Republicans hoping that Paul Ryan would rescue the party from political turmoil by putting himself forward as a candidate for Speaker of the House, had their hopes dashed again on Friday. A spokesperson for Ryan reiterated that the Congressmen was still not interested in the position. Alex Moe at NBC News tweeted on Friday:
Ryan spox to NBC News: “Chairman Ryan appreciates the support he’s getting from his colleagues but is still not running for Speaker.
The Speaker of the House job has become a job nobody wants. No Republican wants to be given the thankless task of trying to balance the need for maintaining a functioning government with the political need to placate the party’s radical wing that is still hell bent on fighting the very notion of functioning governance.
While Ryan was seen as someone who might be able to unify the establishment and insurgent wings of the Republican Party, he also was probably aware that once he took the gavel that fragile unity would crumble. If he assumed the Speaker’s role, whatever tactics Ryan decided to adopt on the debt ceiling fight, would almost invariably alienate one camp or the other, sending the House back into disarray.
Any politician who wishes to establish a productive political legacy, or who has ambitions for a successful political future, is likely to steer clear of taking on the Speaker’s role in the midst of the current institutional paralysis. One of the few politicians expressing interest in becoming Speaker is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
However, unlike Ryan, few people, other than Newt himself, see Gingrich as a potential savior. Paul Ryan was in many ways the GOP’s last best hope. However, Ryan doesn’t seem interested in putting his political career on the line, and setting himself up for failure, by taking on the job. The Republicans will have to go back to square one, which isn’t easy to do when you are a party that is running out of options because your members don’t play well with others.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.