(Washington, DC — October 30, 2015) – Just in time for Halloween, amid much weeping and wailing, Paul Ryan (R-WI) became the 54th Speaker of the House yesterday.
And the weeping and wailing didn’t come solely from outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
Facing a revolt from the misnomered and conservative House Freedom Caucus, “Weeper-In-Chief” Boehner – also known as “The Weepy Speaker” and the “Weeper of the House” – announced his resignation from both the speakership and Congress on September 25.
Faced with growing dissent in his ranks, and with the country facing its first Federal government shutdown since October 2013, the man who brought Lemon-Scented Republican Pledge to the country bowed out, allowing a short-term funding bill to be passed while a new speaker could be chosen – assuming anyone was either too stupid or suicidal to actually want the job.
But nine days after Boehner stunned Washington, his hand-picked successor, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), abruptly withdrew his name from consideration, as it appeared the House Freedom Caucus wouldn’t support his candidacy.
Ryan was seen as the only candidate who could serve “bridge” the divide between the various Republican factions in the House of Representatives.
“The problem is that the bridge in this case is the Takoma Narrows Bridge,” said a political analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And I’m talking about the 1940 Takoma Narrows Bridge. It’s been a disaster for years, and it’s a disaster that isn’t going to suddenly go away because Ryan says so.”
Ryan set preconditions to throwing his hat into the ring to run as speaker. For example, he will be allowed ample time to return to 1313 Mockingbird Lane to spend time with his family.
While he was elected by a comfortable margin, the House Freedom Caucus isn’t 100% united behind Ryan, either.
“It doesn’t sound like the ‘Freedom Caucus’ wants to support anything or anyone who even looks at the Democrats, not to mention actually speak to them and get legislation done,” said a political analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They’re pretty far off the reservation, and what you have is a group – no, a gang – of 40 elected officials who are holding the Federal government hostage. In essence, they’re holding the country hostage, too.
“Ryan might be considered a ‘compromise’ candidate to some, but I really don’t see how the Freedom Caucus will toe the line.”
With a two-year budget agreement with the White House almost a done deal – Boehner’s pushed the deal to House members in order to “clean the barn” before leaving office – Ryan should at least have somewhat of a reprieve from his chain-smoking predecessor, who routinely faced threats of Federal government shutdowns and defaults on the nation’s debt.
“On the other hand, this is today’s Republican Party we’re talking about,” said a Congressional spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Anything can happen. Literally.”
“It’s interesting that Boehner wanted to ‘clean the barn’ for Ryan,” said a political insider, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Ryan’s conservative cronies are the reason Boehner was essentially fired, so he owes nothing to Ryan.
“Plus, in a barn, there are horses, and where there are horses, there’s horse manure. The ‘barn’ may be ‘clean’ today, but the horses – or, in this case, asses – are still there, and I expect a very short honeymoon for Ryan before we see the manure accumulating again.”