Tim Burchett’s Vote

By Dr. Harold A. Black



My colleagues — former Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. and Focus publisher Steve Hunley — are more qualified to reflect on Representative Tim Burchett’s vote to vacate the speakership to oust Kevin McCarthy. However, I feel obligated to comment on our congressman’s decision. First off, I consider Tim Burchett a friend. I have voted for him in all his elections. When he was county mayor, he supported my erstwhile futile efforts to get the school superintendent to teach children to read at proficiency levels by changing the teaching method. The superintendent was persuaded to allow me and several retirees to use a computer based program called Funnix in an afterschool program. By the end of the school year all of our “unteachable” kids could read. The result? We were invited not to come back. We were a threat to the teachers even though it was not their fault that they were using a failed method favored by the Education Industrial Complex.

I supported Burchett’s run for Congress. I think he has served us well. He honored me on the House floor by reading into the record the University of Georgia’s naming its new freshman dormitory for me and the two other first black freshmen who entered in the fall 1962. He called me a friend.

But his vote is a head scratcher. It was not needed to oust McCarthy, yet he felt necessary to do it. Moreover, the leader of the revolt was Matt Gaetz who is the diametric opposite of Burchett. Gaetz comes across as insincere, bombastic, publicity seeking and totally devoid of ethics and morality. This is the type of person that Burchett would normally run away from as fast as his feet could carry him. Yet he chose to vote with Gaetz and the five others who openly hate McCarthy. Nancy Mace also voted for the ouster. She, like Burchett, had voted for McCarthy in the 15 ballots necessary for his elevation to speaker. Yet she and our congressman joined in the junta. What is as disturbing as his voting with Gaetz was that all the Democrats voted in bloc to oust McCarthy. Their vote was a calculation to wreak havoc on the Republican conference demonstrating the Republicans’ inability to govern. They succeeded. That our congressman would vote with AOC, the Squad and all the loony progressives is stunning.

Nonetheless, the blame for McCarthy’s downfall rests with McCarthy himself. By agreeing that one Republican congressman could call for a motion to vacate sealed his fate. He wanted the job too badly. Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Matt Rosendale, Eli Crane, Ken Buck and Bob Good were poised to pounce at the right time. They obstructed virtually every action that McCarthy tried to take. Crafting bills that would satisfy Gaetz et. al. might pass the House but would be rejected by the Senate and vetoed by Biden. Consequently, a deft touch was needed to get a bill passed, modified in conference with the Senate and sent to Biden for his signature. Gaetz and his gang did not want to pass any bills, opting for a government shutdown instead. Presumably they thought they could force the Democrats to acquiesce and approve bills to lower spending, fund border security and reduce support for Ukraine. I am far removed from Washington but if those were Gaetz’s goals then he is a fool. Tim Burchett is not a fool. He obviously knows something that we don’t. Maybe he disliked McCarthy and feels that a new speaker would succeed where McCarthy failed. He may be correct but his vote aligns him with the Gaetz gang and likely hampers his influence in the Republican caucus going forward. The likelihood of history repeating itself with a new speaker may be tempered by the spectacle associated with McCarthy’s ouster. I certainly hope so, or else the Republican party is doomed to be the minority party for the foreseeable future. Polls show that the majority of Americans favor Republican policies but dislike the Republican party. The recent follies do not discredit that feeling.