Jim Jordan couldn’t have bought an ad that was better.
The Ohio Republican mounting a bid to become the next speaker of the House was the topic of an Associated Press piece on Monday that apparently aimed to scare GOP members with the prospect of a “political brawler” taking the helm.
But using Rep. Liz Cheney to do it was a bad, bad move.
The article was plugged by an AP post published on social media that looked at Jordan from a clearly leftist viewpoint:
Rep. Jim Jordan becoming House speaker would help cement the far right’s takeover of the Republican Party and trigger conflict with Democrats over the size and scope of government. https://t.co/dlRmJLFil5
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 16, 2023
“Rep. Jim Jordan becoming House speaker would help cement the far right’s takeover of the Republican Party and trigger conflict with Democrats over the size and scope of government,” the news service’s post on X stated.
Well, since “conflict with Democrats over the size and scope of government” is more or less the purpose of the Republican Party, it’s tough to see why that might be a problem.
And while scare words like “far right takeover” might be code words in the establishment media to smear GOP members who actually have a spine, they’ve been used for so long they’ve lost whatever sting they might have had. (“Far right” to the establishment media seems to be anyone more conservative than John Kasich.)
But the real tell was in the AP article itself, which sold itself with the sentence “Some members of Congress — including some in his own party — label Jordan an extremist unworthy of the speakership, pointing to his active role in Trump’s bid to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, as well as his refusal to honor a congressional subpoena about the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol.”
Well, that might be appropriately terrifying if the reporters had managed to quote a source in Jordan’s party in Congress that actually said those things. Instead, it turned to two Republicans who are no longer in the House — former Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
To its credit, the article notes that Boehner was a political opponent of Jordan going back to Jordan’s days in the Ohio state legislature. It also notes that Jordan was one of the key conservatives who helped bounce Boehner out of the speaker’s job back in 2015.
It also uses a quote from a Boehner interview with CBS in 2021 where Boehner said, “I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart — never building anything, never putting anything together.”
Actually, Jordan helped put together the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers that has been one of the brightest of the few bright spots in the government for the American right.
It’s where the article cites Liz Cheney, thought, that it really shows its hand. It quotes a recent speech Cheney delivered where she said:
“If the Republicans decide that Jim Jordan should be the speaker of the House, there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.”
This would be nonsense coming from any source, but from Liz Cheney, it’s outright laughable. This is the Liz Cheney who sat on Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked committee to investigate the Capitol incursion of Jan. 6 and came to the utterly foregone conclusion that it was all former President Donald Trump’s fault.
It’s also the Liz Cheney who was routed in the Republican primary in Wyoming last year by a humiliating spread of 37 points.
For the AP to pretend that she is speaking as somehow as a member of Jordan’s own party, just because she calls herself a Republican, is beyond misleading.
But it basically backfired.
As the social media watchdog site Twitchy noted, “Oh sure, they think they’re WARNING people about how horrific it would be to have an actual conservative as Speaker of the House but really all they did with this was remind people on the Right WHY Jordan should take the spot.”
Check out some responses to the AP post here:
In other words, it’s the first step Make America Great Again
— Vince Langman (@LangmanVince) October 16, 2023
I wouldn’t call that ‘far right’.
— Jonny Nomadic (@JonnyNomadic) October 16, 2023
I don’t think you understand what being fiscally conservative means…. pic.twitter.com/7o2evUIORa
— Pam D (@soirchick) October 16, 2023
Thank you for endorsing Jim Jordan as speaker!
— Eric Hellwig (@Coach_Hellwig) October 16, 2023
It’s important to note that these aren’t cherry-picked responses.
Sure there are a few anti-Jordan posts in there, but the vast, vast majority saw the AP post for what it was — a backhanded smear of a man who could well be elected speaker of the House on Tuesday.
It’s far from certain that Jordan has the votes among the Republican conference, and he needs virtually all of them, given the sliver of a majority Republicans have in the chamber.
But the point is, Jordan has been one of the most consistently conservative members of the House since he entered Congress in 2007 after defeating an incumbent Democrat by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent.
The AP also goes to some lengths to dwell on a sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State University when Jordan served as an assistant wrestling coach in the 1980s and 1990s. The abuse involved a team doctor who died in 2005, as NBC reported last week, when it looked like Jordan’s chances at the speakership were dead.
Much as liberals like to rehash long-ago sex scandals when they don’t involve Democrats, that isn’t likely to affect Jordan’s prospects.
The article also highlights Jordan’s role defending Trump during the Russia “collusion” hoax that bedeviled his presidency, nothing that Jordan ” used his platform on the House Judiciary Committee to rail against the probe as politically motivated and to attack the law enforcement officials who supervised it.”
Given what we know now about the Russia “collusion” hoax and the political motivations at its heart, there are few finer things a news outlet could say about a Republican lawmaker.
It also spends some time on Jordan’s activities in the fallout of the 2020 presidential election, which Jordan supported former President Donald Trump.
Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom before he left office.
There’s no way of knowing as of Monday afternoon if Jordan will win the support of all the House Republicans. As Fox reported Friday, he won the nomination by a far-from-unanimous 124-81 vote against Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia.
But one thing is rock-solid true:
Citing Liz Cheney’s criticisms as a reason to vote against Jordan for speaker is the best thing the AP could have done to convince Republicans to support him.
If Jim Jordan had been trying to buy an ad from AP, he couldn’t have gotten a better one.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.