A couple of days ago, when, with almost everyone else who was looking at the situation, I declared in my article The Secret Ballots that yesterday’s vote in the Republican House Conference for a new Speaker of the House of Representatives would yield a winy y for heir-apparent Kevin McCarthy, I was dead wrong.
To the joy of progressive, highly conservative Republicans, McCarthy, embattled by comments over Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi controversy, McCarthy dropped out, leaving only two dark horse candidates in the race. The voting was canceled for the time being as there is now a scramble to get someone that the House Freedom Caucus can stand, and that the old guard can either control or at least work with.
Of course, while McCarthy’s dropping out is a win for the progressive right flank of the party, his entire fiasco is a loss for the GOP as a whole. Not only re McCarthy’s comments going to embolden Hillary Clinton in he bid for the White House, the fact that the Representative from California took so long to drop out will cause questions from many corners about how unified the Republicans in the House actually are.
Although it remains highly unlikely that Republicans will come before the full House for a vote they can’t win, Democrats in congress, while not getting the speakership out of the ordeal, will certainly tell the media this is proof the GOP is clueless.
Some of the blame here rests of course with John Boehner, the outgoing speaker, in that he compulsively resigned without making sure someone the whole conference could rally around. Now new names are being kicked around, but Paul Ryan has been reportedly asked by both McCarthy and Boehner to run. Some are calling him the only qualified candidate.
Ryan is 45, and represents Wisconsin's 1st district. He is a Catholic.
He seems to be the best candidate available for the job, as Webster is not well known, and Chaffitz unlikely to be the best choice, and Issa is too divisive. Ryan, who was immensely popular during his bid to become Vice President, (some of my friends whispered they hoped Romney would win and then resign, letting Ryan become president) could bring a youth and vigor to the office, as well as be the man who finally makes the office of Speaker of the House powerful again.
For the moment we can only wait, and hope. In the past Ryan has said that he didn’t want the job and is as of this moment yet to announce he is running. But even as an undeclared candidate for the speakership, he looks like a much better option than those are already in.
Andrew C. Abbott