Paul Ryan Willing To Be Speaker, If All His Conditions Are Met

Paul Ryan has never really wanted to be Speaker Of The House, but he's take the job if House Republicans meet the conditions he's set out.

House GOP

Late yesterday in a meeting with House Republicans Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan said that he’s willing to put himself out as a candidate for Speaker, but only if conditions that may be difficult to extract from the various factions of the House Republican Caucus are met:

WASHINGTON — Representative Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday that he would be willing to serve as speaker if all the factions of his party could unite behind him, giving hope to House Republicans who have been divided by conflict and confusion.

In what were at times pointed remarks in a private session with his colleagues, Mr. Ryan called for changes both to the way the speaker’s job is structured — focused more on communicating the party’s message and less on fund-raising — and for an end to the antics of “bomb throwers and hand wringers,” according to members in the room.

“We have become the problem,” Mr. Ryan said in a news conference afterward. “If my colleagues entrust me to be the speaker, I want us to become the solution.”

He suggested that he wanted an answer by Friday.

There is fear among many Republicans that the same issues that brought Mr. Boehner’s leadership to an early end would spell trouble for Mr. Ryan, too. He would face a series of urgent and difficult fiscal challenges heading into an election year, including a possible federal default if Congress does not increase the government’s borrowing authority and a December deadline for a budget measure to avert a government shutdown.r. Ryan made it clear that he would not accede to preconditions set by “one group,” a clear reference to the members of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, which helped push Speaker John A. Boehner into retirement. Now it may be those same hard-liners who are feeling pressure to fall in line behind Mr. Ryan.

By demonstrating a willingness to serve but with the caveat of essentially unconditional acceptance, Mr. Ryan appeared to be playing a rather canny card. Instead of begging for support, he more or less dared members not to give it, leaving them the option of rejecting him and trying to find another willing candidate while explaining to the party — and perhaps the nation — why Mr. Ryan was not a viable choice.

His decision, an abrupt pivot after saying for weeks he did not want the job, fundamentally alters the dynamic in the race for speaker. But it was still uncertain whether Mr. Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president in 2012, could unite all factions.

“I came to the conclusion that this is a very dire moment, not just for Congress, not just for the Republican Party, but for our country,” Mr. Ryan said.

One of the candidates for the job, Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, said he would drop out and support Mr. Ryan. “I’m excited,” Mr. Chaffetz said. “I supported him for vice president. I think he would be wonderful, exceptional as speaker.”

Some conservatives hinted at supporting Mr. Ryan, but stopped short of an explicit backing.

“I think my response reflects the view of the overwhelming majority of the conference,” said Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a member of the Freedom Caucus, which has endorsed Representative Daniel Webster of Florida. “I think he was quite realistic in what he asked for. His candidacy is going to create conversations that I suspect will be quite animated.”

Mr. Ryan is viewed by many in the fractious Republican conference as a force for unity, even as the far-right members have demanded more power and caused more headaches for the party as it tries to prove itself capable of governing as a majority.

“It’s not a job I’ve ever wanted, I’ve ever sought,” Mr. Ryan said.

The most conservative group of House members have been cool to the idea of his candidacy, and Mr. Ryan had not been willing to yield to their demands that the next speaker change House rules extensively to empower a minority of members. The far-right media have also been bludgeoning Mr. Ryan on a number of issues, including his vote in 2008 to bail out large banks and his role in brokering a bipartisan budget measure.

The father of three young children, Mr. Ryan also clearly did not relish the idea of spending hundreds of days on the road raising money for Republican candidates instead of spending time with family in his hometown, Janesville, Wis.

“I cannot and I will not give up my family,” Mr. Ryan said. “I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers, but I pledge to make up for it with more time communicating our vision, our message.”

Washington Post Capitol Hill reporters Robert Costa and Mike DuBonis have more:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered a pitch Tuesday night to run for House speaker and end weeks of GOP chaos as long as Republican lawmakers meet certain conditions for his tenure.

“If you can agree to these requests and I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve,” Ryan said in a press conference following a closed-door meeting of the House GOP Conference on Tuesday night.

