Mike Johnson keeps calm: Questions remain about governing a small and unruly GOP caucus

“Like Saturn,” wrote the Genevan journalist Jacques Mallet du Pan, “the Revolution devours its own children.” For a few fateful weeks, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) looked like he was the next entree on the menu.

The House Republican majority was hanging by a thread. Johnson’s grasp on the speaker’s gavel looked just as tenuous. Republican lawmakers were clamoring for the 52–year-old’s ouster. “This is not personal against Mike Johnson,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told reporters in March. “He’s a very good man. And I have respect for him as a person. But he is not doing the job.”

Although there was little indication that this was the majority sentiment within the House Republican Conference, it didn’t need to be. It took just eight Republicans to bring down the last speaker, paving the way for Johnson’s improbable ascent. But then, just
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