Wednesday, October 21, 2015

House Freedom Caucus Backs Paul Ryan, But Does Not Formally Endorse Him For Speaker

by JASmius

Ryan wanted the HFC's endorsement, which, by its internal rules, requires a minimum of 80% of their vote; they didn't give him enough backing for that, but just short of it, a clear supermajority:

“A supermajority of the House Freedom Caucus has voted to support Paul Ryan’s bid to become the next Speaker of the House. Paul is a policy entrepreneur who has developed conservative reforms dealing with a wide variety of subjects, and he has promised to be an ideas-focused Speaker who will advance limited government principles and devolve power to the membership. While no consensus exists among members of the House Freedom Caucus regarding Chairman Ryan’s preconditions for serving, we believe that these issues can be resolved within our Conference in due time. We all know that Washington needs to change the way it does business, and we look forward to working with Paul and all our colleagues to enact process reforms that empower individual representatives and restore respect to our institution.”

Is "supermajority support" versus a formal endorsement a distinction without a difference?  Seems like a matter of semantics to me, on both sides.  The HFC won't try to block Ryan, and he can presumably get to 218 votes.  On the other side, its members can say that they didn't endorse him, even though they didn't block him either.  It's like House Tea Partiers suddenly realized the insanity of what they were doing, that they had overplayed their hand, and were looking for a face-saving way out of the impasse they had created.  As such, this compromise ought to work, assuming Ryan doesn't get balky about it.

The best thing that can happen now is to elevate Paul Ryan and put the whole stinking mess behind us.  But to my political palate the way that House Tea Partiers went so far out of their way to regard fellow Republicans as being enemies - and remember that Paul Ryan's lifetime Freedom Works voting score was seventeen points higher than that of the HFC's candidate, Dan Webster - reinforces the bad taste they've left in my mouth over the past couple of years.  That is the poisonous mindset that has to stop, on both sides of the GOP civil war, if the party and the conservative agenda are to have their maximized opportunity to win the 2016 election and begin the process of de-Obamunizing the country, respectively.

Because, like it or not, we're all on the same team and in the same boat.  We might as well all pull our oars in the same direction instead of clubbing each other over the head with them.

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