“This is not a job I ever sought. This is not a job I ever wanted. …. I came to the conclusion that this was a dire moment,” Ryan said. ”We need to move from being an opposition party to being a proposition party…Our next speaker has to be a visionary one.”

In a reference to the demands of the House Freedom Caucus that wants dramatic changes to House rules, Ryan said: “We need to update our House rules so that everyone can be a more effective representative.”

But Ryan hasn’t completely committed yet to the job of replacing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who wants to step down by Oct. 30. He sketched out a timeline of making a decision by Friday — but in order to run, he wants the fractious Republican conference to rally around him, including the moderate Tuesday Group, the hard-line House Freedom Caucus and the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Several Republicans said they expected Boehner to announce a date for the leadership elections on Wednesday.

“We as a conference should unify now and not after a divisive speaker election,” Ryan said.

“I considered to do this with reluctance and I mean that in the most personal of ways,” he said, adding that Janna, his wife, and his young children should not have to suffer as a result of his seeking the speakership. ”I cannot and will not give up my family time.”

“I genuinely worry about the consequences that my agreeing to serve will have on them,” he said, but added that: “My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up.”

Inside the closed-door Republican meeting earlier that night, the Wisconsin Republican stood calmly before his colleagues, said several GOP lawmakers.

According to several lawmakers present, Ryan said: ”I’m willing to take arrows in the chest but not in the back.”

He referenced the bitter infighting between House conservatives and former GOP leaders that saw the ouster of Boehner (R-Ohio) and contributed to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) not taking the plunge.

“I don’t want to be the third log on the bonfire,” Ryan  said, in a reference to Boehner and McCarthy, according to Republicans who were inside the private meeting.

On running for speaker, Ryan said: “I hope it doesn’t sound conditional… but it is,” he said, with a smile.

There were indications, however, that Ryan’s conditions may be a step too far for some lawmakers, and that could scuttle the opes of GOP insiders to get him to the Speaker’s chair before they even start:

But there were signs that some conservatives weren’t happy with a Ryan candidacy.

But Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a House Freedom Caucus member, said Ryan’s apparent entry doesn’t clear the field.

“There’s still a race for the speakership,” he said.

And Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), known as a tough immigration foe, said he’s concerned about Ryan’s views on immigration and granting legal status to undocumented immigrants. ”In the short term, it wouldn’t be a struggle with Paul Ryan, but we know what he believes in,” King said.

“We’ve got candidates for speaker. Can’t we have an election, and elect a speaker? I’m not an anti-Paul Ryan guy. I appreciate him. I like him. I respect him,” King explained. “There are big issues that transcend those things, and immigration is one of those.”

Most members of the House GOP Caucus are no doubt letting Ryan’s words sink in before they take a position, but the fate of the entire effort to elevate Ryan to a position he is obviously reluctant to take to begin with will likely lie in the hands of the same small group of House conservatives who have given John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy a headache for the past four years. In that respect, the early signs aren’t necessarily looking good for those who would like to see the Speakership battle over quickly Early reporting on Twitter from Fox News Congressional reporter Chad Pergram, for example, seemed to indicate very negative reactions to Ryan’s conditions from members such as Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador, who was particularly negative toward Ryan’s condition that the Motion To Vacate The Chair, a parliamentary procedure to remove the Speaker from the floor, be eliminated, and from Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who said the conditions are unacceptable and seem like a means for Ryan to say he tried to step in and help, but was blocked by the Freedom Caucus and others. The Post’s Robert Costa reported similarly seemingly negative reactions from Labrador, Kentucky Congressman Tom Massie, and Florida Congressman Daniel Webster, who is saying that he will remain a candidate for Speaker regardless of what Ryan does. How much these kind of comments represent the final position these members may take on Ryan’s conditions, or how much they reflect the positions others may take, is unknown, but the immediate reaction from the people that Ryan was obviously intending his ultimatum for doesn’t seem promising for the acceptance of those conditions.

