Rep. Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) moved closer to the House speakership Tuesday, telling fellow Republicans that he would consider taking the job if he could be assured that the caucus would stand behind him.
Ryan faced his colleagues — and his political future — at a private evening meeting of House Republicans in the Capitol basement. He said he would be willing to step up and meet the calls to serve, ending weeks of GOP leadership turmoil, as long as disparate factions moved in the coming days to unite around him.
“I hope it doesn’t sound conditional, but it is,” he said, according to members inside the room. He paused after saying the word “conditional,” they said, for effect.
The article makes clear that part of the demands of the Freedom Caucus is a less autocratic Speaker and a return to “regular order”:
Those conservative House members have pushed for a suite of rules changes, ranging from an overhaul of the party’s internal steering committee to a more open process for considering legislation. Ryan, they say, would not be exempt from those demands, which, if adopted, could give the new speaker less control.
It’s not clear to me how these changes would help us get smaller government, and a recent Politico piece (cached link; no links for bullies) citing Justin Amash on this point did not clarify anything for me. In fact, Amash gave a quote that I disagree with: “In some cases, conservative outcomes will succeed. In other cases, liberal outcomes will succeed. And that’s OK.”
No, it’s not.
So it appears that much of the debate will revolve around obscure rules changes that mean little even to a somewhat interested observer. Meanwhile, Ryan wants some promises:
Ryan’s allies say his conditions for becoming speaker are likely to include an understanding that he would have a free hand to lead without a constant fear of mutinous reprisals.
Well, my friend, that depends on how you lead, doesn’t it?