In the end, there was no drama, no suspense, and oddly enough no partisan or internecine attacks. Following a season of tempests, the transition of House leadership turned out to be an anti-climax:
#Breaking Vote Breakdown for Speaker’s Race
John Lewis: 1
Colin Powell: 1
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) October 29, 2015
Jazz joked on Twitter that this is the last happy day Ryan’s likely to get as House Speaker. The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer offers a more serious prediction of plenty of frustration to come:
Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin was elected the 62nd speaker of the House on Thursday, taking the gavel that he never sought to wield from John A. Boehner, who relinquished it under fire.
But the personal jubilance and high expectations felt by Mr. Boehner, who was elected in a sweeping Republican takeover of the House in 2011, have been replaced with a grim recognition that Mr. Ryan’s ascent stems not from electoral victory but rather the chaos in the ranks of his party’s sizable majority. …
The test for Mr. Ryan will be whether he can manage, perhaps even blunt, this wing of the House Republican conference, or if he too will fall to its members’ intransigence. He had warned members that while he would take their concerns about process seriously, he would not brook dissent that would undermine his ability to lead them.
In his acceptance speech, Ryan said that his biggest task would be to return the House to regular order. He pledged not to settle old scores, but to “wip[e] the slate clean.” No more midnight bills rushed through outside of the committee process, Ryan pledged, but regular use of committees to work on the people’s business in an open and fair manner. “We are all in this together,” Ryan said of Republicans and Democrats. The people “look at Washington, and all they see is chaos,” he said, and “what a relief it would be to see us get our act together!”
We’ll see soon enough whether Ryan can deliver on that promise. It would go a long way toward making House conservatives more comfortable with his leadership, and Ryan can probably count on at least a short honeymoon from the Freedom Caucus on that basis alone. That will be where the suspense lies, rather than in this remarkably unremarkable election today.