Monday, May 21, 2018

Has A Speaker Ever Been Deposed By His Own Party And Then Stayed On As A Plain Ole Member Of The House?


I can't imagine why Paul Ryan would want to stay on as Speaker. Is it to help the GOP minimize their losses in November and to hold off on leadership elections and instead allowing the GOP to focus on campaign season rather than engaging in a bloody intra-party feud? Ryan may be popular with billionaire contributors but the independent voters who will decide the midterm certainly don't like him. He doesn't seem to have some kind of a deal with Trump to stick around, although I'd think Trump would prefer the more easily manipulated Kevin McCarthy. But Sunday, Republican Party news outlet, Weeely Standard floated the rumor that there's a coup a-brewing to remove Ryan before November. The coup plotters include "the White House" and the benefactor would be McCarthy. Supposedly Trump has been briefed and "believes there is merit to the plan, but has not formed a final position."

The likeliest coup plotters, in my mind, would be the House Freedom Caucus extremists and they have their own candidate: Jim Jordan. It sure isn't McCarthy. The Standard claims "McCarthy has been weighing the effort alongside a small group of trusted advisers, considering the pros and cons of forcing Ryan's hand, and debating the best time to launch the effort. As of last week he had not spoken to Ryan about the idea, the source said."
Proponents say that the benefits are twofold. It would trigger a vote to replace Ryan, giving McCarthy an opening to become speaker of the House-- that is, if he can avoid crashing and burning on takeoff like he did in 2015. But it would also force Democrats to cast votes for-- or against-- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a favorite target of Republican campaign strategists, to be speaker. That vote could then be used against vulnerable Democrats during the height of campaign season, the source said.

...Friday appeared to have been a breaking point for the forces eager to see Ryan step down sooner, after GOP leaders were unable to navigate the demands of the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus, resulting in the embarrassing failure of the Farm Bill. In the aftermath of the bill’s demise on the House floor, a “senior Republican source” lashed out at Ryan in aPolitico story about the legislative failure. The “senior Republican source” argued that “this is the problem when you have a lame duck speaker who announces he’s leaving eight months in advance.”

“He can make calls to members to urge them to vote for something, but who will care?” the individual added.

A remarkably similar quote later appeared in The Hill, also attributed to a senior GOP source. "If you have somebody who’s going to be stepping down eight months in advance, a lot of people are not going to care what you have to say,” the source said.

McCarthy’s first run for speaker failed for a number of reasons. He drew Republican criticism during the race when he made comments implying the Benghazi investigation was politically-motivated. “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy said on Fox News. “Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”

Those remarks were condemned immediately by Republicans involved in the investigation. “That was not the reason we started. We started because there were four dead Americans and we didn't have answers,” Jason Chaffetz, who challenged McCarthy for the speakership, said at the time. On top of his Benghazi gaffe, McCarthy struggled to win the support of conservative members, some of whom were reluctant to support him amid concerns that he would not represent enough of a change from the tactics of former speaker John Boehner.

Three years later, Ryan argues that McCarthy has accumulated more political experience than he had the first time around. "I think we all believe that Kevin is the right person," Ryan said during an interview with NBC after he announced his retirement.

But conflict between McCarthy and Ryan has been growing.

The two hold vastly different opinions about how to approach the DACA debate in the House. While Ryan has repeatedly said he would like to find a solution to the issue-- recently saying he wants to vote on an immigration measure before the election-- McCarthy is far more skeptical about the political benefits of doing so. During a Republican conference meeting last week, he told members that “If you want to depress [GOP voter] intensity, this is the No. 1 way to do it,” Politico’s Rachael Bade reported.

That argument highlights the difference in their leadership styles, with Ryan more policy-focused and McCarthy more interested in politics. Right now, the speaker’s race is more of a shadow campaign to win favor from the conference-- “This is the time of the year where I get all the area codes I’ve never seen before on my phone,” Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie quipped-- but members are having heated conversations about who they want to lead the party.

Other contenders for the role include Freedom Caucus founding member Jim Jordan, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Scalise has said he would not run against McCarthy, but members say it is likely he would run if McCarthy proves unable to garner enough support for the position.
I can't imagine someone as extreme as Jordan would actually win and become Speaker but the Freedom Caucus could probably block anyone else they oppose from winning-- anyone with too many mainstream views, for example. I have a feeling that may be in Ryan's mind-- the spectacle of a long-drawn out, bloody leadership battle all over TV right before the midterms... possibly a bad way to present the party to the voters.

UPDATE: The GOP's Pelosi Strategy Again

In a follow-up Weekly Standard post by John McCormack he noted that on Sunday, Mick Mulvaney had harped on the idea of dumping Ryan to force House Democrats to vote for or against the "unpopular Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi." He and McCarthy discussed the idea. "Wouldn't it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That's a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it."

And the progressive Democrat running for the seat Ryan has been occupying, Randy Bryce, says he agrees with the GOP that Ryan should resign now-- even if not for the same reasons the Republicans are using. "Now that some members of the GOP have turned their back on Paul Ryan by plotting to remove him as Speaker, he is clearly most concerned with party politics and not the voters in Southeast Wisconsin. The people of the First District deserve a Congressman who will actually represent them and fight for their interests, not one who is going to dedicate the better part of a year to fundraising for other Republican Representatives across the country. Voters in Southeast Wisconsin were going to reject Ryan in November-- and now some in his own party are abandoning him too. He should give up his speakership and resign now in order to help address the needs of working families, rather than the needs of his legacy."

Labels: , , ,


At 5:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't the democraps vote 'present' during the speaker roll call? Why would they have to vote for Pelosi?

Also, if the 'crap caucus appeared unified to vote for anyone, ESPECIALLY Pelosi, the Nazis risk having the 'crap elected speaker if they split between the 2 or 3 Nazi candidates, don't they? Or does it need a majority to elect a speaker? If that is so, what happens if nobody gets a majority? anyone?

At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One certainty, 5:47. If it looks like the GOP isn't going to get their way, they will immediately change the rules, and at least 20% of the "democrats" will fall in line behind them to ensure victory.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

Why doesn't Pelosi just hang it up? For the same reason Hillary couldn't they are both toxic.

Just like Hillary was the only one who could give us President Trump, Pelosi will be responsible for the Republicans holding the house.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those guys are two reasons. The Democrats are the third reason we don't have Medicare For All.

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am increasingly reminded by our corrupt current Congress that the Roman Senate did little while Julius Caesar and his immediate followers stole everything insight and killed off their rivals - especially Roman Senators.


Post a Comment

<< Home