An important stipulation applies, but after several weeks of brushing off requests, Paul Ryan is reported to be contemplating a run for Speaker of the House of Representatives.
According to CBS News, sources close to Ryan have disclosed the Wisconsin Republican will seek the gavel, but is unwilling to negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus for its support.
“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,” said one unnamed source close to Ryan.
Among the Freedom Caucus’ demands: A rollback of House rules to dissolve centralized power to advance a more conservative agenda, and protection for Freedom Caucus members from punishment if they defect on votes.
Gripping an unblemished record and in his dream job as Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Ryan appears to have been anointed as one who can heal and unify a deeply-fractured GOP House.
A restless group, the Freedom Caucus does raise a legitimate point: Their demand its members avoid punishment from breaking with the GOP leadership is entirely valid.
Fair or not, the Freedom Caucus tends to maintain a reputation as both rebellious in nature and too reflexively anti-government. While eager to advance their governing agenda, the Freedom Caucus is attempting a crude form of blackmail.
To be fair, it is incumbent on the current House leadership to rise above petty point scoring and not punish members for voting their conscious. House leadership’s role, in part, is of a compassionate referee which should step in to prevent sanctions from being laid on members who vote in favor of their constituents over the GOP leadership.
Should Ryan enter the Speaker’s race, he should not be forced to abandon his particular brand of conservatism to achieve a leadership position in the House.
To date, Ryan’s hesitance to run for Speaker is associated with being content with his committee chairmanship; however, the former vice-presidential candidate is leery of the perils of engaging a dysfunctional membership on a day-to-day basis.
The Freedom Caucus is attempting the wrong execution of the right idea: If its members are displeased with the current leadership structure, instead of demanding a new Speaker bow to their ultimatums, they would be better suited to rise up in their might, establish a profound and extended political network to help elect like-minded candidates to swell their majority with the ranks of the House.
The House Speakership position is a job; it should not break one’s mind or spirit.
[CBS News] [Photo courtesy Biography.com]