Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: The House is a mess

Jill Lawrence:

Six ways the House GOP leadership crisis could end
2. The GOP tries for a Tea Party-establishment hybrid. This is the Paul Ryan option. The austere budgets crafted by the former Budget Committee chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee made him a conservative hero. But Ryan is a deal-maker. His most famous deal, the 2013 budget agreement he worked out with Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, expires Dec. 11 and must be replaced. Dent said Ryan would have to collaborate with Democrats to accomplish anything — but if he does, “he will have his legs taken out by some of his own members.” Already the Tea Party Patriots group has branded him a Ryno (a personalized variation of RINO, or “Republican in name only”).

Not surprisingly, Ryan is unenthused about the job. As speaker, he wouldn’t see much of his young family. He’d lose his chance

rewrite the tax code as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He might lose his best shot at the presidency. As the national face of conservatism, he could even lose his Wisconsin House seat. His hometown and home county are heavily Democratic, and though he and Mitt Romney won the district in 2012, it went for Obama in 2008.

Yesterday’s list of demands from Ryan (who would run if they are granted) doesn’t change the gist of the article, which is not going to shelter Ryan from his dysfunctional caucus.
Charlie Cook:

Even if Ry­an as­sents, however, the path to the speak­er­ship might re­quire con­ces­sions to the Re­fuseniks that he would be un­will­ing to make. One Free­dom Caucus de­mand is to co­di­fy the so-called Hastert Rule, re­quir­ing that a ma­jor­ity of the cham­ber’s Re­pub­lic­ans sup­port a meas­ure be­fore the full House can con­sider it. This would change the House to one in which a plur­al­ity, not a ma­jor­ity, rules. Noth­ing could pass the House without ap­prov­al from 124 Re­pub­lic­ans, the barest ma­jor­ity of the cham­ber’s 247 Re­pub­lic­ans, ef­fect­ively mov­ing the ideo­lo­gic­al cen­ter of grav­ity to the right. This would fur­ther mar­gin­al­ize the House, already the most ideo­lo­gic­al part of the elec­ted gov­ern­ment.
Here’s the di­lemma for House Re­pub­lic­ans. The Re­fuseniks have made it clear that they won’t ac­cept an es­tab­lish­ment choice, with the pos­sible—though not cer­tain—ex­cep­tion of Ry­an. Un­stated, but equally true, is that a much lar­ger num­ber of main­stream Re­pub­lic­ans won’t ac­cept any­one from the Free­dom Caucus or sym­path­et­ic to it. Not want­ing the tail to wag the dog, they’re un­will­ing to give in to what they see as a few dozen mem­bers tak­ing the speak­er­ship host­age. The GOP’s ma­jor­ity is pretty firmly en­trenched, but a sure­fire way to be­come a minor­ity again is for the House to ad­opt the Free­dom Caucus’s agenda. Keep in mind that the elect­or­ate next year, when the pres­id­ency is on the bal­lot, is very dif­fer­ent from the older, whiter, more-con­ser­vat­ive, and more-Re­pub­lic­an voters who gave the GOP an im­press­ive ma­jor­ity in 2014.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Leave a Reply