As Aaron Blake notes, the way that Ryan is approaching this process is politically smart from his point of view and also a reflection of his rather obvious belief that stepping in to save the House GOP by agreeing to become Speaker, which he’s never wanted to do, is a sacrifice on his part that can only happen under certain conditions. The most obvious thing, of course, is the fact that these conditions give Ryan and easy way to step back and resist the pressure that has been growing on him since Kevin McCarthy stepped away from his own bid to become Speaker. If all of Ryan’s conditions aren’t met, then he can simply say that he tried to step in to a role that has proven nearly impossible to perform well in given the internal politics of the GOP Caucus but that it’s clear that the radicals aren’t willing to do what needs to be done to get the job done. If the Freedom Caucus and other groups do ultimately accede to Ryan’s conditions, then that gives him a tremendous amount of leverage over them going forward when it comes to getting matters through the House, controlling the Committee process, and other matters. Ultimately, of course, these groups will probably end up trying to revolt against a Speaker Ryan the same way they did against John Boehner, and the same way they helped block Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to the Speaker’s chair, but they’ll be in a far less advantageous position of being seen as having broken a deal that every other Republican House Member agreed to, something that would potentially undercut their ability to actually cause trouble on the House Floor.  In the end, Ryan has laid out the conditions under which he’s willing to do something that he’s never really wanted to do, and since he knows that the Republicans need him more than he needs them right now, he’s in a very strong position and pretty much stands to win however this turns out.

At this point, the only question is whether Ryan will be able to get the support and agreement that he’s asking for to be able to move forward. Unofficially at least, he’s set a deadline of the end of this week for agreement to be reached, and John Boehner’s original retirement announcement essentially means that House Republicans need to meet to select a new Speaker by the end of the month and put a vote for Speaker on the House Floor. Boehner has said that he’ll stay around past the end of the month if necessary, but he’s made clear that he’d prefer that it not be a long period of time past October 31st. So, for better or worse, the future of the position that is second in line for succession to the Presidency will have to be decided within the next week or so. The ball is in the court of House Republicans, Paul Ryan is just waiting to see what they’ll do.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Todd says:

    the conditions are unacceptable and seem like a means for Ryan to say he tried to step in and help, but was blocked by the Freedom Caucus and others.

    I agree with this theory. He’s probably really hoping that he gets a plausible “out” from this.

    If Conservatives were rational, they’d realize this has been another losing gambit and they’re never going to get their “dream” speaker; then just cut the best deal they can get with Ryan (which ironically will almost certainly give them less power than they had over Boehner). But rational is not a term that fits well with today’s radical Conservatives … so there’s a good chance Paul Ryan will get his wish to remain at Ways & Means.

  2. gVOR08 says:

    @Todd: Sounds that way to me. I’ve seen thousands of words about this. I have yet to see any explanation of why Ryan would want the job. I expect the Speaker pulls in way better than average contributions, but better than the Chair of Ways and Means? If he took it and succeeded and got a reputation as the Speaker who fixed the House, it could be a good career move. But what are the odds of that happening?

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Smart on Ryan’s part. No matter what happens he wins. If they kick him to the curb, he get’s to say, “Well I tried to help but there’s just no saving you from yourselves.” If they meet his conditions, he gets to run the House the way he thinks it should be and looks Presidential. If they stab him in the back (and they will) he gets to round them up and crucify them along Pennsylvania Ave and ram his stuff thru the house anyway and looks Putin like (read “a very strong manly man President”) which is even better for him.

    I predict the Freedom Caucus refuses to go along with it. They already got 2 scalps, why not a 3rd? They smell victory. Actually, what they smell is blood but to them it’s all the same.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    …and every single person in the entire country must read “Atlas Shrugged” and pass a test on it.

  5. Tillman says:

    Ultimately, of course, these groups will probably end up trying to revolt against a Speaker Ryan the same way they did against John Boehner, and the same way they helped block Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to the Speaker’s chair, but they’ll be in a far less advantageous position of being seen as having broken a deal that every other Republican House Member agreed to, something that would potentially undercut their ability to actually cause trouble on the House Floor.

