Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Flim Flam Man Wants The Speakership... But Not If He Has To Fight For It


Immature politicians have a tendency to view every problem through their own personal careerist agenda. And when those immature politicians are conservatives, you can add in a sense of victimization. Over the weekend we saw the spectacle of low-life South Carolinian walking trash heap, Trey Gowdy, a very, very, very pale imitation of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, doing his woe is me routine over the criticism he's gotten for presiding over a vicious, fully-partisan witch hunt meant to tank Hillary Clinton's presidential polling numbers. And this is even before a ruling on the cascading ethics charges filed against him for wasting millions of dollars in tax-payer money to further his party's narrow political goals.
Gowdy faces the biggest moment of his political career when he squares off with Clinton this Thursday. But as the chairman prepares for the showdown, he’s facing increasing pressure to salvage his panel’s reputation-- and perhaps his own.

Gowdy worked behind closed doors for 18 months in an effort to keep the committee’s work out of the political fray. But his strategy started unraveling after three Republicans suggested the committee was aimed at hurting Clinton in the polls. Democrats pounced, newspaper editorials called for the panel to be disbanded, and now there are calls from commentators of all stripes for Gowdy to reveal what he’s uncovered.

...Gowdy believes the criticism has been demonstrably unfair-- an attempt to “delegitimize” his panel and discredit his personal reputation ahead of Clinton’s high stakes testimony on Thursday.
For an unself-aware and utterly unevolved character like Trey Gowdy this is-- first and foremost-- all about Trey Gowdy, who has crossed over from just being unethical to heading a criminal conspiracy against Hillary Clinton. Which brings us back to Paul Ryan, an even less self-aware, less evolved character eager to climb the political career ladder but petrified of taking a fatal misstep that will expose his jaw-dropping but well documented mediocrity. Is Flim-Flammery about to ascend to the Speakership? Of course it is.

As Congress heads back to DC this morning, Ryan is coyly admitting he's willing to accept the Speaker's gavel-- but only on a silver platter. As CBS reported yesterday, "After weeks of insisting he would not run for Speaker, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan-- according to those close to him-- is now open to leading the fractured Republican conference, and seriously considering launching a bid for speaker of the House." If...
Ryan's confidants tell CBS News he will not horse trade with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of 40 or so deeply conservative members who have been demanding changes to House rules and other very specific promises from candidates for Speaker in exchange for their support. Ryan's confidants say he is not going to negotiate for a job he never sought, and that he has a record of conservative leadership that should be clear to every member of the GOP conference.

They say Ryan hasn't ruled out meeting with the House Freedom Caucus if asked, but "he's not going to go to the Freedom Caucus and say, 'I'll do this and this'...otherwise you've sold yourself to them from the very beginning, and set yourself up for failure" said someone with knowledge of his deliberations.' "He still really, really does not want to do this. He has his dream job. If he's Speaker, his whole career path changes. He's not going to make concessions to get a job he didn't want in the first place."

Either members believe in his conservative leadership, or they don't-- and if Ryan concludes that he's unlikely to get a near-unanimous vote of support from Republicans, his allies say he is happy to stay exactly where he is as the chair of the House Ways and Means committee.

...[S]ome hardline conservative members have refused to say whether they would back Ryan on the House floor if he wins in a closed door vote among republicans. Rep Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, told CBS News last week, "I want to see who else is in the race. You don't pick a candidate until you know who all of the players are."

Rep John Fleming, R-Louisiana, said "Until we find out who's running and interview the candidates, we're non-committal at this time." And Daniel Webster, R-Florida, who picked up the Freedom Caucus' endorsement earlier this month, wouldn't commit to back Ryan on the House floor if he defeats Webster in a House GOP vote.

"Well, we'll see what happens," Webster said.

Given that environment, a Ryan ally says, "I don't know how he'll come down" on whether to run for Speaker. One leadership aide put the chances of Ryan mounting a bid at 60-40. Another insider pegged it at 50-50. All said they expect Ryan to make a decision soon. House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a vote on the House floor for October 29th.

If Ryan chooses not to run, House Republicans will be in an even bigger bind than they are in already. It's unlikely that any of the Republicans in the Speaker's race now-- or any of the several who have signaled an interest in running if Ryan doesn't-- have a better chance of getting 218 votes than he does.

A source close to House Speaker John Boehner says that if Ryan bows out, there is a growing recognition that Boehner may have to postpone his plans to leave Congress, cancel the October 29th vote for Speaker and stick around until the end of the year as Republicans work out their leadership issues.
Three right-wing Texans are sniffing around the Speakership as well, each as thunderously mediocre as Ryan, but none as well-camflouged and media-protected-- Mike McCaul, Mike Conway and Pete Sessions, every bit as blatantly corrupt as Boehner. Sessions has two Tea Parry opponents waiting for him in his ethnically-cleansed suburban district northeast of Dallas primary, Russ Ramsland and Paul Brown.

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