Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan has repeatedly said that he does not want to become the next House Speaker. After pressure from all sides to run for the position, Ryan admitted he’d do it if endorsed by all Republican conferences. The big question now is whether or not the Freedom Caucus will revoke their endorsement of Daniel Webster in exchange for Paul Ryan.
“My greatest worry,” said Ryan, “is the consequence of not stepping up – of someday having my own kids ask me ‘when the stakes were so high, why didn’t you do all you could do?’”
Ohio Representative and head of the Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan, said the group would “look favorably” on Paul Ryan. That, of course, means nothing. To get an endorsement, Ryan would need 80% of the group’s members to support him. Most consider this scenario very unlikely.
There are, however, a handful of members within the caucus who like Ryan. Just yesterday, Indiana Representative Marlin Stutzmanndiana said, “I think Paul Ryan is completely capable and is willing to make some of the changes that we need. Are we there tonight yet? No, we’ve got a little way to go. But I’m willing to start those conversations because I trust Paul. He’s earned my trust. I’m willing to keep talking.”
Among the promises Ryan made during Tuesday’s session were the return to regular order and no amnesty bill under President Obama. He even promised to give up the Speaker’s traditional five votes on the steering committee if he were to win the position.
In exchange, Ryan asked the House to keep quiet about the recent meeting, said he would work only four days a week, and demanded that the rule allowing members to oust a Speaker with a “motion to vacate the chair” be changed. This very rule was used when Rep. Mark Meadows pressed John Boehner to resign.
Many caucus members didn’t like his demands. “I like Paul Ryan a lot. I like Thomas Jefferson better,” said Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.
“He had a shot before he started running his mouth,” said a GOP aide on Wednesday. The aide said that he predicts “at least 75% of the [Freedom Caucus] members are going to oppose Ryan” after what he said on Tuesday.
As Fox News’ Charles Krauthammer suggested, Ryan should have made a contract with the caucus “signed in secret, written in blood, witnessed by a Corleone brother – just to make sure it’s going to be enforced.” Considering the fact that Ryan has said many times he will not run for Speaker without an official endorsement from the Freedom Caucus, I predict he will end up bowing out of the race by Friday.
We are witnessing a crossroads for the Republican Party that could result in the downfall of an American tradition or the rebirth of the Right. I just hope the House can pull itself together and make the correct decision.