    This presumes these people have a sense of shame that overrides their sense of what’s right. How many different agreements between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell led to lasting periods of non-filibuster before the switch in majority? This further presumes derision will act as an effective check against the institutional bulwark these Freedom cats have as a voting bloc. I don’t think either is likely to be the case.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    Right. The Freedom (sic) Caucus members need to be able to go back home to Lower Hogwaller and say to their TP constituents that they did everything they could to fight that Washington crowd. Comity will get them primaried.

  7. CSK says:

    And you know that even if the Freedom Caucus gets its dream candidate, he or she will end up being sliced and diced for not accomplishing what they want: the immediate impeachment of Obama; the immediate repeal of the health care act, the immediate deportation of every Mexican in the country…

    Their constituents are enraged and irrational.

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    Reading between the lines, I think the only reason Ryan would take the job is if taking it made the Freedom Caucus behave itself. Ryan is very conservative, but he also wants Congress to function. I think he’s gotten frustrated — as a lot of Republicans have — with the BS. This is basically him saying, “If putting me in the chair will get you guys to knock it off, I’ll do it.”

  9. MarkedMan says:

    When I think about what these Freedom Caucus guys are like and how they probably spend their days, my best guess is that they will go along. These guys remind me of union shop reps. I know that’s a leap, but let me explain. I’m a big fan of unions, but have also dealt with a bunch in real life and think I’m also pretty darn realistic. And one of the big problems is the clause most union shops have that the reps get paid for the time they deal with management on union issues. Unfortunately this attracts a certain type of lazy a** drama queen who will gin up all kinds of melodrama so they don’t have to do their actual job but instead can spend the day drinking coffee and bloviating and complaining. Then they can go back to the floor and regale them with stories about just what they said to the so-and-so management types and just how tough of a son of a gun those management guys are dealing with.

    That’s the Freedom Caucus guys to a “T”. They are a bunch of lazy a** drama queens that will do anything to get out of real work. And if they keep this Speaker thing alive people will actually start demanding they “do” something instead of just bloviate. And in the end, they can cut a deal and then immediately turn around and say he betrayed them. And bloviate about that.

    I’d be willing to put money down, except they can get the same effect by keeping Boehner around. And since I can’t even imagine what would entail less actual effort on their part, I can’t really pick between the two.

  10. C. Clavin says:


    Ryan is very conservative

    Bullshit….Ryan is an innumerate radical with zero private sector experience. There is nothing Conservative about trickle-down supply-side voodoo magical unicorn economics…it is a radical wet-dream that has been proven to be a failure at every turn. Trickle-down economics is a crazy abstract theory. It should be a target of Conservatives…not a catechism.

  11. James Pearce says:


    I think he’s gotten frustrated — as a lot of Republicans have — with the BS. This is basically him saying, “If putting me in the chair will get you guys to knock it off, I’ll do it.”

    That was my impression as well.

    I also got the impression that his wife really doesn’t want him to take the job and that at least one of Ryan’s conditions is actually one of hers. (Go Janna! And truly, go Paul for sticking by her.)

    I don’t support Ryan politically, his party even less, but man…this was great:

    “We have become the problem,” Mr. Ryan said in a news conference afterward. “If my colleagues entrust me to be the speaker, I want us to become the solution.”

    I have a feeling a lot of my fellow liberals will really like hearing the admission that the House GOP has “become the problem,” but me…..I like the call for solutions.

    I’m skeptical about what those solutions will be, considering the source, but I appreciate that there’s at least one Republican interested in finding one.

  12. Todd says:


    Their constituents are enraged and irrational.

    Yep. Go read a couple of the posts about this on RedState. The consensus seems to be that Ryan is “too liberal”, and they should only “allow” him to be speaker if he agrees to some of their conditions. Don’t they realize that the game is up? By chasing off Boehner (who was willing to give them way more of a say than their numbers deserved) then not being able to elect a replacement, they’ve exposed how little actual leverage they have. In what universe did they imagine that they could get 217 votes for any speaker who would be acceptable to them?

