GOP Congressmember Bob Good— A Major Force in
Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s Hardline Crew January 15, 2023
Many of the major media outlets have repeatedly yammered about the Democrats being in disarray. The word “Democrats” is often coupled with “disarray,” like “bread and butter” or “love and marriage.” Democrats are constantly described as being in disarray over just about anything. Remember the situation after Democrats took several midterm “shellackings” during President Obama’s administration? The major media never stopped using the “Democrats in disarray” theme. They babbled non-stop about how many “Team Blue” members would defect to keep Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) from becoming the Democrats’ Minority Leader or Speaker. And even if Pelosi retained her leadership post, every move she made would be analyzed by most media outlets for the slightest hint of weakness. Once again, this “conventional media wisdom” was all wrong. Even with some defections, Minority Leader and later Speaker Pelosi triumphed. She became one of the strongest political leaders in U.S. history. “Conventional political wisdom” was way off. Which party is truly in disarray? The GOP. Even before Demagogue Donald’s easy capture of it in 2016, the G rand O ld O bstructionist Party has been tearing itself up since Goldwater’s and Nixon’s time by extremists, absolute hard right-wingers, and far-out political wackos.
If any of us in the real universe didn’t “get” this, look at “Exhibit A”—the recent battle royale to pick a GOP House Speaker, the leader of the party that received the majority of the country’s votes in the 2022 midterm elections. Remember, the GOP was expected to retake the House majority in 2022 and would, therefore, dominate the 118th Congress that would begin in 1/2023. Historically, the party in opposition to the President who sits in the White House, currently, Democrat Joe Biden, often gains members in its first midterm and has in several recent elections often recaptured that lower chamber. In Campaign 2022,the GOP had going for it the issue of high inflation. Inflation helped destroy Democrat Jimmy Carter’s Presidency in 1980. Many people feared that under Biden, the U.S. would be dragged into a war in Ukraine. People additionally saw Democrats bickering among themselves and with President Biden on major policy issues. Newspapers, cable, television news, and many polls kept blaring that Biden and his Democrats would be politically slaughtered losing a “y uu ge” number of seats. Demagogue Donald, Mar-a-Lago’s “Napoleon in exile,” was planning to run for the White House in 2024. He was endorsing many “Team Red” candidates and calling for revenge against his “stolen” 2020 election. When the GOP won the House by just 9 seats (222-213) and took a bare 4 seats above the 217 number needed for a majority, the major media and “Team Red” members saw this as one “heck of a defeat.” Biden and his Democrats were basically seen as winners who “beat the expectations.” As a result of the rather poor GOP House showing, the GOP election of a House Speaker was not the triumphant proceeding Republicans had been planning. “Team Red” Congressmembers verbally fought each other on the House floor and once even came close to fisticuffs (huffpost.com, Nicholson & Bendery, 1/07/23). Eighth-term Congressmember GOPer Kevin McCarthy (57), who represents the Bakersfield, CA area, that state’s 20th Congressional District (CD), has been obsessing and planning for years to become his party’s Speaker (Early Guide, 118th Congress At Your Fingertips, Cohen & Cook 2022 Political Almanac). In 2015, McCarthy lost an earlier attempt to become Speaker (Cohen & Cook 2022). Well, after four days and 15 rounds of voting that began on 1/03/23 and ended on 1/07/23, McCarthy finally won his Speakership. The margin? It was a rather unimpressive 216-212 vote. All the Democrats voted for Brooklyn, NY’s 8th Congressional District Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Six of McCarthy’s fellow GOPers voted “present.” The “present” votes lowered the threshold McCarthy needed to reach victory (huffpost.com, Boboltz, 1/07/23). To win this “victory,” McCarthy arm-twisted, back-slapped, and just about gave away his political soul/convictions, whatever they were..McCarthy’s win constituted the longest fight for the Speakership in 164 years (cnn.com, Foran, Raju, Grayer, & Zanona, 1/07/23). Demagogue Donald pushed for McCarthy’s Speakership win and McCarthy thanked him for it. McCarthy, right after the 1/06/21 attempted violent Capitol coup, inspired by Donald, briefly condemned him. Realizing that his base might turn on him for such “rebellion” and again block his Speakership bid, McCarthy quickly made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, had pictures of him taken there with Donald, and made sure he got back into Trump’s good graces. Trump forgave him and called him “My Kevin.” Another hard- core wacko supporting McCarthy’s Speakership was Marjorie “Jewish Space Lasers” Taylor Greene, MTG (R-GA). MTG broke with her normal gun-toting political ally Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) Boebert voted “Present” and was a foe of McCarthy’s Speakership to the end (bloomberg.com, Rupp, 1/06/23). Another extremist Congressmember who opposed McCarthy all the way was Virginia Congressmember Bob Good. He too voted with the “Present” gang (bloomberg.com, 1/06/23). Who is this Bob Good?
