Juan and done: Ciscomani must go after defying his oath by voting for Jim Jordan

U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani just violated his oath of office, twice, and the freshman congressman should not be allowed to do it a third time.

The Southern Arizona politician swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Then he voted — twice — to make key insurrectionist Jim Jordan the next speaker of the House. 

Sorry dude. You gotta go. Jordan was a leader of the Jan. 6 coup attempt and that qualifies him as an enemy of the Constitution. Don’t make him a constitutional officeholder, second in line to be president of the republic.

When I tuned into the Tuesday vote already in progress, it was clear Jordan was going to lose the ballot. When I saw that 13 Republicans had refused to support the Ohio congressman, I was pondering a column lauding Ciscomani for having the courage to stand up to the Trumpist wing. He had to be one of the 13, right?

I was set to all but declare Oct. 17 as Juan Ciscomani Day, calling him an American hero for being among those risking their own political careers to save the country from QAnon, the Oath Keepers and the updated version of the Ku Klux Klan, otherwise known as the Proud Boys.

Huzzah! For he’s a jolly good fellow! And then … HAH! Joke’s on me.

Ciscomani of course voted for Jim Jordan on Tuesday. And did it again on Wednesday morning. As did most of the Republicans in the House of Representatives — just not enough of them for Jordan to win the gavel.

I’m sick of parsing which Republicans are with the insurrectionists from the ones who try to thread the needle between collusion and pragmatic cooperation.

Ciscomani issued a tweet/xeet/twix declaring there’s too much work to be done to not have a speaker of the House. “I came here to work, not to sit around.”

Dude, I don’t care if Hamas is trafficking bunnies and puppies to Antifa so Ridley Scott’s aliens can fatten up on them. There can be a crisis that’s worse. Don’t put a traitor in the speaker’s office. Period.

Then on Wednesday, he did it again.

Sorry. Ciscomani cannot be trusted to side with the U.S. Constitution when the time comes and the pressure mounts. 

What’s worse, Ciscomani voted to elevate to the second-highest position in government a guy who wanted Arizona’s electoral votes set aside. On Jan. 6, Jordan objected to the ballots in Arizona counting at all, which is a vote to silence Tucson and Southern Arizona voters in the presidential election. 

Ciscomani said he had conversations with Jordan about Southern Arizona priorities … blah … blah blah … here’s one: Let Arizonans vote in the presidential election and have their ballots count.

Realize that I’m not even getting to how Jordan is leading an impeachment effort against President Joe Biden without an underlying crime. I’m not talking about how during his time as an Ohio State University wrestling coach, he was accused of looking the other way as a doctor committed numerous sexual assaults. I’m not talking about Jordan failing in 17 years to get a single bill he primarily sponsored passed into law. That’s the guy who should be the speaker?

I’m not arguing interpretations of the Constitution that people can disagree about.

I’m not even talking about how former Speaker John Boehner called Jordan a “legislative terrorist,” only out to destroy. None of that is technically disqualifying of a House speaker. 

I’m just asking that Jordan not strive to overthrow a duly elected U.S. president. But he did just that. Ciscomani’s votes are a tacit endorsement.

This is just my personal opinion, but I’m hearing from plenty of stalwart conservative Republicans in Southern Arizona that they agree.

Let’s review the bidding

Jordan worked with former President Donald Trump’s team to invent a supposedly constitutional path to a second term. That path did not exist in the actual U.S. Constitution. It only existed on Fox News and in the “newsrooms” of “One American News Network” and “Newsmax.” 

It was a pure fabrication that undercut the spirit and meaning of the document Ciscomani vowed to defend.

Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 by flipping key swing states from Trump’s column in 2016 to his. Arizona was one of them.

On Jan. 6, Congress convened to do its job: count up the electoral vote totals and certify them. Jordan’s role was to create controversy where there was none as a predicate for Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes of states like Arizona’s and send them back to the various legislatures.

Then, Republican majorities in state houses could resend new electoral slates that favored Donald Trump or just sit on them, leaving Biden with insufficient electoral votes to win outright.

That would force a constitutionally required “contingent election”  in the House where votes are counted by state delegation. There are more empty Red States than urbanized Blue States, so Trump would likely win four more years.

This is not a process even remotely outlined in the Constitution. Trump and Jordan just made it up with the help of lawyers who oughta be disbarred.

Citing voter fraud, Jordan objected to Arizona’s electoral votes, playing a role in triggering a series of events that led toward a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

It was Arizona’s own Debbie Lesko who accurately predicted what would happen next. 

The Jan. 6 Committee played this little nugget at one of their hearings. It’s Lesko on the eve of the fateful day saying trouble was coming:

“I also ask leadership to come up with a safety plan for members (of Congress). I’m actually very concerned about this because we have actually who knows how many hundreds thousands of people coming here. We have Antifa (no we didn’t). We also have, quite honestly, Trump supporters who actually believe that we are going to overturn the election and when that doesn’t happen, most likely will not happen, they are going to go nuts.”

