GOP House Freedom Caucus folds like a cheap suit for Paul Ryan

McConnell'sBusThe GOP House Freedom Caucus is like the dog who chases cars. There is no doubt that the dog can catch the car, but what is the dog going to do when it catches it?

They never really thought about what comes next.

The GOP House Freedom Caucus chased the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, into resigning rather than face a divisive vote over a motion to vacate the chair. It then chased the House GOP’s number two, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, into withdrawing from running for Speaker because he did not have their support.

The House Freedom Caucus endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster for speaker. According to the GOP House Freedom Caucus rules, it takes the support of four-fifths of the caucus members to secure their endorsement.

But Daniel Webster does not have the support of the full GOP Caucus.

The GOP establishment has settled on the GOP’s alleged boy genius, Ayn Rand fanboy Rep. Paul Ryan, the “zombie-eyed grannie starver from Wisconsin.” As far-right as The Flimflam Man is, he wasn’t far-right enough for the wild-eyed radical extremists of the GOP House Freedom Caucus. Conservatives oppose Paul Ryan for Speaker.

But the GOP House Freedom Caucus folded like a  cheap suit on Wednesday night, because they do not have any viable alternative candidate for Speaker. House Seems to Clear a Path for Paul Ryan:

While [Paul Ryan] did not secure the formal endorsement of the hard-right Freedom Caucus on Wednesday night, Mr. Ryan appeared to get the backing of a supermajority of its members, enough for him to call it a positive step for a Republican unity — one of his chief conditions for running.

So has the GOP House Freedom Caucus rescinded its prior endorsement of Rep. Daniel Webster, who says that he is still running for Speaker? Webster says the Freedom Caucus to stick with me for speaker (video). And if the GOP House Freedom Caucus is releasing its members from its endorsement of Daniel Webster, what good is their word or their endorsement?

He still has to receive the backing of a few other factions of House Republicans, but that seems very likely to come on Thursday, a day before Mr. Ryan’s self-imposed deadline for bringing together the party behind him.

Perhaps the only remaining impediment for Mr. Ryan is time. The internal party election is not scheduled until next Wednesday, followed by a vote on the floor the next day. The delay could allow outside conservative groups time to build opposition to Mr. Ryan, but, for the moment, he seems in command.

The Washington Post adds, Paul Ryan Wins Backing of Majority in Freedom Caucus for House Speaker:

A strong majority of anti-establishment conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus voted on Wednesday night to support Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin for House speaker, assuring that he will have the votes to secure the post next week and averting a leadership crisis for Republicans.

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While the vote fell short of the four-fifths majority required for the Freedom Caucus to deliver its official endorsement, lawmakers said it did deliver the party unity that Mr. Ryan had set as a condition for accepting the position.

In a statement, the Freedom Caucus said its members had disagreed with one another about other conditions Mr. Ryan had set for serving as speaker. “While no consensus exists among members of the House Freedom Caucus regarding Chairman Ryan’s preconditions for serving,” the group said in its statement, “we believe that these issues can be resolved within our conference in due time.”

The group added, “We all know that Washington needs to change the way it does business, and we look forward to working with Paul and all our colleagues to enact process reforms that empower individual representatives and restore respect to our institution.”

Two other party factions are expected to formally give their support by Friday, meaning that Mr. Ryan will be selected as the Republican nominee next Wednesday and officially affirmed as speaker in a floor vote the next day.

One hard-liner, Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho, said that roughly two-thirds of the Freedom Caucus had pledged to vote for Mr. Ryan for speaker, and he called the outcome an “offer of support.”

Mr. Labrador, however, also warned that the group’s backing was far from unconditional.

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The vote by the Freedom Caucus seemed to effectively end a leadership crisis that has thrown the House into disarray over the last few weeks.

So the GOP has settled on a reluctant Speaker — Paul Ryan has consistently said that he does not want the job — but he will be drafted into service because out of the 247 GOP members of the House, we are told that he is the “only one” who can lead the GOP Caucus.

I cannot recall any time in recent history that there are not at least a dozen members of the House who imagine themselves becoming Speaker of the House. The fact that no qualified individual wants to be Speaker of the House and is acceptable to their Caucus is emblematic of the deep dysfunction in the House caused by these far-right Tea-Publicans.

Paul Ryan is going to face the same mutinous dysfunction from these far-right Tea-Publicans. Ryan does not want the job and is not constitutionally well-suited for the job.  The GOP House Freedom Caucus is going to eat him alive. And the country is going to suffer for it.

UPDATE: So what did Paul Ryan promise the GOP House Freedom Caucus? POLITICO Tiger Beat on the Potomac reports, How Ryan conquered the Freedom Caucus:

Ryan agreed with much of what they were saying. In principle, anyway.

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Restructure the powerful House Republican Steering Committee so it better represents the membership? Broadly speaking, it made sense, Ryan told the two-dozen members gathered in his Capitol office suite — and it could happen quite quickly. He never loved the makeup of the panel, anyway.

Ryan, who has headed two committees, also liked their idea of empowering chairmen. He said he would not advance contentious bills without support from a majority of the majority of the House Republican Conference — adhering to the much-talked-about Hastert rule. Ryan said he wouldn’t pursue immigration reform while President Barack Obama is in office, and vowed that any immigration-related legislation would have to adhere to the Hastert rule.

Discuss sweeping changes to the House rules? Change the way committee chairs are elected? There are a lot of good ideas, Ryan said, and they all merit a broader conversation with all Republicans. Ryan made it clear that groups like the Freedom Caucus would have a place at the table in Ryan’s speakership; they would have buy-in.

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At the same time, Ryan’s message was simple: Take it or leave it. He wouldn’t negotiate the specifics of any of these reforms in the context of a leadership election. But he was sending signals that he was willing to do things differently.

The Hastert Rule signals trouble in the days ahead for raising the federal debt ceiling by November 3.

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