Boehner: Come on, the Freedom Caucus has no shot at Speaker

Almost certainly true. Won’t Nancy Pelosi get the job back when Democrats take over the House? Even assuming that Republicans manage to score a big upset in November and hang onto the majority, John Boehner doesn’t think that the next speaker will come from the fiscal conservative caucus:


“They know they can’t win,” the West Chester Republican said, referring to a group that includes Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana. “So I’m sure that’s not going to happen.”

Boehner said while Republicans will decide who will replace Ryan, “I think Kevin McCarthy did a good job as majority leader for me and he’s done a good job for Paul and clearly I think he’s in the No. 1 spot.”

This is mostly whistling in the wind, given the current political outlook for the midterms, but let’s run out the ground ball anyway. McCarthy certainly has the pole position as Ryan’s #2, but that was McCarthy’s position when Boehner resigned too. How did that work out for the California Republican? Not too well, remember. He got a few surprise challenges, and suddenly decided to withdraw and promote a reluctant Ryan for the job. Boehner had to push Ryan into the race with a threat to stay on rather than retire.

Has McCarthy rehabbed his relationships with the sundry constituencies within his caucus? Even if the speaker race is mooted by the election, he’d better hope so if he wants to keep his status as caucus leader when House Republicans head into the minority.

Meanwhile, the man with two current jobs in the Trump administration offered his services, albeit with tongue firmly planted in cheek:


Oddly, Mulvaney might have been a relatively good candidate to climb up the ladder if he had stayed in the House. There are a few others who could legitimately contend with McCarthy if it turned out to be as contentious as it was three years ago, but Steve Scalise is likely the only one with enough support to pull it off, especially after his survival and return from an assassination attempt last year. He has suggested that he’s not interested in competing with McCarthy, but … things change:

Neither is actively rounding up votes at this point, and both downplayed the possibility of a looming clash. Scalise said in an interview that he would not challenge McCarthy for speaker — “I’m not running against Kevin for anything,” he told POLITICO — while McCarthy said he’s focused solely on keeping the House in November and pursuing President Donald Trump’s agenda.

But Scalise also expressed interest in leading the conference someday — remarks that only intensified simmering speculation in GOP circles about his intentions. Adding to the intrigue, some of Scalise’s allies have urged him to be ready should McCarthy falls short for speaker, as he did in 2015. And some of McCarthy’s allies discount Scalise’s vows not to mount a direct challenge, noting Scalise’s willingness to attempt to leapfrog more senior Republicans in the past.

“Everyone is talking about this,” said one veteran Republican House member who requested anonymity in discussing the brewing rivalry. . “We’re sizing them up, seeing who would be a better fit. It’s the prism that we look at them through now.”


Uh oh. Maybe McCarthy hasn’t rehabbed himself in the caucus after all. For now, though, Scalise says he’s more focused on winning the midterms than in divvying up its spoils:

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) downplayed rumors that he could potentially replace House Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced Wednesday he will leave Congress when his term ends. …

“We’re doing the things that we were elected to do to get our economy back on track, working with President Trump … we’ve gotten a lot done, but there’s more we need to get done,” he said on “Fox & Friends.”

Republicans are vying to retain the majority in the House amid a potential wave election in November.

Scalise said the promises on which the GOP is running will be irrelevant if there is a continued presence of Rep. Nancy Pelosi in House leadership.

“Clearly that’s what [Pelosi] is intending on doing and [Democrats] are raising a lot of money on their side. We need to make sure [Republicans] hold the House,” he said.

Ryan’s retirement, along with three dozen others in the House Republican caucus, makes that more difficult. The news didn’t get any easier afterward, either:

Florida Congressman Dennis Ross told his staff this morning he is retiring, becoming the latest in a string of Republican departures.

“Eight years takes its toll on you. When you feel like a stranger in your hometown, it’s time to say, ‘There’s got to be an exit strategy at some point,’ ” Ross said in an interview, noting he planned on serving 10 years, or five terms.

Ross, 58, said he wants to spend more time at home in Lakeland, with two sons getting married within the year. He cited the grind of travel to and from Washington and having to constantly raise money.

“My wife and I decided this is a good time. I never wanted to do it for a career. I’m looking forward to getting back to practicing law. I really want to work in a university environment as well” and teach political science.


Perhaps, or perhaps some Republicans are eyeing what life in the minority under the reign of Nancy Pelosi will be like, too. It’s a good time to get out and practice law in either case. Or perhaps invest in cannabis, like Ryan’s predecessor:

Former House Speaker John Boehner says his stance on a popular substance has shifted — and it’s not merlot.

The former Republican congressional leader — and famed wine-drinker — announced Wednesday he is joining the board of Acreage Holdings, a firm that cultivates, processes and dispenses marijuana in 11 U.S. states.

The move marks a significant shift for the former lawmaker, who told Bloomberg 2011 that he was “unalterably opposed” to marijuana legalization but now says his views on the drug have “evolved.”

“I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved,” Boehner tweeted. “I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”

After a couple of years with Pelosi holding the gavel, I’m willing to bet that many of us will have “evolved” on cannabis, too.

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