|Who, me? Photo via Vice.|
CNN host Manu Raju asked Ryan how he dealt with the warring factions in the House's GOP majority differently than his predecessor had. "I think I do it better," Ryan said. "Not to knock John, but, um I spend more time with all of our members on a continual basis."Uh, Paul? That's not what I hear from David Dayen:
Six months after Ryan took the Speaker’s gavel, the barn is dirty again, and he’s shown himself to be a demonstrably worse leader than Boehner. Not only has the entire agenda he laid outat the beginning of the year fizzled, but Ryan cannot get agreement on emergency measures, which even the most gridlocked Congresses of the past could manage.He may spend more time schmoozing with members, but it's not getting anything done.
Ryan is demonstrably more incompetent than Boehner was, as it turns out. Or more incompetent than Boehner was in the last year of his speakership, at any rate. Actually I think Dayen's being a little unfair. Boehner was about as incompetent as you could possibly be over most of his five years in the office, from 2011 to 2015, and for the same reasons: because the "Freedom Caucus" of House Republicans had the power to throw him out of it, and they didn't want him to accomplish anything because that might make the president look good, so that as long as he wanted to stay in the job more than he wanted to accomplish something, he was stuck.
Until he finally got fed up, you know, and decided to accomplish something anyway—by breaking the "Hastert Rule" according to which it's not legitimate for a Republican speaker to pass legislation without a majority of Republican votes. Upon which, of course, he pushed a bunch of bills through on Democratic support and resigned, in the knowledge that the "Freedom Caucus" wouldn't let him stay on:
By the end, Boehner had come to hate the House Freedom Caucus, the far-right cabal that brought on his ouster through its relentless opposition to compromise. But Ryan merely fears the Freedom Caucusers, unwilling to cross them by championing legislation they don’t like. And with the extreme right flank having an effective veto on the process, nothing of consequence can move.
Ryan's just cresting at the high-water 2012 Boehner Incompetence mark. Give him time! He'll work his way down to the 2015 Boehner Incompetence mark as soon as he's ready to quit or get fired, maybe as early as next year sometime.
Or maybe-just-maybe we could fire him first, in November, by electing a House in which the "Freedom Caucus" doesn't have any power. It's really hard, given the pervasive gerrymandering of the districts across the country, but look at all the Republicans are doing to help, in the poison-vs.-gunshot presidential primary!
Can we please start thinking about that? I realize the presidential contest is sexier, but if you really want that political revolution, Congress is where it has to happen.