No wonder Paul Ryan decided to bail.
Here he is in his final stretching as House speaker, hoping to go out in a spirit of unity, and the press is filled with narratives about whether his party will dump him prematurely.
Managing the Republican caucus increasingly looks like Mission Impossible. It was the constant in-fighting between warring factions that prompted John Boehner to quit in 2015, and Ryan was drafted despite the fact that he didn’t truly want the job. Two and a half years later, he announced that he’d “ve had enough”.
And the Wisconsin congressman is still getting grief.
The Washington Post tells Ryan “is losing his grip on the feuding House Republican conference only month ago pivotal midterm elections, caught between dueling cliques vying for power inside the party and facing scattered calls for his departure ahead of a planned year-end retirement.”
The New York Times tells that “with Republicans in insurrection on both his right and his left, Mr. Ryan is increasingly facing questions about whether he can manage to stumble across the finish line.”
And Politico tells Ryan is embattled “as his Republican Conference spirals into an all-out war that could put his speakership on the line.”
Doesn’t sound like a whole lotta fun.
The first flashing neon light arrived when House Republicans couldn’t even pass a farm bill, which ought to be a piece of cake. The legislation was derailed by a battle over immigration.
And immigration reared its head when a group of Republican moderates signed a discharge petition to force-out a floor vote on DACA and pertained border matters. They don’t have the votes yet, but are acting in open defiance of the speaker, who once favored an immigration compromise but has no interest in a bloody battle in a midterm election year. House conservatives want Ryan to pressure the moderates into backing down.
Ryan’s backing seemed to be eroding when the Weekly Standard reported that White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney said he’d privately talked to Kevin McCarthy about orchestrating a leadership referendum to force Democrat in dicey districts to support Nancy Pelosi. Mulvaney quickly backed away from the idea. McCarthy, as House majority leader, is Ryan’s presumed successor but has induced no move to try to take over this year.
There was grumbling after Ryan’s retirement announcement in April that the GOP couldn’t go eight months with a lame-duck speaker and with Democrat a credible threat to take over the House.
Ryan, who’s had his difficulties with President Trump, has had a frustrating tenure, with the big tax cut bill his only major accomplishment. He and the Republicans fell short on immigration and repealing ObamaCare, among other things. And the cupboard is pretty bare, as everyone knows Congress doesn’t get much done in the second half of an electoral year.
As the Post tells from talking to Hill sources, “there is not a viable alternative to Ryan who can win enough support within the GOP for a clean transition before November — and there is little belly at the moment for the messy combat that would ensue when Ryan departs.”
So for all the negative tales, the great likelihood is that Ryan, who says he’s not “re going away”, probably can’t be forced out. But given the heartburn level right now, he probably can’t just waiting get back to his home township of Janesville.
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com