Second-term Congressmember Robert (Bob) George Good (58) currently represents Virginia’s 5th Congressional District (CD). The 5th takes in Southside VA. When people in the Old Dominion refer to “Southside,” they are talking about the still dominant Deep South culture in an otherwise quickly modernizing VA. The eastern counties in the 5th CD are flat and humid and constituted plantation country in the 1800’s.The largest metropolitan area in Southside is Danville. Appomattox Court House, where Confederate General Lee surrendered to Union General Grant and ended the Civil War lies in the 5th. Prince Edward County is part of the 5th. Prince Edward County’s opposition to school integration was one of the five cases consolidated into the landmark Brown v. Board of Education litigation. In Brown, the Supreme Ct. ordered the end of segregated public schools. The southern whites in Prince Edward County shut down their public schools for five years rather than integrate them (See Cohen & Cook 2022).
In addition to Southside VA, the 5th CD takes in the area west of metro Richmond that spreads out to the Blue Ridge Mountains. About 2/3 of the 5th’s population, lives here south of the James River. Besides Southside’s Danville, the other big city in the 5th is Charlottesville. The 5th additionally takes in an area that extends north to the western part of Fauquier County in the Washington D.C. exurbs (Cohen & Cook 2022). Charlottesville recently became the scene of a fight where white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKKers in a controversial “Unite the Right” 8/2017 protest fought opponents. These bigots carried tiki torches. They marched and shouted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. A neo-Nazi sympathizer reamed his car into a group of anti-white nationalist protesters and killed liberal activist Heather Heyer. Demagogue Donald ridiculously blamed “both sides” for this fatal riot and falsely stated there were “fine people” on “both sides.” After seeing the way Donald “handled” (NOT) the racists in Charlottesville, Joe Biden stated he decided to run for president to “heal the soul of this nation (See Cohen & Cook 2022).” Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County are overwhelmingly liberal, but constitute just 20% of the 5th. Danville is 51% Black and Blacks constitute 19.40% of the 5th CD. However, Southside VA, once conservative Dixiecrat, has in recent decades, voted predominantly GOP, a convert to Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Donald twice won 53% of the 5th CD’s vote. Biden won 86% of the vote in Charlottesville, 66% in Albemarle, 60% in Danville, but not much else. The recent Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) gives the VA 5th CD a comfortable R+7 score (Cohen & Cook 2022).
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania native Bob Good moved with his family to Lynchburg, VA when he was nine. His father attended a local seminary there (fauquier.com, Berti, Cohen & Cook 2022). Bob Good graduated from Liberty Christian Academy where he was a champion wrestler. He received his undergraduate and M.B.A. degrees from Jerry Falwell Sr.’s Liberty University in 1988 and 2010 in Lynchburg, VA. Good joined the lending division of CitiFinancial and was district manager at three of its sites for 17 years. In 2005, Good became executive director of Liberty University’s Flames Club which supports student-athletes (Cohen & Cook 2022). In 2015, Good won election to the Campbell County Board of Supervisors and served there from 2016-2019 (Friedenberger, 10/24/20). Good styles himself a “biblical Republican.” A born-again Christian, he is a strong social conservative. He supports the individual rights of property owners in the workplace. On the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, Good voted to condemn the U.S. Supreme Court decision to constitutionally protect same-sex marriages. He voted to declare Campbell County a “Second Amendment sanctuary” for the right to bear firearms. He additionally called upon the VA General Assembly to restrict transgender bathroom use (Cohen & Cook 2022, Flynn, 11/04/20, washingtonpost.com).
