The Next Republican Speaker of the House

Major Frank Burns is perfect for the job. He‘s already had a spine-ectomy.

Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster
Civil Politics


Major Frank Burns. Fair Use screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

The Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have admitted they’ll need to replace the current Speaker, Mike Johnson. Congressman Chip Roy knows Johnson is going to botch the appropriations bills. “I don’t know why we would keep him as speaker,”¹ he said. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene believes Johnson will “trade $60 billion for Ukraine for our country’s border security. I’ll fight it, even if I have to vacate the chair.”² Congressman Warren Davidson thinks Johnson “should have never been hired” in the first place.³ “We should have elected a jellyfish. It hasn’t got a backbone. That makes it the perfect species for the job!”

In theory, it should be easy for the Republicans to find another Speaker. The job has only a few requirements. Their Speaker has to be a brown-noser. An ass-scratcher. A backslapper and bootlicker. Most of all, he has to be Trump’s toady. His fawner and flatterer. Groveler and kowtower. Flunky, lackey, and lickspittle. Every Republican in the House has done those things. Trouble is, none of them can get enough votes to be Speaker.

Fortunately, the Speaker need not be a member of the House.⁴ So the Republicans took Congressman Davidson’s suggestion and interviewed a jellyfish. But though it lacks a spine, the jellyfish had enough backbone to reject their demand that it put fealty to Trump ahead of its oath to defend the Constitution.

The Republicans adjusted the scope of their search: they limited it to humans, but expanded it to include fictional ones. As a result, they identified three TV and movie characters who are qualified to be Speaker, and invited them to the Capitol for job interviews.

The first candidate was Dwight Schrute.⁵ Dwight is the assistant to the regional manager of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company on the television show The Office.

Dwight has an impressive résumé by Republican standards. He’s a businessman: besides his job at Dunder Mifflin, Dwight is the landlord for its Scranton, Pennsylvania branch. He works in law enforcement: Dwight is a volunteer deputy sheriff for Lackawanna County. And he has government experience: Dwight’s a notary public.

Dwight made a bold promise. If elected Speaker, he’ll achieve one of the Republicans’ most important goals: cut Medicare costs. Where to start? Toilet paper. Dwight reduced the cost of his building’s restrooms by stocking them with half-ply TP. He’ll pass a bill requiring hospitals to do the same. “They’ll whine about it”, said Dwight. “Tough tampons! (Which will also be half-ply.) I don’t care if you think skinny TP isn’t good enough for your anus. Don’t get me started on how coddled the modern anus is!⁶ And while we’re at it,” said Dwight, “hospitals will have to use half-ply bandages and adult diapers.”

Another opportunity for cost reductions: life-support equipment. “It uses too much electricity,“ said Dwight. “With the electricity we’re using to keep [one patient] alive, we could power a small fan for two days.”⁷

Dwight will also slash the cost of long-term patient care. An obvious way: stop reimbursements for flowers in their rooms. “[Why] get flowers for someone who’s in a coma?” he asked. “They’ll wilt before he wakes up.”⁸

Dwight Schrute cutting Medicare costs by eliminating hospital blinds. Photo by Fisherjen90 on Flickr.

Dwight realizes it’ll be a challenge to shepherd those bills through the House. But he knows what motivates Republican congressmen: going after their enemies. Jim Jordan, for example. Jordan never wrote a bill which was passed into law, despite having been in Congress since 2006.⁹ “Say that Jim is my enemy,” said Dwight. “But it turns out that Jim is also his own worst enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. So Jim is actually my friend. But, because he is his own worst enemy, the enemy of my friend is my enemy. So actually, Jim is my enemy.”¹⁰

Besides legislating, Dwight will use the Speaker’s office to attract voters who lean Democratic. His first target will be suburban soccer moms. He’ll win them over with something he has which other Republicans don’t: empathy. ”I’ll tell them I wish I could menstruate,” said Dwight. “Because if I could menstruate, I wouldn’t have to deal with idiotic calendars anymore. I’d just be able to count down from my previous cycle.”¹¹

Finally, Dwight understands the importance of keeping Trump happy. He’ll support Trump’s pet project: repeal Obamacare.¹² Only Dwight won’t replace it. Because “in the wild, there is no healthcare. In the wild, healthcare is ‘Ow, I hurt my leg. I can’t run. A lion eats me. I’m dead.’”¹³

The Republicans were dazzled by Dwight’s ideas. Nonetheless, they rejected him because he was unfamiliar with foreign policy. ”I wonder if king-sized sheets [in America] are called presidential-sized in England,” he said.¹⁴

The second candidate was Gríma Wormtongue,¹⁵ the senior advisor to King Théoden of Rohan in The Lord of the Rings. Wormtongue had the inside track because he not only supports Trump’s goals, he almost achieved some of them. Trump wants to withdraw from NATO. Wormtongue almost got King Théoden to break Rohan’s alliance with Gondor. Trump wants to stop the transfer of arms to Ukraine. Wormtongue almost ended the transfer of spears to Minas Tirith. Trump wants to suppress the votes of groups which lean Democratic. Wormtongue actually did it to the Ents, the tree-people of Middle-earth, by paying Orcs to chop them down. Wormtongue even shares Trump’s sexual proclivities. He tried to boink Éowyn, the shieldmaiden of Rohan, and the horse she rode in on.

