The conventional wisdom (CW) Beltway media villager headline today is a version of this: Ryan tells GOP he’ll run for Speaker — with conditions.
The Beltway media villagers are the GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy’s political fan base; they have deemed him a “very serious person” (VSP), ignoring the entirely obvious that The Flimflam Man is an intellectual and economic fraud.
Ryan is in no position to make demands. The far-right Republican Study Group and the even farther-far-right GOP House Freedom Caucus are the one’s making demands now, and they are not as enamoured with Ryan as are his Beltway media villager fan base.
The Hill today has the headline that you are not seeing reported in your local newspapers. GOP to elect Speaker next week; conservatives skeptical of Ryan:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is getting a cool reception from House conservatives, whom he said must endorse him before he’ll agree to run for Speaker.
Leaders of the House Freedom Caucus and their conservative allies said Wednesday they’re turned off by the list of conditions Ryan said must be met before he launches a bid for the top post.
In addition to backing from three major GOP caucuses, Ryan wants assurances he could cut back on fundraising trips so he can spend more time with his family and promises that conservatives won’t try to oust him from power.
“It’s like interviewing a maid for a job and she says, ‘I don’t clean windows, I don’t do floors, I don’t do beds, these are the hours I’ll work.’ It’s rubbing a lot of people the wrong way,” Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), a co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, told The Hill.
Ryan, the chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, is expected to meet Wednesday with both the Freedom Caucus and the 170-member Republican Study Committee (RSC). He’s also expected to meet with the centrist Tuesday Group at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a Freedom Caucus member, said Ryan was asked during the RSC meeting about changing the rules for a motion to vacate the chair. That motion forces a referendum vote on the Speaker.
Ryan did not offer specifics, according to Fleming, but indicated he wouldn’t do away with the motion entirely.
“He just said he would like to see the threshold changed,” Fleming said.
Republicans will hold an internal election to nominate a new Speaker on Oct. 28, two days before Speaker John Boehner plans to resign from Congress, the Ohio Republican told GOP lawmakers in a closed-door meeting Wednesday. If the conference picks a nominee, a formal floor vote will take place Oct. 29.
Note: This GOP leadership vote is scheduled to take place just hours before the federal highway trust runs out of money, and the federal debt ceiling needs to be raised on November 3 to prevent a default on the good faith and credit of the United States. This is what Congress should be working on, not internal GOP political infighting.
Rep. Daniel Webster, who was the first GOP Speaker of the Florida state House, is the only other declared candidate for Speaker. Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) dropped out of the race and endorsed Ryan after he announced his bid Tuesday night.
But if Ryan’s demands aren’t met by Friday and he drops out, it could set up a free-for-all for the job and throw the 247-member GOP conference back into turmoil.
Asked if there’s a Plan B if Ryan doesn’t run, Boehner paused before replying: “Don’t know.” But he expressed confidence that Ryan could secure endorsements from each of the major GOP factions.
Winning an endorsement from the Freedom Caucus will be a high hurdle for Ryan. The bloc of roughly 40 conservative hard-liners already has thrown its support behind Webster. For the group to switch allegiances, Ryan will need to win backing from four-fifths of Freedom Caucus members, according to internal rules.
Yet, some Freedom members are keeping an open mind and are waiting to hear directly from Ryan on Wednesday afternoon.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), a vocal leadership critic who chairs the Tea Party Caucus, said one red flag is Ryan’s warning he won’t sacrifice time away from his young family for lengthy fundraising tours.
“I don’t think the Speakership is a 9 to 5 job,” said Huelskamp, a Freedom Caucus member.
“You’ve got to work on weekends. John Boehner worked very hard … and I’m very concerned if you’re not going to work weekends in this job, which is primarily fundraising, then that could hurt the Republican majority.”
Conservatives also don’t want to lose any of their power to challenge the Speakership, Huelskamp warned — a shot at Ryan’s call for rule changes that “ensure we don’t experience constant leadership challenges and crisis.”
“I don’t think we should change that,” Huelskamp said, referring to the power of individual members to call a vote on vacating the Speakership. “And visiting with conservative members this morning, I think they generally agree.”
