The net is tightening around Jimbo. As more damning text messages, testimony and phone call records encircle the pint-sized pol from Urbana, Jim Jordan should be breaking out in a cold sweat. The 4th District U.S. congressman should be squirming in his shirt sleeves with each new revelation trickling out about his behind-the-scenes treachery leading up to and including Jan. 6.
After all, a sitting member of Congress publicly exposed as a central player in a nefarious plot to overturn a certified election should be toast, right? Someone who willfully chose loyalty to a megalomaniac over allegiance to country should be forced to slink into oblivion as a scorned turncoat, right? Jordan, we are fast learning, was deeply involved in the attempted coup to overthrow our government of the people. He conspired to cancel the 2020 votes cast by millions of his fellow Americans and reverse the outcome of a decided election for his Il Duce.
What the Ohio Republican did was nothing short of treasonous and we don’t know the half of it — yet.
But Jordan doesn’t care what the select U.S. House committee investigating Jan. 6 finds out about his dirty work to destroy the democracy he swore to support and defend. Not at all. You may be stunned by new disclosures of how far he was willing to go to keep a loser in power, his overtures to the White House, furtive meetings with fellow plotters to circumvent the Constitution, forwarded plans to have the vice president unilaterally determine the results of the 2020 election by refusing to count the certified electoral votes of the winner.
You may find it appalling that little Jordan was in the loop on every underhanded scheme to seize a second term for a president who vowed to never accept the consequences of an election he lost. You may be rightly alarmed at the fascist plans Jordan considered to nullify an election defeat and put the Constitution on the run — from (fake) electors casting votes for Trump in states that went to Biden to confiscating voting machines and a chilling Reichstag reach with martial law.
But the Ohio Republican is loving the limelight. He doesn’t care what context his name is mentioned in so long as it’s mentioned. That’s been his MO from the beginning. Get noticed. Disrupt. Attack. Rinse and repeat. Grab attention, not for doing anything in 15 years to improve life for constituents, but for performing for rolling TV cameras. The drama queen even concocted a distinctive wardrobe look to be conspicuous among a sea of suits.
His self-serving theatrics worked. Jordan wormed his way into a national profile with lots of juvenile foot stamping. He saw an opportunity to tether his political ambitions to another TV performer, who also craved attention, and became Trump’s pet toady on the road to infamy. Proximity to power was a heady trip for Jordan. It was a short leap from craven sycophant to coup plotter.
He’s already salivating about the show he’ll put on as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when (as expected) Republicans take back the chamber in November. Maybe he’ll make a bid for speaker if Kevin McCarthy goes down in flames. Jordan is clearly fantasizing about his rising political fortunes. He doesn’t care a whit about fallout from his betrayal of democratic principles that hold free and fair elections sacrosanct.
What does Jordan have to fear? Not the Democrats in fleeting power. Not the Jan. 6 committee. Not Ohio voters he can take for granted in his gerrymandered district. Certainly, not the party base tithed to Trump. Jordan secured his MAGA bona fides by trying to steal an election for the Dear Leader, for Pete’s sake.
He never stopped lying about the 2020 vote being rigged. Never stopped lying about his extensive complicity in a coup. Claimed to be an outlier. Couldn’t recall who he talked to or when. Lies. Dismissed the probe as a witch hunt. Refused to cooperate. Said questions about his apparently major role in overthrowing democracy violated “core constitutional principles.”
Dripping irony aside, Jordan is as fearless about being held accountable for Jan. 6 as Donald Trump. The smug congressman is answerable to no one. Untouchable. He doesn’t care that mounting evidence (phone calls, text messages, secret plans) puts him front and center in the cabal that tried to overturn an election. Like his exiled wannabe Mussolini, Jordan only cares about himself, his prominence, his intoxicating spotlight.
No doubt the unrestrained, unaccountable pol is already plotting paybacks, explosive committee hearings, invented scandals and a level of made-for-TV histrionics that will pave the way for 2024 for a return of you-know-who and the end of democracy as we know it. Freaked out? You should be because Jordan isn’t stopping.
He could erect billboards throughout his safe district with the words “I don’t care” splayed across in giant letters and still skate to reelection by a 2-1 margin. He doesn’t care about representative government. He tried to overturn it. But voters do — or should — if they have any hope of keeping their republic. It won’t happen without care.
Marilou Johanek is a veteran Ohio print and broadcast journalist who has covered state and national politics as a longtime newspaper editorial writer and columnist.
This commentary was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and is republished here with permission.