How Did We Get to Paul Ryan as the Likely New Speaker of the House?

plrynAll the headline grabbing difficulties to choosing a new Speaker of the House are due mostly to one thing — the emergence of the powerful House Freedom Caucus. But the caucus may also now be the solution to those difficulties. Now that a supermajority in the caucus is supporting Paul Ryan to replace John Boehner as speaker, Ryan is all but certain to get the position. Two other factions in the House are expected to endorse him Friday, the centrist Tuesday Group and the mainstream Republican Study Committee, and he is expected to be confirmed by the full House the next day. Ryan has a respectable rating of 90 from The American Conservative Union, and is well-liked by both conservatives and moderates, so he is a natural choice for speaker.

For those who thought the establishment status quo could never be defeated, it was a real shock to see Boehner announce his resignation. But when the Republicans took over the House in 2010, a powerful new conservative GOP formed, the Freedom Caucus, currently composed of 38 conservative, anti-establishment and Tea Party House Republicans. Together, they presented enough of a voting bloc that Boehner realized his effectiveness would be short lived, as the caucus began plotting to force him out.

After Boehner announced his resignation, there was another shock when Boehner’s designated establishment successor, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, announced he was withdrawing from the race. As a former majority whip, he had experience rounding up votes, and said at one point he had collected enough votes to win. But the Freedom Caucus decided to put their support behind little-known Daniel Webster from Florida instead, and McCarthy realized that even if he could get enough votes for the first vote among Republicans, he wouldn’t make it past the second vote on the House floor if the Freedom Caucus members refused to support him. He didn’t help himself by making a comment on TV at this time that seemed to imply the House Benghazi Committee had been set up for the purpose of taking Hillary Clinton out of the presidential race.

Read the rest of the article at The Stream

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