While the House Judiciary Committee was conducting official business the Republican Party objected to on entirely political grounds, meaning that the investigation would uncover republican criminality and corruption they wish to leave covered, one representative, Louie Gohmert decided that he would disrupt the hearing by making noise. When confronted about this, he stated “Then there’s no rules about when you can make noise“
So what does this have to do with Air Bud? Oddly enough, I think you can understand a lot about the GOP by watching Air Bud.
If you’ve never seen it, Air Bud is a 1997 Disney Movie about a dog named Buddy who can play basketball. And as Disney plot mechanics demand, Buddy is a truly good boy when it comes to playing basketball. The conceit is that Buddy gets to play and win an important championship game because there is technically no rule about dogs playing basketball.
While that is certainly true, there is no reason to think that Springfield Massachusetts’ Dr. Naismith had intended that his game would include canine athletes when he invented the game in 1891.
Let’s get back to Louie Gohmert. While it is true that there may not be an explicit rule about making noise by taping a microphone, there is also no reason to think the founders had intended that disruption of the procedure would be the way to object to a witness going long a few minutes long in his testimony to congress.
In the same vein, there was no rule about a standing filibuster. No rule about having multiple Benghazi investigations after the first failed to uncover criminality. No rule about having an impeachment without witnesses. And so on. Sure, there are norms about these things but not explicit rules. And like in Air Bud, there is no reason to think the founders intended the legislature would work this way.
John DiIulio called them Mayberry Machiavelli in 2002, telling Ron Suskind
What you’ve got is everything—and I mean everything—being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.
In 2012’s Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann described the issue in It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the Politics of Extremism describing
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
While Louie Gohmert is most certainly an idiot, it would be wrong to dismiss this as just idiocy. Louie Gohmert didn’t even bother to ask the witness any questions because Gohmert wasn’t thinking about the witness. When you look at Air Bud as being a deliberate norm destruction tactic because they are focused on GOP losses in November and other electoral objectives, this makes sense.