Issues & Insights

The Nation Owes Matt Gaetz A Hearty Thank You

The best (if unintended) endorsement for the most lopsided deal since the Yankees acquired Babe Ruth for a paltry $125,000 came not from a pundit nor a party colleague, but from the opposition (albeit punctuated by a partisan). Per the Wall Street Journal:

Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said … Republicans were choosing a person [Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson for Speaker] who ‘can pass their extreme litmus test to oppose marriage equality, enact a nationwide abortion ban without exceptions, gut Social Security and Medicare, support overturning a free and fair election.’

Aguilar said Johnson had been called ‘the most important architect of the electoral college objections,” and a Republican member shouted “d@#n right.

Those among the estimated 335,633,214 Americans (at this writing) who are sufficiently sentient should all be signing a coast-to-coast-sized thank-you card for reviled Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz has been hammered for three solid weeks as the “most-hated” GOP member in Congress, who plunged the House into “chaos,” for engineering the coup that cast aside limp-wristed Speaker Kevin “Fredo Corleone” McCarthy.

You’ll recall this commentator fingered McCarthy back in January for “project(ing) hesitancy, moderation, and self-focus when intense, inspirational passion for the conservative cause is the order of the day.” And more recently for “betray(ing) the conservative wing that allowed him to take power by depending on squish Republicans and a unanimous vote of his opposition to pass a 45-day clean continuing resolution keeping federal funding at its outrageously bloated fiscal 2023 levels.”

Whatever one might think of his ethics and demeanor, the actions of the allegedly slimy Gaetz have been fully vindicated. In place of the spineless, soulless, uniparty-associated, donor-class-beholden McCarthy, the chair of Washington’s third-ranking official is now occupied by a movement and, yes, MAGA conservative who on issue after issue, stands tall and unbending on his principles.

Yet who nonetheless is so well-regarded that he achieved a unanimous GOP vote just hours after the party caucus was said to be trapped in hopeless division and despair.

Whom does that remind one of?

The new speaker in fact evoked the comparison top-of-mind here: recalling that Ronald Reagan, upon leaving office, said that although he was called the Great Communicator, he was not that at all – he simply communicated great things.

And in a boffo acceptance speech – which lacked Dutch Reagan’s dulcet tones and delivery but echoed his forthrightness, balanced by self-deprecating humor and optimism – “great things” are what the Louisianan has promised: to “advance a comprehensive conservative policy agenda, combat the harmful policies of the Biden administration, and support our allies abroad.”

Just as was the case for the 40th president coming out of the Carter years’ malaise, decay and disarray, the new legislative branch leader’s priorities were precisely the right ones for the catastrophes facing America today.

Addressing a border disaster that has morphed from a fiscal burden to a public health crisis to a potential national security nightmare.

Making his symbolic first, “long overdue” order of business – in the face of the moral equivalence of the Milquetoast at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – a resolution unapologetically “show(ing) not only Israel but the entire world that the barbarism of Hamas that we have seen play out on our television screens is wretched and wrong.”

And most of all, defusing the fiscal and debt bomb threatening to sink the nation. The speaker pledged to appoint a bipartisan debt commission “immediately.” But in the meantime, he proposes a short-term continuing resolution while fast-tracking remaining regular appropriations bills.

What makes these promises any more credible than those made by his less-than-illustrious predecessor? Essentially, a stunningly pure record not just of conservative posturing but genuine action.

As a former lawyer for the controversial Alliance Defending Freedom and hence a fierce champion of traditional values. The initiator of a friend-of-the-court brief in a case brought by 19 state attorneys general to challenge the 2020 election results based on state-by-state irregularities – which he convinced 125 colleagues to sign.

And most of all, a “no” vote on McCarthy’s recent continuing resolution compromise, as well as outsized, unaccountable Ukraine aid.

It’s in fiscal policy that the new Republican leader’s mettle will be most severely tested. The reason the leadership struggle had to be waged was because, as posited here previously, the shutdown battle also must ultimately be had, or at least credibly threatened.

And not just to fulfill the speaker’s pledges to restore “predictable processes,” “the regular order,” and “trust, transparency, accountability” and “good stewardship.” But also to bring to heel a government gone rogue and riding roughshod over the rights, liberties, and dreams of Americans.

It’s fitting that the climax of Speaker Johnson’s address was a clarion cry: “Let the enemies of freedom around the world hear us loud and clear: The people’s house is back in business.”

Because it’s also a message the enemies of freedom here at home, especially across the House aisle, need to hear and have acted upon, deploying the full power of the purse.

The great news: it’s a message more likely to come, and credibly, from The Gipper II than from Fredo, Part II.

Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist, and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.



  • Mr. Maistros writes: “Whatever one might think of his ethics and demeanor, the actions of the allegedly slimy Gaetz have been fully vindicated.”

    Like with President Trump Gaetz was reviled by the reporters, readers and viewers of the malignant MSM. He should wear this “rebuke” as a badge of honor.

    Rep. Gaetz identified and recognized this country’s most vicious and implacable threat: Our rising and implacable deficit and debt. More importantly, he tried to do something about it. More importantly still: He succeeded!

    Thank you Mr. Gaetz.

    And notice, by the way, how the press reviled someone else in the same way. Is this just a coincidence? This is the way they go after President Trump.

    Anything that is decent and common- sensical, clever, witty and spot-on is ridiculed in and by most in the MSM press. And those who oppose their conclusions are mocked and derided.

    Thank God for President Trump and for Matt Gaetz!

    • “Thank you Mr. Gaetz.”
      For what?
      The shellacking we took in the elections?
      Gaetz and that gang of 8 who joined EVERY democrat in the House to oust McCarthy were the absolute cause of the dismal results we just witnessed.
      We had a chance to move forward a little against the dems, but Gaetz just couldn’t contain his ego for three weeks.
      “Damn you Mr. Gaetz.”

  • The extreme Evangelistic Christianity that drives Mike Johnson’s thinking and polices is a serious concern.

    Recall we all have Freedom of Religion which means Freedom from the religious doctrines from others. However, the Evangelists, who have highjacked and distorted the normally tolerant and balanced Republican Party for a decade or so, may drive the balanced Republicans and balanced Democrats, too, to seek non-extremist, moderate and balanced leaders over at the “No Labels” Party.

    Does swapping a Devout Catholic, Pelosi, who paraded her insufferable self righteousness, lording it over everyone else as Speaker, for an equally self righteous, and probably insufferable Evangelistic Christian, represent the majority of voters from the two parties; voters who recoil from and are offended by the sanctimonious extremism of both parties?

    If Mike Johnson can restrain his religious doctrines to within his church’s walls, he might have promise; though as with Pelosi, their religions seem to hold each entranced, compelling them to force their religious doctrines, like missionaries, on the rest of the nation. That is clearly unconstitutional, contrary to every citizen’s Freedom of Religion and will imperil this new Speaker.

    • There is nothing extreme about Mike Johnson, just truth. There is nothing devout about Nancy Pelosi’s Catholicism. She is a corrupt, evil heretic who plundered the country for wealth. Gardner, your thoughts are without any merit or insight. Go find new sources of thought and information to open your brain to reality.

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!