After three weeks of pointless but embarrassing intrigue, House Republicans finally hit on a consensus nominee for Speaker. Congratulations to 51-year-old Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, who with a 220-209 vote Wednesday won the unenviable job of herding the cats, snakes and peacocks in the GOP menagerie.
The question is whether the Republican malcontents will let him govern in a way they refused his deposed predecessor, Kevin McCarthy. It won’t take long to find out. Government funding expires Nov. 17, and America’s friends in Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan need military help to defend themselves.
Mr. Johnson was first elected in 2016, representing a district that voted for Donald Trump by double digits. The optimistic case is that he might have the credibility on the right to get the GOP’s narrow majority to accept the modest wins of divided government. Maybe it will take a Speaker like Mr. Johnson to convince the disruptive Republican rump that accepting partial victory is better than a government shutdown or an eventual spending omnibus.