for consideration is H. 887, the annual “yield bill,” which funds our public education system through property taxes. Governor Scott has rightly vetoed this bill because, according to…