In 2019, 5th CD GOP Cong. Denver Riggleman, elected in 2018, made the “fatal” mistake in this conservative district of officiating at a gay marriage of two campaign volunteers. Local GOPers condemned him, but Riggleman said that government “shouldn’t be involved in marriage (Cohen & Cook, 2022).” Good threw his right-wing MAGA hat into the ring and challenged Riggleman in the VA GOP nominating convention. When COVID-19 prevented an on-site-meeting of delegates in the 5th , people voted from their vehicles in the parking lot of a church in a full -day drive through. Good won with about 58% of the vote (Cohen & Cook 2022). Besides his opposition to same-sex marriage, Good campaigned on a far-right Trump platform. He pushed hard-right views on immigration. He called for repealing Obamacare. He rejected public health measures to combat the spread of COVID. He did not wear a mask and encouraged others not to wear face coverings. He opposed restrictions on businesses to slow the spread of the virus and stated that wearing face coverings might be harmful (washingtonpost.com, `12/14/20). In the general election, he defeated Black physician Cameron Webb by 5 points (Cohen & Cook 2022). Good was handily re-elected to a second term by defeating another Democrat by 16 points (Early Guide 118th Congress).
We should not at all be surprised by Good’s hard-line anti-McCarthy stance. In the House, on 1/06/21, even after the attempted violent Trump-inspired coup on that date, Good voted against certifying Biden’s election. (Flynn & Vozzella, 12/14/20, washingtonpost.com). On 1/17/2021, Cong. Good voted against a House bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for their roles in protecting the Capitol and Congressmembers during the Jan. 6th Capitol attack. Good and 20 other House GOPers voted against a similar resolution in 6/2021 (theguardian.com, 3/18/21, cnn.com, Grayer & Wilson, 6/16/21). In 10/21, Cong. Good encouraged high school students in Rappahannock County, VA to defy a local school mask mandate (msn.com). On 3/01/22, Good stated he would not attend Pres. Biden’s State of the Union address because he would not submit to an “unnecessary COVID test to hear this president whisper through a speech that will inevitably fail to take responsibility for the tremendous damage he has and continues to cause to our country (thehill.com, Beals).” Cong. Good is a member of the wacko Freedom Caucus, the extremist group that previously forced House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to leave his post and retire from Congress. In the 117th Congress, Good voted with his hard-right party member Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) 89% of the time, but against fellow Virginian and moderate Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger 75% of the time (ProPublica).
Cong. Good can probably easily keep getting re-elected in his “Red”-tilted” district. In the meantime. the GOP’s favorability rating is crashing “big time.” A CIVIQS 1/08/23 poll gave the GOP a 26% favorability rating, a two-year low point since hitting 25% in the weeks following the 1/06/21 Capitol coup attempt. This recent poll gave the GOP a “y uu ge” 65% unfavorable score, its highest in almost 6 years, since the first year of Demagogue Donald’s tenure. McCarthy’s concessions to Cong. Good and his lunatic fringe are not helping “Team Red.” Among the worst concessions the Good (“Bad”) gang has forced McCarthy to grant include allowing just 1 GOP member to call for a motion to vacate the Speaker’s chair, which triggers a no-confidence vote. This concession could, while the GOP holds the congressional majority, keep the Speaker in a very weak position and constantly put the House in chaos with one no-confidence vote after another. Another horrible concession of Good’s crew that McCarthy agreed to is to require any efforts to raise the nation’s debt ceiling be paired with drastic spending cuts. If the debt ceiling is not raised when this action is needed, catastrophic economic default would occur. “We’ve seen this movie before,” and it’s always been beyond awful. Governmental shutdowns will occur again and again because the Democratic-controlled Senate and Biden’s White House would oppose demands for draconian spending cuts. More Freedom Caucus representation will be required on committees, including the powerhouse House Rules Committee. The Rules Committee determines which bills can be considered and whether and what kinds of amendments can be added to them . Members will also be allowed to offer more amendments on the House floor, which can strengthen the hands of Good, Boebert, et al to propose even more wacky proposals (cnn.com, Foran, Raju, Grayer, & Zanona, 1/07/23). Democrats must immediately fight the GOP’s absurd stunts in Congress. They must also start at once planning to retake the House in 2024 to stop this insane GOP chaos promoted by the likes of Cong. Good. The McCarthy/Good GOP must not continue to keep our country in disarray.