Quotes of the day

Texas Rep. Bill Flores is moving toward running for House speaker, and has sent a letter to his colleagues laying out what he sees as his qualifications.

But Flores, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, said in the letter that he “will not run for and/or I will withdraw from this race should Chairman [Paul] Ryan elect to run; and, I will give him my full support in this effort.”


Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is signaling he’s in no hurry to end the House GOP conference’s suspense.

House Republicans are waiting on tenterhooks for Ryan to decide whether he’ll run for Speaker and fill a gaping leadership vacuum…

Some Republicans are thinking up creative ideas to try to coax Ryan on.

“They are running a ton of stuff up the flagpole to see what works,” said one former GOP leadership aide.


Boehner, those familiar with the discussions between the two men say, has been making the case to Ryan that as speaker he could continue to work on the policy issues, such as tax and entitlement reform, that have been his passion on Ways and Means. Boehner and other Ryan proponents eager to get him to “yes” are telling him his role as speaker could be largely confined to crafting a long-term vision for the party, shaping a policy agenda, and delivering a public message through television appearances.‎

Echoing Boehner and McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told Ryan that he sees no other alternative for the speaker job, and has painted a somewhat apocalyptic short-term future if Ryan won’t accede. A failure to efficiently deal with the debt ceiling in November, or pass a resolution to fund the government in December could have serious repercussions for the party, McConnell argues, that could imperil the GOP’s hold on the Senate. It could also have an adverse impact on the party’s chances to win the White House, according to McConnell and other leading Republicans, who have talked to Ryan.

All the GOP leaders who are pressing Ryan say they see no alternative and worry that a weak or interim speaker would be a disaster, leaving the GOP balkanized with power devolving to committee chairs, whose rise would only highlight the absence of a clear message or strategy to navigate the party’s complexities in a presidential year.


ForAmerica’s Brent Bozell issued a preemptive denunciation of Ryan on Monday. “How can someone with an ‘F’ conservative rating (Conservative Review) be acceptable to conservatives?” he said in a statement to National Review. “Paul Ryan came to Washington with such promise and has been a huge disappointment. At every turn he has done the bidding of John Boehner. He hasn’t taken a principled stand on a single thing of importance. He is just more of the same, sadly.”…

Such statements suggest that there’s a constituency ready to reward rank-and-file lawmakers who oppose Ryan, perhaps complicating his effort to achieve and maintain the unity he desires should he take over as speaker.

Bozell and others may represent a minority of the conservative base, but they have have demonstrated enough clout to leave a mark on other Republican leaders in the past. When then-presidential candidate Newt Gingrich criticized Ryan’s budget reforms in 2011, Bozell was among the chorus of conservatives who defended Ryan, which contributed to Gingrich’s plummet in the polls.


Sean Hannity is not jumping on the Paul Ryan bandwagon.

The talk-show host who inadvertently helped torpedo Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid for House speaker told USA TODAY on Monday that Ryan “is probably one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet, but I don’t think that’s the job for him.”

Hannity says he has been advising Freedom Caucus members to stick together and not compromise on the speaker vote. “You ended up getting rid of Boehner, you ended up getting rid of McCarthy … the dumbest thing you should do is stop there. Get the speaker that you want — work to get somebody that will fight the fight that you are looking to engage in,” he said.

Whoever becomes speaker — Hannity suggests former speaker Newt Gingrich, but both men say that is highly unlikely — will have to grapple with the restive Freedom Caucus, and it is clear the caucus members will have one of the top-rated cable news shows on its side. “The Freedom Caucus to me is trying to revitalize the Republican party and get it to be in Reagan’s words, not pale pastels but bold colored difference,” said the talk-show host, who is not a Republican but registered with New York’s Conservative Party. “John Boehner I think was far too willing to marginalize them and that is not going to be acceptable with a new speaker.”


On Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Brat told guest-host and Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matt Boyle that a “lot of the folks move up into the leadership slots and the Chamber of Commerce and the big companies that want cheap labor come into play and they put tremendous pressure and check-writing on the leadership figures.”…

Brat said that “any good conservative is going to be in favor” of opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants.

He noted that nearly everybody in his district and those of of nearly every GOP Representative knows “that the illegal immigration problem lowers the wage rates for everybody.”

“The average annual incomes for the American family are down substantially over the last years and we’re feeling the pinch, so it’s just a matter of common sense—are we going to do policy that is good for American citizens or are we going to do policy that is good for big corporations?” Brat continued.


Former House speaker Newt Gingrich warned on Sunday that Christmas at Rep. Paul Ryan’s house, R-Wis., could look like Christmas at Speaker John Boehner’s house.

“I think Paul should be very cautious. He is the most prestigious member of the House on the Republican side, he has the best future, he’s still very young. It’s easy to get to 218 on the first vote,” said Gingrich on “Fox News Sunday,” before listing off a series of bills the House must resolve before December.

“You get to keeping the government open, to a continuing resolution, then you get to the debt ceiling, if you’re not careful, by Christmas you resemble John Boehner,” Gingrich said.


But there’s one remote scenario, people close to him say, in which Ryan would consider abandoning his long-laid career plans and go for the speakership: if he was the true consensus choice of the party. That means no opposition, no sniping, no acceding to demands in exchange for support

The Freedom Caucus is insisting that the next speaker run a more bottom-up operation — more floor votes on conservative legislation even if it lacks the votes to pass, less cracking down on members who buck leadership…

But unlike other candidates for the speakership, Ryan won’t be eager to engage in horse-trading to earn support of his colleagues on the right flank. He might be open to some of the rules changes they want, but it’s extremely unlikely that he would commit to such reforms in exchange for votes in a speaker election.