Nonetheless, the Republicans disqualified Wormtongue. He’s from the Third Age of Middle-earth. As a result, he lacks a skill which is essential to getting anything done in the House: Wormtongue doesn’t know how to drive a clown car.

Wormtongue (left) conferring with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Wikipedia.

That leaves the person who will become the Speaker after the Republicans dump Mike Johnson: Major Frank Burns, a character on the TV show M*A*S*H*.¹⁶

Frank was a surgeon at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. Clearly, he stood apart from his peers. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake, Frank’s commanding officer, introduced him to colleagues by saying “This is Frank Burns, one of our surgeons. A real killer.”¹⁷ The folks back home where Frank practiced medicine had the same regard for his abilities. Every Christmas, for instance, Frank received a thank-you note from the local mortician.¹⁶

Frank was the 4077th’s commanding officer for a short time. Even so, Frank demonstrated that he’s a meticulous leader. During a hygiene inspection, the company clerk affirmed that he brushed his teeth after every meal. “That’s not good enough,” Frank barked. “I want it done before!”¹⁶

Frank impressed the House Republicans with his combat record. True, he never fired a shot at the enemy. But Frank engaged in combat with the 4077th’s LGBTQ activist, Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger. Klinger was just a crossdresser. Even so, Frank took every opportunity to thwart Klinger’s attempts to further the LGBTQ agenda. For example, Frank ordered Klinger to use only foxholes which correspond to his gender at birth.

Major Frank Burns (right) dressing down Corporal Klinger. Fair Use screenshot by Catherine La Grange.

The Republicans were pleased to learn that Frank’s opinions are the same as their own.

  • His attitude toward other countries: “I personally have nothing against [Korea], except that it’s filled with a bunch of foreigners.”¹⁶
  • His opinion of people who want the government to provide health care: “I’m sick of hearing about the wounded. What about all the thousands of wonderful guys who are fighting this war without any of the credit, [versus] the glory that goes to those lucky few who just happen to get shot?”¹⁸
  • His belief that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be eliminated. Because “I believe every man has a right to be poor.”¹⁶

That said, Frank was chosen to be the next Speaker because he understands what the Republicans need to do. “I realize we’re all individuals,” said Frank. “Individuality is fine, so long as everybody’s doing it together.¹⁹ What should we be doing? Obey Trump. Unless we each conform, unless we obey orders, unless we follow [Trump] blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.²⁰ We need to go where Trump directs us to go. Like lemmings must be directed to the sea.”²¹

House Republicans gathering on a cliff above the sea for a team-building exercise. Photo by Mirna Lerotic on Flickr.

[1]: “House members begin to game out a Mike Johnson ouster attempt”, Axios,

[2]: “Johnson could face GOP retribution after House passes stopgap funding bill”, Spectrum News NY1,

[3]: X,

[4]: “House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House”, Chapter 34 — Office of the Speaker, Section 3 — Election, Speaker Chosen from Members, U. S. Government Printing Office,

[5]: Dwight Schrute, Wikipedia,

[6]: The Office, TV Quotes,

[7]: “TV Quote from The Office: Fun Run”, Quotational,

[8]: The Office, TV Quotes,

[9]: “Jim Jordan’s remarkably thin legislative track record”, The Washington Post,

[10]: “The Office: Jim is my enemy”, TV Fanatic,

[11]: “The Office: I wish I could menstruate,” TV Fanatic,

[12]: “Trump says he will renew efforts to replace ‘Obamacare’ if he wins a second term”, AP News,

[13]: “The Office, Dwight Schrute, In the wild”, Quotes,

[14]: “The Office. I wonder if king size sheets”, TV Fanatic,

[15]: Gríma Wormtongue, Wikipedia,íma_Wormtongue

[16]: Major Frank Burns, The Monster M*A*S*H* Wiki,

[17]: “Henry Quotes”, Yet Another M*A*S*H* Page On The Net,

[18]: “Frank Burns”, Quotes,

[19]: “Frank Burns”, Quotes,

[20]: “Frank Burns”, Quotes,

[21]: “Skillful Turns of Phrase”, Mere Inkling Press,



Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster
Civil Politics

Retired high school social studies teacher in Michigan’s Up North. I’m a Presbyterian spinster, but I’m no Angel.