Paul Ryan will run for Speaker of the House, but it’s going to come with a lot of conditions.
BREAKING: Rep. Paul Ryan to seek speakership if he is 'unity candidate' of House GOP.
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 20, 2015
Getting the House GOP united is going to be the key thing and it looks like we’ll get a formal declaration later this week, if all things work out.
Paul Ryan told House GOP let him know by Friday if they can unite around him#SpeakerOfTheHouse
— Lisa Mascaro (@LisaMascaro) October 20, 2015
These are pretty big conditions, but it’s obvious Ryan really doesn’t want to be Speaker because he’d rather stay on the House Ways & Means Committee. At the same time, Ryan’s idea of what a Speaker should be is more along the lines of how Newt Gingrich ran things.
First, he said our next speaker needs to be visionary: more focused on communicating our agenda and laying out big ideas. The next speaker needs to use the platform to create a clear policy choice for the country.
In addition, he told his colleagues that he encourages changes to our rules and procedures, but he also believes that those changes should be made as a team. They affect everyone, so everyone should have the opportunity for input.
He told reporters later about how blaming people won’t do anything, because people care about results and meaningful ones. He’s right in this, because results do matter even if it means actually cutting government away or at least keeping it from growing bigger and bigger. Ryan seems to be the kind of guy who claims to be interested in cutting government, even if the results are mixed. This is why the unity he’s looking for isn’t going to be easy to find.
House hard-liners grim as they leave. Mulvaney tells me, "I have to think about this." Declines to say more. Schweikert: "lot to digest"
— Robert Costa (@costareports) October 21, 2015
It makes sense for the House Freedom Caucus to be a little hesitant on a Ryan speakership. He voted for TARP, CRomnibus, the Farm Bill, and negotiated a budget with Washington Senator Patty Murray which went over the spending caps. These are red flags and something which should give conservatives and libertarians pause. But Ryan voted in favor the Republican Study Committee’s plan to balance the budget within six years and has a lifetime score of 80% from FreedomWorks. That’s better than Kevin McCarthy’s 70% lifetime score or Daniel Webster’s (the House Freedom Caucus’ pick) of 63%. He also doesn’t seem to be the type of guy to crack down on people who don’t agree with him (something John Boehner did on a regular basis).
Are there better candidates out there who are much more “freedom and liberty” than Ryan? Absolutely. Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Raul Labrador would be great speakers. But they’re not running. So Ryan might be the right choice, but it depends on what his actions will be as speaker. Here’s something else to consider: if Ryan doesn’t run, what’s to stop Boehner from staying on as Speaker? Boehner has proclaimed multiple times he’s got the votes to retain the gavel, but he’s just tired of being in power. So if Ryan can’t get everyone together, then Boehner could sit there and say, “Okay, I’m staying,” and get a coalition of GOP Establishment, plus Democrats to elect him. It’d end up leaving the House Freedom Caucus out in the cold and ostracized more than ever. Of course, that’s what Jake Sherman at POLITICO thinks the Ryan candidacy is supposed to do.
Let’s be clear. This is a move will ISOLATE freedom caucus. I bet RSC, Tues Group get behind him. Will put HFC in quite the spot
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 21, 2015
I’m not sure I believe this because Ryan is pretty conservative on fiscal things. In his speech laying out why he’s considering a run he talks about being committed to natural rights and a government which does a lot less. This is stuff which is a good thing and conservatives and libertarians should support. The natural rights of “life, liberty, and property” is what the country was founded upon. Who knows, maybe entitlement reform will actually happen under a potential Ryan speakership. It just comes down to whether Ryan is willing to stand up for his principles when a “crisis” like what happened in 2008 and 2009 happens again.
Ryan is NOT the perfect candidate, but he’s probably the right candidate to unify the party. There’s nothing wrong with Ryan being the unity candidate, if it’s the right kind of unity. If it means Ryan is willing to listen to all sides and then make his decision without cracking down on dissidents, then it’s a good thing. If it means he’s going to go after GOP members who don’t agree with him, then he’s no better than Boehner. So the big question is: will the unity actually happen? If it does, then there may be results and a fight against the government leviathan may actually start working. If it doesn’t, then the House chaos is going to continue and could end up hurting more than helping.