MATTHEWS: Congress needs more spirited debates and less reliance on ‘decorum’ 

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, nominates Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., in the House chamber as the House meets for a second day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A month ago when the House was deciding on who would be its next Speaker, Republicans who are now in the majority were having spirited debates that revolved around what their priorities should be. The idea was that whoever was elected House Speaker would fight for them instead of maintaining what some in the GOP including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a Freedom Caucus member, called the “status quo.” 

During the discussions, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) riled up Democrats by accusing them of imbibing alcohol on the House floor and enjoying the infighting going on in the GOP a little too much. 

“Diversity of thought is a good thing,” Cammack stated. “It’s one of the things that sets us apart from our friends on the other side of the aisle.” 

“But they want us divided,” she continued. “They want us to fight each other. That much has been made clear by the popcorn and blankets and alcohol that has come in over there.” 

Her comments caused a chorus of eruptions on the Democratic side of the aisle. There were demands to have Cammack reprimanded for supposedly violating decorum, but it was not to be because at that point the rules for the current Congress had not been set. 

Just last week, more eruptions occurred among House Democrats when the House got set to vote on removing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over repeated instances of her making anti-Semitic remarks. 

Predictably, members of the so-called “Squad” including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) melted down, with Ocasio-Cortez wildly gesturing and sounding like an angry southern pastor lecturing her (Congressional) congregation over their alleged “racism” and supposed double standards in voting for the resolution to remove Omar from the committee. 

“There is nothing consistent with the Republican Party’s continued attacks, except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body,” she proclaimed without evidence as her far-left colleagues behind her acted in the role of a church choir in nodding their heads and clapping in solidarity. She ended her theatrical speech by hitting her notebook on the podium before walking off. 

Tlaib, who along with Omar and Rep. André Carson (D-IN) is a Muslim-American member of Congress, broke down in tears during her defense of Omar, also wildly gesturing while declaring that this had nothing to do with Omar’s anti-Semitic statements from the past but instead the alleged desire to discriminate “against a black, beautiful, Muslim woman.” 

As deliberately dramatic as all of these moments were, the keyword being deliberate, it’s my opinion that more of this is needed for reasons I’ll explain below. 

Firstly, “decorum” has gotten Republicans absolutely nowhere in Congress. So why not switch things up a bit by doing, as Roy noted during the Speaker debates, “sort of breaking the glass in order to get us to the table”? What’s happened so far in this Congress has shown that the initial Republican stalemate over who would be Speaker was worth the effort put into it. 

Further, such instances where members of Congress get feisty and emotional on the House floor tell us perhaps more so than anything else what kind of people are representing us in Congress. Are they drama queens? Or passionate defenders of their beliefs? The viewer gets to decide and then later can vote accordingly at the ballot box. 

Also, not many people watch the goings on in Congress. Having such lively discussions even though they may get heated might get more people to tune in. I know I certainly would. 

We need more British Parliament-style debates in the House and Senate going forward. For the good of America. And for the sheer entertainment value of it all. 

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.