  13. CSK says:


    Indeed. And what’s funnier is that even within the Freedom Caucus (by the way, there are also a Tea Party Caucus and a Liberty Caucus, but apparently they’ve been muzzled or outnumbered or outshouted) there’s probably no agreement as to what constitutes a “principled conservative.” Their constituents seem to spend most of their time and energy fighting about who’s more conservative than thou.

    This is all posturing for the folks at home. “See? We tried to get a true conservative as speaker, but the socialists like Ryan and Boehner wouldn’t let us.”

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    Odds that the Clown Caucus will support Ryan: zero. How do I know? Because last night I read Drudge, and I read the comments at Breitbart. Case closed.

    Top comment at Breitbart, 324 upvotes, and rising rapidly:

    Drudge Headlines:


    Really leaves nothing else to be said

    “KING PAUL: PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE” was a link to the WP story (also linked above by Doug) where Ryan lists his demands.

    “DEM FAVORITE” was a link to a story about Reid endorsing Ryan. So savvy for Reid to do this, reaction so predictable.

    “OBAMA’S NEW PARTNER” was a link to this recent CNN story about how Ryan has “allied with the President” in pushing the trade deal.

    It will be interesting to see what the other GOP Pope, Limbaugh, says about this, in light of what he said about Ryan barely three years ago:

    Talk show host Rush Limbaugh jubilantly announced Monday that with the addition of Paul Ryan to the GOP ticket, a true conservative is finally on the ballot. “We now have somebody on the ticket who’s us,” Limbaugh said of the newly named Republican vice-presidential nomineee.

    Things are really, really bad when you can’t even trust Rush anymore. Phrase of the day: cognitive dissonance.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: The problem is that “conservative doesn’t mean what it used to mean. In fact, reading history, I don’t think it ever meant what it used to mean.

    Certainly these guys aren’t conservative per any non-political definition of “conservative”. But they call themselves conservative, everyone else calls them conservative, and they are to the right of any historical center. In the context of early 21st century U. S. politics, I think we have to call them conservative. And they do meet the real historical definition of “conservative’ in that they are tools of the establishment. I would expect these guys get money from establishment people like the Club for Growth (sic) and the Koch Bros who don’t care about all this silliness as long as they cut taxes on the rich and block doing anything about carbon.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    Sure…I get your point. The meanings of words change.
    But on this planet tax cuts that pay for themselves are a radical theory…especially when they have failed to do so in every instance…and the exact opposite of Conservative.
    Just because you call yourself a Conservative doesn’t mean you are one…any more than me calling myself Kate Upton would make me Kate Upton.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Actually, my point isn’t so much that the meaning of words changes as that “conservative ” is pretty much a meaningless word, and “conservatives” have always been lying toadies of the rich. These bozos aren’t pushing tax cuts because they believe in supply side, they’re pushing tax cuts for the rich because rich people, e.g the Club for Growth (sic), Norquist, the Kochs, etc., etc. pay them to. And they then believe in supply side because, as someone said, their income depends on believing it. A week or two ago David Brooks was famously, and hilariously, yearning for some past age of conservative reasonableness. He failed to make a case that there was such an age.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    Breaking…Biden says no.

  19. David M says:

    @James Pearce:

    If “solutions” means a return to normal governance rather than veering from one emergency to another, I doubt too many people will complain.

    I know the legislation coming out of a Republican Congress isn’t going to be what I would want to see, but it would be nice if it also wasn’t accompanied by the constant threat of damaging the economy to placate the “burn it down” Caucus.

  20. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Just saw that about Biden bowing out. Maybe this site should have a “breaking news tipline” thread.

  21. stonetools says:

    Given the Biden announcement, I feel even more certain now that Ryan won’t be speaker, although the two things aren’t really connected. The Freedom Caucus is likely to think that if a conciliatory figure like Biden has dropped out, then they shouldn’t be supporting a conciliatory figure for their side. Rather , they should prepare for war by picking a true warrior.

