A tale of two Houses of Representatives

Pennsylvania

2022 election


Fig. 1. John Fetterman as mayor of Braddock, photograph uncredited and undated, via Next Pittsburgh,[1] fair use.

To nearly everyone’s surprise, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with some Republican support, selected Mark Rozzi, elected as a Democrat, but turning independent and refusing to caucus with either party as speaker.[2] The atmosphere there and in the state senate[3] appears to be of white Christian nationalists seemingly feeling surprisingly but appropriately chastened by the defeat of Doug Mastriano[4] (we’ll see how long that lasts), and pledging bipartisanship.[5]

Stephen Caruso, Kate Huangpu, and Katie Meyer, “Democrats and a handful of Republicans picked the Pennsylvania House’s new speaker,” Spotlight PA, January 3, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2023/01/pa-midterm-election-2022-house-majority-democrats-speaker-election/

Andrew Seidman and Gillian McGoldrick, “Mark Rozzi, a Democrat-turned-independent, is now speaker of the Pa. House after a surprise vote,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/mark-rozzi-democrat-elected-speaker-pennsylvania-house-20230103.html


U.S. House of Representatives

I think I’m glad I’m not in Tara Palmeri’s shoes. She has to sound smart about battle royal over the speakership of the U.S. House of Representatives, where things aren’t going nearly so swimmingly as in Pennsylvania. And despite the mayhem, she has to offer some prognostication of what might occur.

As they courted conservative media icons, [Kevin] McCarthy’s team reciprocated the false courage. They insisted that it was all under control—those five persnickety “No” votes, the “saboteurs” as Mark Levin dubbed them, would eventually get with the program. McCarthy, the ultimate vote whipper, would make the math work. And yet it turns out, of course, that the situation was far bleaker than they ever let on. “It’s a big black eye for Republicans. We come into office, we can’t govern or pick a speaker,” said a senior Hill Republican. “It’s complete chaos.”[6]

The picture Palmeri paints suggests that Kevin McCarthy will not emerge as speaker. There aren’t a lot of egos dead set against him, but in the current context, it just doesn’t take that many, and there are enough.[7]

Palmeri devotes a fair amount of space to the possibility of Steve Scalise pursuing and possibly winning the speakership. She seems to think “that something will break by tomorrow [January 4] afternoon” and she seems to think that, at the end of the day, it might very well be Scalise.[8]

We’ll see. The very fact that this situation is rare[9] means there isn’t really a lot of experience to base forecasts on.

So what am I doing? Keeping my trap the fuck shut. Meanwhile, Palmeri has hedged her bets; she won’t lose much if it all goes some other way. And at least she can take solace in the fact she’s getting paid.

Aaron Blake, “McCarthy’s big concession — and how it could hamstring a GOP speaker,” Washington Post, January 3, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/03/motion-vacate-house-speaker/

Clare Foran et al., “House adjourns after chaotic day without electing a speaker as McCarthy fails to lock down votes,” Cable News Network, January 3, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/03/politics/house-speaker-vote-mccarthy/index.html

Tara Palmeri, “We Need to Talk About Kevin, ” Puck News, January 3, 2022, https://puck.news/we-need-to-talk-about-kevin/


  1. [1]Kim Lyons, “Braddock Mayor John Fetterman keeps on truckin’ in his quest for the Senate,” Next Pittsburgh, March 11, 2016, https://nextpittsburgh.com/features/the-challengers-braddock-mayor-john-fetterman-keeps-on-truckin/
  2. [2]Stephen Caruso, Kate Huangpu, and Katie Meyer, “Democrats and a handful of Republicans picked the Pennsylvania House’s new speaker,” Spotlight PA, January 3, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2023/01/pa-midterm-election-2022-house-majority-democrats-speaker-election/; Andrew Seidman and Gillian McGoldrick, “Mark Rozzi, a Democrat-turned-independent, is now speaker of the Pa. House after a surprise vote,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/mark-rozzi-democrat-elected-speaker-pennsylvania-house-20230103.html
  3. [3]Andrew Seidman and Gillian McGoldrick, “Mark Rozzi, a Democrat-turned-independent, is now speaker of the Pa. House after a surprise vote,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/mark-rozzi-democrat-elected-speaker-pennsylvania-house-20230103.html
  4. [4]Kris Maher, “Democrat Josh Shapiro Wins Pennsylvania Governor Race Over Doug Mastriano,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/election-midterms-2022/card/democrat-josh-shapiro-wins-pennsylvania-governor-race-over-doug-mastriano-rdDSLqwHlckU7Q5yZYF2
  5. [5]Stephen Caruso, Kate Huangpu, and Katie Meyer, “Democrats and a handful of Republicans picked the Pennsylvania House’s new speaker,” Spotlight PA, January 3, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2023/01/pa-midterm-election-2022-house-majority-democrats-speaker-election/; Andrew Seidman and Gillian McGoldrick, “Mark Rozzi, a Democrat-turned-independent, is now speaker of the Pa. House after a surprise vote,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/pennsylvania/mark-rozzi-democrat-elected-speaker-pennsylvania-house-20230103.html
  6. [6]Tara Palmeri, “We Need to Talk About Kevin, ” Puck News, January 3, 2022, https://puck.news/we-need-to-talk-about-kevin/
  7. [7]Tara Palmeri, “We Need to Talk About Kevin, ” Puck News, January 3, 2022, https://puck.news/we-need-to-talk-about-kevin/
  8. [8]Tara Palmeri, “We Need to Talk About Kevin, ” Puck News, January 3, 2022, https://puck.news/we-need-to-talk-about-kevin/
  9. [9]Clare Foran et al., “House adjourns after chaotic day without electing a speaker as McCarthy fails to lock down votes,” Cable News Network, January 3, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/03/politics/house-speaker-vote-mccarthy/index.html; Tara Palmeri, “We Need to Talk About Kevin, ” Puck News, January 3, 2022, https://puck.news/we-need-to-talk-about-kevin/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.