"Extraordinary theater." That's how UMass Dartmouth Political Science Professor Ken Manning describes what went on last week in the U.S House of Representatives in Washington.

Members of the House gathered to elect a new speaker, a process that usually takes one day. Instead, viewers of C-SPAN and cable news networks were treated to days of drawn-out nominating speeches, never-ending votes, lobbying on the floor of Congress, finger-pointing, and one lawmaker almost physically attacking another.

Finally, early Saturday morning, Kevin McCarthy (R-California) garnered the necessary votes to secure the speakership, but it left viewers wondering if the House will come together this session to pass any meaningful legislation.

Professor Manning, head of the Political Science Department at UMD, visited Townsquare Sunday this week to sort it all out.

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A group of about 20 ultra-conservative Republican members blocked McCarthy's election for days, forcing him to make concessions on rules and chairmanships.

Manning said even beyond the 20, there is probably a significant number of Republican members who voted for McCarthy but probably do not have the greatest confidence in him.

"There's clearly a deep suspicion about the Republican leadership in the House," Manning said. "Ultimately McCarthy prevailed and got the votes to be speaker, but it's going to be tough going for him."

Professor Manning also weighed in on the discovery of classified documents in President Joe Biden's home, garage and in a building he occupied as vice president.

Manning said the incident should not be compared with the classified documents found at Donald Trump's Florida resort.

Biden's attorneys immediately turned over any documents they found. Trump, however, stonewalled, prompting the FBI to raid his home. Manning said the Biden episode is a political problem for the president, while the Trump incident is a legal problem for the former president.

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday on WBSM at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. The program highlights individuals and organizations working to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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