After Wednesday’s meeting, a number of conservatives who are not members of the Freedom Caucus signaled they would not back Ryan.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said he’s still supporting Webster. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) said he’s leaning strongly against supporting Ryan.
“It seems like to me that he apparently is the choice of John Boehner, [and] that’s not what the people of America want.” Asked if he can be convinced to come around to Ryan, Jones said, “I doubt it very seriously.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said of Ryan’s conditions: “I think that might have been a polite way of saying, ‘I don’t want the job.’ “
Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), another co-founder of the Freedom group, said it’s possible that Ryan can lay out a vision that allows members to get behind him.
“It’s fair to say that a number of people are open to him, yes, but it’s with some reservations,” Labrador said.
Labrador acknowledged that no member of the Freedom Caucus is a viable alternative to Ryan, but he insisted that was never the goal.
“This has never been about electing a member of the Freedom Caucus, we know we can’t get one of our members elected. But I think it’s pretty presumptuous to think that Paul Ryan is the only person who can win this.”
He mentioned Webster and Rep. Rob Bishop, the former speaker of the Utah state House, as good candidates.
Senate Minorty Leader Harry Reid, a master of trolling the GOP, said Tuesday he backs Ryan for GOP Speaker:
“Well he appears to me to be one of the people over there who would be reasonable,” he told reporters Tuesday. “Look at some of the other people. I’m a Paul Ryan fan. I don’t agree with him on much of what he does. … But generally speaking, I think we’ve been able to work with him.”
That’s going to leave a mark. The wild-eyed radical extremists of the GOP are all about no compromise, ever!
Conservative Republicans have suggested that Ryan would have some convincing to do if he were to decide on a run to succeed Boehner. Asked if a Reid endorsement of Ryan would hurt his chances, Reid shrugged, adding “I speak the truth.”
“If it helps him, fine; if it doesn’t, too bad,” he added.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had an intriguing offer. Pelosi: House Dems are ‘open’ to a bipartisan Speaker:
The underlying problem plaguing the chamber is that Republicans, at least for now, can’t seem to elect their own leader. There are 247 House GOP lawmakers, and 218 are needed to elevate the next Speaker, but there are enough right-wing Republicans to stand in mainstream candidates’ way.
And this has led to scuttlebutt about less-conservative Republicans turning to Democrats to pursue a bipartisan course. The underlying point is simple enough: if the GOP’s more mainstream wing can’t get the votes from their own party, they’ll turn to Democrats – disempowering the House Freedom Caucus in the process.
Democratic leaders have reportedly been cool to the idea – Republicans created this mess, so it’s up to them to clean it up – though Nancy Pelosi struck a different note over the weekend.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi signaled Saturday there could be “an openness” among at least some House Democrats to voting for a Republican speaker on the floor — and she suggested the GOP turmoil could help put Democrats back in charge come 2017.
“I think in our caucus there is interest and support. There’s an openness to a bipartisan approach to this,” Pelosi said in an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival.
I’m skeptical about whether this could ever come together, but the idea is slowly making the transition from academic exercise to real-world strategy.
Indeed, the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel noted over the weekend that some more moderate members – including Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), arguably the most enthusiastic proponent of the idea – “have been making calls” to members about a possible Coalition Speaker.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) added on Friday that if Paul Ryan definitely rules out a bid for Speaker, “we would have to consider having a coalition Speaker.”
Finally, there is this from the mythical moderate Republican wing of the GOP. Moderate Republicans’ Threat: Paul Ryan for Speaker—or We Quit:
Some Republicans are so desperate for Paul Ryan to step up as the next speaker of the House that they’ve started talking about retiring if he doesn’t, according to a group that works on behalf of the House GOP’s more moderate members.
After Ryan, those members have no second choice or even a second tier of potential speakers, said Sarah Chamberlain, chief operating and financial officer for the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group that backs “mainstream” Republicans and plans to spend millions helping them protect their House seats in 2016.
“Depending on how this shakes out, you may see some Main Street members retire,” Chamberlain said in an interview. “… They’re hoping for a Ryan-type candidate. But if it’s not and it becomes a huge mess, why be sitting here?”
The GOP is a political party entirely incapable of governing. It has gone off the deep end, just like Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have been warning. Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.