  22. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: I would agree with you except that I tend to believe that for Ryan, the problem is that there are too many durn liberals messing up the economy and the gubmint of the once great Yoo Knighted States.

    And if Ryan is foolish enough to believe that those guys are going to get behind him for a purpose other than pushing him under the train when it comes, more power to him!

  23. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: You think the Freedom Caucus heard about this and thought to themselves, “this surprises me because Joe’s a conciliatory figure”?

  24. stonetools says:


    I reckon they think of Biden as being slightly more amenable to compromise than Clinton.However I think they didn’t want a conciliator as Speaker anyway, and Biden’s decision just reinforces their desire for a Truly Conservative Speaker.

  25. Pinky says:


    I reckon they think of Biden as being slightly more amenable to compromise than Clinton.


  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: @stonetools: Obama had a reputation as a conciliator. Think that made any difference to McConnell and Boehner deciding on day 1 to oppose all of Obama’s works and ways? Think it’ll be any different with Hillary, or Biden, or Sanders, or Jim Webb, or anyone else with a D after their name? Think the Freedom (sic) Caucus sees a sliver of difference between Ds?

  27. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: I’m sure they do see a difference, but it’s not likely that they think of Clinton and Biden on the conciliation axis. Cleveland is somewhat to the west of Orlando, but if you mention Cleveland in a conversation, no one’s going to think “oh, that’s west of Orlando”.

  28. James Pearce says:

    @David M:

    I know the legislation coming out of a Republican Congress isn’t going to be what I would want to see, but it would be nice if it also wasn’t accompanied by the constant threat of damaging the economy to placate the “burn it down” Caucus.

    I agree. I continue to think that Republicans have something valuable to add to our country. They’ve been intent on proving me a fool, but I don’t take it personally.

    Watching his press conference last night, Paul Ryan struck me as very similar to the conservatives I know IRL. They’re good decent people, uninterested in pissing off liberals (contrast that with the right wing entertainment complex, who exist for little else), who genuinely want to be a force for good (even if their conception of it differs from lefties).

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    And if Ryan is foolish enough to believe that those guys are going to get behind him for a purpose other than pushing him under the train when it comes

    This is why I think he’s so eager to set the terms.

    If they don’t get behind him now, they won’t really have much opportunity to stab him in the back later.

  29. stonetools says:


    See here.

    Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday took a swipe at Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, saying it’s “naive” to think the country can be governed without working with Republicans.

    At a gala honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale, Biden said it’s critical to “end this notion that enemy is the other party.”

    “End this notion that it is naive to think we can speak well of the other party and cooperation,” he added. “What is naive is to think it is remotely possible to govern this country unless we can.”

    My thought was that Biden was the naive one, but it does support the argument that Biden would have been more open to compromise than Clinton. Meanwhile, if there is any doubt as to which party is the more instrasigient, see here:

    Right on cue comes a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that finds a majority of Republican primary voters do not want the next Speaker to prioritize compromise to get things done:

    Now, when it comes to the next Speaker of the House who will replace John Boehner, do you generally wants someone who is more likely to seek compromise and work to get more done or is more likely to stand up for principles even if this means less gets done?

    Seek compromises:40

    Stand up for principles: 56

    Note that the question wording stresses the idea of standing up for principles even if it means less would get done. Other polls have similarly found that Republican voters oppose compromise for its own sake.

    Bottom line, the Republican electorate sent the Freedom Caucus and others to DC to fight, not negotiate, and that is really Ryan’s problem if he takes on the role of Speaker.

  30. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: Forgive the comparison, but “negotiating with the Freedom Caucus” should be striking the same chords for Ryan that “negotiating with Iran” does for the GOP Congressional Caucus. The difference in this case is that walking away is the better deal.

  31. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: If the non-Freedom Caucus decided to heck with the Hastart rule and would gang up with the Democrats, there would be zip-all the Freedom Caucus could do.

    In other words, the Republicans have boxed themselves into their own corner. I have little sympathy.

