October 23, 2015
Paul Ryan said that he had no interest in being Speaker of the House. Although he is very conservative, he may not be conservative for the Freedom Caucus and other extreme right wing Republicans in the House of Representatives.
When it appeared no one was going to satisfy everyone, a number of people suggested Ryan. He still said no, probably smartly because right now it looks like it would be hard for anyone to keep the House in order. It is almost like there are two Republican Parties and they are at war with each other. However, with pressure mounting, Ryan said he might do it if everyone was in agreement and willing to work together. (Sorry Paul, but fat chance.)
Ryan Has the Votes?
This Wednesday it looks as if Ryan now has enough votes to lock up the election. He would get some but not all of the votes from the Freedom Caucus. He had been looking for a unanimous vote. Now apparently he is thinking that this might be good enough.
Interestingly, this is almost back where we were with Boehner. The exception is that Boehner could have been elected but because the Freedom Caucus wouldn’t vote for him, he would have needed Democratic votes to get in. Something he didn’t want. Besides other problems and gaffes, this was Kevin McCarthy’s problem as well. It appears that Ryan can now get elected with just Republican votes.
A Split or More Intransigence?
Interestingly, all of this may have caused a split within the Freedom Caucus and made it a little bit less coherent and a bit less to be feared? Yet at the same time, outside conservative groups are starting to push back against Ryan. Republican voters are in a feisty mood as well. A recent poll showed a desire for a new Speaker who is not quick to compromise. They don’t even care if it leads to a government shut down. (We thought politics was about the art of the compromise. Not, I will go home if I don’t get my way.)
The Freedom Caucus wants some changes that decreases the power of the Speaker. Ryan may be willing to go along with some but wants something in return. He wants to make it harder to have a procedural vote to oust the Speaker. This is what happened to Boehner and the conservatives consider it one of their most potent weapons. Ryan has told some of his compatriots that he doesn’t mind getting shot from the front but he doesn’t want to get shot from the back. Still an interesting circus.