Years ago, I secured a position as a Gulf of Mexico oilfield mechanic and electrician. The get-up-to-speed training was non-existent. Three weeks into the job I made a rookie mistake which put me in the center of a fireball. I was lucky to survive.

Watching Mike Johnson, the House Speaker, reminds me of those days. He has inadequate experience, and given the unruly nature of House Republicans, the get-up-to-speed training is brutal.

Upon election, Johnson succeeded in passing a continuing resolution which postponed a budget showdown and a government shutdown. We owe him thanks for this.

Johnson pivoted to border security, insisting on measures typically unacceptable to Democrats. To get aid for Ukraine, President Biden agreed to many of these measures. Most people would chalk this up as a success. Instead, Johnson declared as “dead on arrival” a proposed Senate bill containing these measures.

The Senate passed the foreign aid legislation without the border security measures. A majority of House members support this aid. Johnson announced the bill would once again be dead on arrival in the House. In an extraordinary move, he sent the House home until the end of February.

In three months, the Republican-controlled House has achieved nothing with respect to the border, foreign aid, and a budget agreement. The House is more dysfunctional than ever. It is one of the least productive in U.S. history.


On March 1 the budget continuing resolution expires. A government shutdown is once again on the cards. We have come full circle.

Unfortunately, it is not just Speaker Johnson who likely will be burned by his inexperience and rookie mistakes. It is all of us and many others around the world.

Nigel Calder


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