Thursday, October 22, 2015

Speaker Squeaker

Preparation for working with Ted Yoho. From Ryan's Twitter feed via Huffington Post, July 2013.
I've been so consistently wrong in everything I've suggested about the Speakership—in spite of a remarkable, even bewildering range and variety of ideas—that I haven't even been able to catch up with it. Even as the news began to arrive that young Paul Ryan was negotiating his acceptance of a draft, and my wrong began to coalesce with everyone else's, and the word was that the Freedomists had caved to all of his most tyrannical demands ("And you all have to say I took it on so I could spend more time with my family!"), I had an analysis half written in my head explaining how the Freedomists had definitively lost their game and their only interest henceforth was to hold on to a little face.

I still think they accepted Ryan in particular, as opposed to some normal candidate in the form of an older person with a proper patronage network*, strictly because he was the only person in the House that seemed adequately famous in the TV sense, I mean other than Pelosi, who wouldn't have suited. But it is clear that he was the one to concede on the most important issues, the rule change to make firing the Speaker more difficult, and the everlastingly stupid Hastert Rule (the legacy of one of the worst Speakers before Boehner took the title, overfriendly wrestling coach and blackmail victim Dennis Hastert), requiring that no bill be submitted to the House unless a majority of Republicans support it, giving the Freedominators an effective veto over any and all legislation.

In other words, the F-Caucus appears to have engineered the reconstruction of the same system they just destroyed when they drove out Boehner, in which legislation is nearly impossible to pass. The only difference will be, on the plus side, that Ryan will be spending his weekends making pancakes and noodling catfish instead of playing golf and getting soused, and on the minus side, that he will lack Boehner's wiliness. They must have chased out Boehner merely to demonstrate that they were serious. "No more government, and we mean it!"

Although their victory will be hard to ascertain for sure, since they will continue whining and telling everybody they've been stabbed in the back.

Long ago, yesterday or so, I thought Ryan was showing some actual grit in insisting he wouldn't take the job unless he had the means of doing it, but alas, he's given in to the temptation of getting addressed as Mister Speaker, and that extra $50 K, and so that's that. I hope they've given him permission to raise the debt ceiling.

*Ryan has a traditional jumping-off leadership position, as chairman of the Ways and Means committee for the past 10 months, and a serious patronage network though his PAC,  Prosperity Action, distributing just shy of $188,000 to candidates so for in the 2016 election cycle, but of the 35 House candidates he has been feeding, only one, Alex Mooney of West Virginia, is included in Wikipedia's list of 38 members of the Freedom Caucus—no idea what that means, actually, but it seems the Freedomaniacs as a group are not accustomed as of yet to feeling the warmth of Ryan's eager love.
Ted Yoho (R-FL), via Dangduteroke, apparently dodging an angry eagle.
Cross-posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.

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