Ryan wants people to support him because they think he’s a good leader who will do the right thing for the party and the country, not because he’s agreed to a set of demands, according to people close to him.


If past is prologue, what the tea party-aligned GOP members of the House want on any given piece of legislation is absolute adherence to conservative principles. So no raising of the debt ceiling. No budget if federal dollars for Planned Parenthood are included.

In fact, no compromise — with Senate Republicans, with the White House, with anyone — at all.  And that is where Ryan would run into trouble. At the core of being the leader of either the House or Senate is compromise — especially when the current occupant of the White House isn’t in the same party that you are.

Ryan, Gowdy or anyone else who tried to “run” the House would, inevitably, be drawn into talks with President Obama about how to cut a deal to keep the government open, or raise (or not) the debt ceiling.  Being speaker is a powerful position but you don’t get the last and only word on how legislation turns out.  There is a group in the House three dozen or so strong that chooses not to understand that dynamic…

It’s hard to imagine the House under Ryan’s control being all that much different. I think he might get some honeymoon period from the tea partiers, but they are simply not a go-along-to-get-along bunch by nature. And with some major fights coming up soon in Congress, it seems likely that the Freedom Caucus would revert back to their oppositional ways sooner rather than later.


Some years ago, I was watching an interview with Paul Ryan and he said that one of the best pieces of advice he got was from liberal Democrat Barney Frank. Frank told Ryan to be a mile deep and not a mile wide. Making Ryan Speaker would force him to go from being a mile deep on issues where he is the Republican Party’s best representative, to being a mile wide on issues where he isn’t much better than your average GOP congressman.

And for what? Ryan would have enormous trouble unifying the House Republican Conference because of his position on immigration. It isn’t necessary for a Republican Speaker to share the opinion of the modal Republican on every issue, but immigration has become the proxy issue for all that separates Republican elites from the majority of Republican voters. Ryan’s support for upfront amnesty makes it difficult for him to heal that breach.

We need some mutual respect here. Ryan is a conviction politician and we should respect him enough to trust that he would not adopt a new set of immigration principles just so he can prosper as Speaker. Republican leaders should also have enough respect for their own voters to know that they Ryan brand won’t lull Republican voters into forgetting about the fissures within the center-right coalition.


If there is any Republican the president should thank for getting him Trade Promotion Authority, it should be Paul Ryan. The fiscal hawk spent countless hours in June telling hesitant Republicans that signing-off on TPA was the conservative thing to do and America needed it to stay competitive in trade. The bill would allow Obama and future presidents to negotiate trade deals with a freer hand and give him the ability to submit the final proposals to Congress without the legislative branch’s input into the matter…

A few years ago, Ryan, Kevin McCarthy and Eric Cantor were seen as the next generation of conservative leadership. Today, Cantor is out of office, McCarthy has been humiliated and Ryan is reluctant to go down with them. “The Young Guns,” as they were dubbed, presented an image of the GOP that was solely focused on fiscal concerns and synonymous with business interests.

Some thought that was the conservative wave of the future.

As we are witnessing the rise of Trump and the return of the middle American radical, the Young Gun philosophy can no longer be seen as the ideology of the grassroots. National interest is trumping business interests among the base. That’s why immigration and TPP are such fundamental issues at the moment.


It’s not a challenge for Rep. Paul D. Ryan to run for speaker. It’s a suicide mission that will damage — if not destroy — the Wisconsin Republican’s political future and his chance to get America’s economy right…

As to Ryan, he is, as Page said on Fox, in a unique bargaining position to get the radical-right House Freedom Caucus to promise to stand down from its outrageous demands: That they, one-sixth of the GOP conference, set the rules of the House. That bills be open to endless amendment on the floor. That any funding bill include an end to funding of Planned Parenthood, the Iran nuclear deal, President Barack Obama’s immigration policy and Obamacare. And that any extension of the government’s borrowing ability (latest deadline: Nov. 5) include cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

If Ryan could exact such a promise, the Freedom Caucus wouldn’t and couldn’t keep it: They’d be accused by Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter of selling out their principles, of joining the RINOs and — the minute Ryan tried to do something reasonable — they’d be after his head the way they got Boehner’s and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s, R-Calif.

He’d be a failed speaker. He’d have given up his Ways and Means chairmanship and his ability to shepherd tax and entitlement reform, which he rightly regards as the keys to restoring growth and America’s ability to create jobs.


Republicans are in a populist mood and today’s populist conservatism cares a lot about curbing immigration and very little about entitlements. Ryan is on the opposite side of both of these issues. Exactly who counts as a “RINO” and who is a conservative true believer is in a state of flux.

For Ryan to enter the race for speaker with the tacit support of John Boehner and the establishment in this climate threatens to shatter the pro-reform consensus on entitlements. Ryan’s conservative credentials will be attacked as never before. He will be branded a RINO and an amnesty supporter. His big and important ideas on spending reform could well go down with him…

[W]ouldn’t his talents be better applied to defending conservative policy ideas rather than his own record? Unlike the conservative rebels in the House now, Ryan climbed up the ranks in the traditional ways and has never been in a thorn in leadership’s side. This has paid dividends for conservatives at times, but is not the best fit for the current mood.

As speaker, Ryan would move from primarily advocating entitlement reform to corralling Republican votes for debt-ceiling increases and other things that are unpopular with conservatives. That threatens to make his better ideas less popular with conservatives.




#DearDC Compromise is not capitulation.

Posted by Chris Christie on Monday, October 12, 2015

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