Paul Ryan assumes Speaker’s gavel

Declaring that the federal legislative system is broken and appealing for a fresh start, unity and understanding, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was elected to become the 54th Speaker of the House of Representatives Thursday morning.

Ryan tallied 236 votes in contrast to Democratic California Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s 184 to earn the Speakership.

Vowing to “wipe the slate clean,” Ryan declared he would tackle “tough issues head on” in order to fix what he called “chaos” in Washington.

On assuming his new role, Ryan emphasized a simple agenda which includes:  Reforming the tax code, growing the economy, paying down the debt and creating a more transparent legislative process.

Mr. Ryan has his work cut out for him.

Ryan is the second-youngest Speaker in the history of the United States.  At 45 years old, he trails only Maine’s James Gillespie Blaine, who became Speaker at the tender age of 39 in 1869.

Ryan may have inherited the Speakership under circumstances identical to Blaine:  Blaine was elevated to the Speakership in the wake of the Civil War and then presided over a deeply-divided House and an equally-fractured nation confronting Reconstruction.

In Ryan’s favor, the new Speaker has a well-earned reputation as a skilled parliamentarian, a budget cutter, tax cutter and a deficit hawk.

Before Ryan addresses these pressing issues, he faces the daunting task of unifying a divided House, primarily between a majority of GOP House members and the House Freedom Caucus, which is adamant about forcing Obama’s liberal plans to a standstill.

For some observers of Capitol Hill, Ryan’s words, appealing for unity and understanding more closely resembles the sound of steam escaping or cheap theatrics; however, many GOP House members and members of the Freedom Caucus appear to give Ryan the benefit of doubt:  Unlike former Speaker John Boehner, who was accused of lording over the House similar to a Roman emperor by forcing legislation to the floor and punishing defectors on key votes, Ryan’s disarming personality may be able to bridge the gap Boehner’s leadership left between moderate and conservative Republicans.

In concluding his remarks before taking a position he has little enthusiasm for, Ryan averred:

“If you ever pray, let’s pray for each other, Republicans for Democrats, and Democrats for Republicans. And I don’t mean pray for a conversion. Pray for a deeper understanding.”

Let’s pray for Ryan.

 

[Fox News] [Photo courtesy Washingtonfreebeacon]