Jordan’s objections fanned those flames. Does anyone think if Democrats had tried the same thing against a Trump victory, they wouldn’t all be in prison?

I should point out, that if Team MAGA had any proof of significant fraud, they would have provided it in any one of the numerous legal challenges they launched. They never did. No doubt a couple people here and there voted fraudulently – just nowhere near enough to flip any result.  

Fraud was just a pretext to install a dictator.

Former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, who co-chaired the Jan. 6 investigation said prior to the vote: “Jim Jordan knew more about what Donald Trump had planned for Jan. 6 than any other member of the House of Representatives.”

Cheney went on: “If the Republicans decide Jim Jordan should become speaker of the house — and by the way, I don’t think that will happen. I think he’ll lose. But if they were to decide that, there would no longer be any possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans can be counted on to defend the Constitution.”

Turned out, she meant Ciscomani.

Jordan didn’t think the election mattered. In return, Trump gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He acted like a small cadre of Trump cultists should be able to run the country regardless of the people’s will. Thinking that is nuts. Acting on it to prevent the peaceful transition of power is  constitutional sabotage – no matter what the MyPillow guys says. 

The horrors to come

Forget about looking back. Look forward. A vote for Jordan as speaker is a vote for future coups.

Jordan as speaker would give Donald Trump two paths to returning to the White House next year.

The first is at the ballot box. That would be its own kind of hell but it would be legit.

The nightmare would be if Trump loses and Republicans hold the House. Speaker Jordan could then be counted on to come up with some screwy theory about why the election results are in dispute and that a “contingent election” is necessary, making Trump president.

Then the ground cracks open and the country is in the middle of a political caldera. Two presidents can claim they were elected. Who knows how the U.S. Supreme Court comes down? It might not matter.

At that point, a mamajammaing civil war is not unthinkable.

N-n-n-n-n-n-nooooooo. Stop thinking something is impossible because no one has seen it in a while. I’d have been called crazy for predicting a pandemic would kill 1 million Americans and a president would think that was too few people. Suggesting a presidential transition would be violent under Trump evoked eyerolls from the “Both Sides” crowd.

Historically, when two kings claim legitimate right to the throne, citizens get turned against citizens on battlefields.

What do you do when the heat is on?

Ciscomani was originally a fence-sitter.

Apparently, Sean Hannity and conservative media lobbied heavily on Jordan’s behalf. Other fire-breathing right-wingers were threatening guys like Ciscomani.

Trump endorsed Jordan and that was also used as a club to beat fence-sitters into submission.

That doesn’t make his surrender better. It makes it worse. It means Speaker Jordan could use fear against Ciscomani to get anything passed. 

We should also be sick of clinging to the idea that weak-kneed Republicans are just going along to stop something worse when the time comes. If they are biding their time for the important stand, then what does Ciscomani think MAGAs have planned that they aren’t telling us?

Arizona voters can not count on Ciscomani to stand with the Constitution if he faces threats and intimidation. He will salute. He will do as he’s told. His oath doesn’t matter and Southern Arizona voters can afford to assume nothing else.

The stakes are nothing less than the American way of life we have come to know with the rights and freedoms afforded by democracy and the U.S. Constitution.

Both parties are not the same

Moderate Democrats have a storied history of holding their ground and forcing the base to relent.

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin pretty much dictated terms to Biden and the progressive base. America doesn’t have a public option because Sens. Joe Lieberman and  Nebraska’s Ben Nelson wouldn’t allow it in the final Obamacare package. Conservative Democrats like Dennis DeConcini blew up former President Bill Clinton’s economic stimulus plan and torpedoed his health care overhaul in 1994.

Moderate Republicans just give up and let the extremists call the shots. Sen. John McCain’s legendary “thumbs down” being the one exception. So are they really moderate? Or do they just exist to give extremism a veneer of normalcy?

Ciscomani’s vote is truly disappointing because he seemed to show some spine. 

To the consternation of the MAGA base, Ciscomani voted in May for the debt deal that kept the American economy from unraveling. He also voted to certify Biden’s win. I can’t believe I have to type this: You have to obey the oath of office all the time.

Sure, Ciscomani’s trying to fend off a primary challenge from Kathleen Winn and the MAGA types — the Trumpists are calling him a “traitor” too. Bowing to the hard Right while framing yourself as centrist enough to win a general election is a difficult picture to paint.

But sometimes leadership means doing more than calculating what’s more likely to keep you comfortably in office.

Can Ciscomani redeem himself?

There may in fact be second acts in American lives, but if he sticks to this script, it’ll be curtains for him.

I really hoped the freshman congressman would align himself with rock-ribbed Republican history and be someone we could count on to preserve democracy. Republicans like that are needed to save us from fascism. The system needs a center-right party that believes in the country’s democratic heritage. 

Ultimately, good solid Republicans are among those who are going to save our republic. 

So… what? Are we to conclude it’s a coin toss about whether the congressman can hold the line to protect the Constitution? 

In no universe is that good enough. It’s the lowest standard voters can hold a politician to, and Ciscomani showed us he can’t meet it.