  32. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: That doesn’t really address my point, though. My point wasn’t important, but this doesn’t address it.

  33. Lit3Bolt says:

    If Republicans were rational, they almost certainly could have gotten a “Grand Bargin” that slashed Social Security and Medicare and increased tax cuts for the rich, and even more deregulation and corporate subsidies coupled with lax government oversight. They could have gotten a shooting war with ISIS probably, a draw-down on Obamacare, new federal abortion laws, if they had really wanted it.

    But no. They wanted ideological purity. They wanted RINOs to be sent to the Gulag and erased from history, and they wanted the United States to default on all of its debt, which would effectively end the American Empire. They wanted Obama impeached. They wanted a giant border fence that would never work, and they wanted government priests to combat Sharia Law in our schools.

    When told they couldn’t have these things, but realistic things, things that would definitely advance the conservative agenda, they said no and proclaimed Obama to be Satan.

    But see…Satan’s your President. Satan’s the leader of the opposition party. To get anything you want, you have to negotiate with Satan.

    Seriously, if I was a Republican intellectual, I would be tearing my hair out by now. Obama’s not Satan, and he’s fairly conservative when judged with other world leaders. Republicans, once they had their majorities, could have had all the trade agreements and oil pipelines they wanted.

    Nope. Instead, let’s dream of returning to the gold standard, refusing to raise the debt ceiling, and deporting 11 million people without anyone dying or suffering or America becoming a police state. That’ll advance the conservative agenda in the most efficient way possible.

    See, conservatism could be successful when it has velvet glove, but no, thanks to Fox News, its adherents want the iron fist all the time, 24/7. And people are beginning to wonder…what was conservatism really about, all along?

  34. James Pearce says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Forgive the comparison, but “negotiating with the Freedom Caucus” should be striking the same chords for Ryan that “negotiating with Iran” does for the GOP Congressional Caucus.

    My impression was that Ryan is going to amend the house rules a bit, and then expect these guys to fall in line.

    If they agree to Ryan’s “requests”-slash-demands, that is.

  35. Steve V says:

    @Lit3Bolt: I don’t think Republicans actually want to cut Social Security and Medicare. They have intellectual objections to them and I assume they want them to be cut, but they want Democrats to do it. Didn’t this become apparent back when the grand bargain was being floated back before the sequester? My memory’s fuzzy but I think I recall some GOPers demagoguing about Democrats cutting SS and Medicare just before it fell apart.

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    Pretty smart. They are begging him to do it so he is telling them that they must acknowledge he is not one of their bitches nor is going to pretend to be one like Boehner, and furthermore, they must abase themselves by acknowledging it publicly.

    The reasoning is clear. If the Freedom Caucus still needs to be “Mommied” he doesn’t want the job. However, if they are willing to subordinate themselves to a meaningful degree to leadership he is willing to take it on. He is not going to run against them, win, and then have to battle them, Ryan will have that settled beforehand or they can find someone else… Please! He is somewhat more than willing to walk. Since many of his and their interests are aligned it might work.

    Some of those demands are deliberate bargaining chips, I suspect. They are only there to provide a pathetic fig leaf for those who feel a need for one.

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steve V: Well, yes; but that may have just been a reflection of Republicans being against whatever Democrats are supporting at the moment, so that Obama will become a one term President

    Breaking News Side Topic: Yahoo informs us that Ryan has “a majority” (regular quotes not scare ones) of the various Republican caucuses and enough votes for election as speaker, but did not get enough support from members of the Freedom Caucus for that caucus’ endorsement. This may provide the acid test of Pinky’s assertion in an earlier thread that Ryan is not the kind to seek power. Based on what his demands are, the lack of endorsement by Freedom should trigger a withdrawal from consideration (he will not be the unity candidate that he demanded as a qualification) BUT, he does have the votes. Only time will tell.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    So Paul Ryan and I do have something in common after all: I, too, am willing to be Speaker of the House if all of my conditions are met first…

  39. anjin-san says:

    Paul Ryan – the guy who voted against family leave now demands that his work not interfere with his family life.