Mike Johnson

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Much depends on who is pulling Mike Johnson's strings.

Mike Johnson (born January 30, 1972) is this month's Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Also known as MAGA Mike, or more recently Meager Mike, the dapper Johnson got the gavel in 2023. His doll-like size conceals a giant ego, though he looks like a schoolboy on day-release from college.


Born in Louisiana in 1972, Mike "Jimmy" Johnson is a rock-solid, right wing Republican. He is evangelical, pro-gun, and anti-abortion — the conservative holy trinity. He was elected to Congress in 2017 from deep-red Louisiana's blood-red Fourth District. Johnson was a loyal supporter of President Donald Trump and tried to help his hero stay on as U.S. President after the 2020 election tragically went the other way. Johnson's career was unremarked and unremarkable until he became Speaker.


After the palace intrigue in the House, Joe Biden (lower left) welcomes Johnson to the Blue Team.

Johnson's rise to the position of Speaker came via the political collapse of Kevin McCarthy, who had struggled to get the gavel in the first place. Though McCarthy claimed he was Trumpian through-and-through, True MAGAs, such as Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert, said he was a phony — and had the video to back it up.

The Republican Party had a 7-vote majority and was riven right down the middle between the MAGA "base" and campaign donations from Big Pharma and Big Boom (Lockheed). The only way to pass "vital" bills was to "reach across the aisle" to Democrats. This suggested the 118th Congress would not pass any reform a Republican might call Republican. Once Trump had doubted his loyalty, McCarthy was out. After Trump stymied the nominations of several rivals, Johnson got the gavel for having unquestionable politics — and being a lightweight's lightweight.


The "Anti-Squad" appeared to be angry at Johnson, except that they always appeared to be angry.

This sudden elevation of an obscure politician placed Johnson firmly in the klieg lights. His party's majority was now a single vote, and it was still riven right down the middle. Result: Déjà vu. Like his predecessor, in April 2024, Johnson was forced to "reach across the aisle" for votes to pass three thoroughly awful bills:

  1. First up was a catch-all spending bill "to keep the government from shutting down" — though if that is the way you view it, all your opponents have to do is not budge, and you will fold. A previous deal assured the nation that, if we ever got to this point again, there would be a 1%, across-the-board budget cut, but it took no more than a paragraph to override that.
  2. The FISA Act was up for renewal — the one providing for Peru-style secret anonymous courts to spy on foreigners — as well as any Trump interns who might be caught talking to them. The MAGA caucus (pictured) demanded the bill at least require a warrant to spy on Americans — and the Democrat near-majority stepped up to take its place.
  3. The Johnson-Lockheed Bill (Loot for Foreign Wars) was the longest thorn in the MAGA backside. Johnson had been a consistent opponent of doubling down on the War in Ukraine. But the CIA took Johnson to a SCIF. This is not a dumpster but a Self-Contained Information Facility, a trailer containing top-secret material, where you are allowed to exit but your testicles are not. Johnson was shown solid proof of what the future would hold if the U.S. minded its own business, evidently a reprise of the "Domino Theory" that got the U.S. bogged down in Vietnam a half century ago. Thus Johnson committed the biggest flip-flop of his undistinguished career, and for good reason — it's just that you and I don't have security clearance to know what it is.

    Again, willing Democrats stepped up to replace balky Republicans. And, as in Afghanistan, "You don't buy their loyalty; you merely rent it." Their price was to hire more lawyers to secure the Southern border by secreting foreigners before their asylum hearings came up; and billions in food aid for Gaza, to be administered by the Hamas gunmen the bill spent other money to kill.

    The Motion to Vacate is in the hopper — namely, ravenous deceased actress Hedda Hopper, inside whom many House bills wound up.
    Johnson assured passage with a procedural rule under which anyone voting for any portion was on record supporting the entire spend-fest without a pesky final "vote on passage." Or in other words, one could not oppose the deal without giving Israel the middle finger in the middle of a war.

Just as a Muslim can divorce his wife by saying "I break with thee" three times, Johnson had now divorced the crusading wing of his own party — but, like McCarthy, Johnson remained wedded to the deal that let a single member snatch the gavel out of his hand. (Oddly, Democrats would not help Johnson undo that.) Greene, Gaetz, and Massie made the motion. (Boebert did not join in, having already gotten enough accusations of drunken behavior for one election year.) Thing is, it's not a "privileged" motion; Vacate the Chair sits in the hopper until someone declares that he's really serious about it. Both sides have guns pointed at one another, but no one is pulling the trigger, only striking a pose for the campaign website.


Trump seemed more enthused about Johnson than he ever was about McCarthy. He stated that Johnson "is trying very hard", as Republicans often are, just before they capitulate. On the Motion to Vacate itself, Trump's take was, "Well, we'll see." Evidently, "there are good people on both sides."

As for whether Johnson survives 2024, the answer may come from Mar-a-Lago (or the prison on Rikers Island).