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October 21, 2015

Paul Ryan: I'll Accept The Speakership Role if You Agree to Unify Behind Me, Completely

Ryan's laid out a series of demands for his agreement to be vaulted into the third-in-line position of succession to the presidency.

He doesn't want to give up his family time going off to do all the fundraising that a House Speaker usually does. He says he'll make up for this by "communicating" our vision, which means, I imagine, he'll be on tv a lot, maybe from live remotes near his family house in Wisconsin.

Fine.

He says Republicans must not be an "opposition party," but instead be a "proposition party." This is the sort of nonsense that wonks say. In fact, as a structural matter, it is impossible to lead the nation's agenda from the position of the party that does not control the White House; Newt Gingrich tried, and, while he did get a lot of his contract for America passed, he soon learned that the system is geared to make the president, not the Speaker, the agenda-setter of the nation.

The president's structural advantage is that he commands the media (especially when they love him) and all the levers of the leviathan government. The opposition's structural advantage, which is less powerful but still and advantage, is that they don't have to agree on a specific legislative proposal, but can instead simply oppose that offered by the executive.

Being a "propositional" opposition gives up the out-party's only advantage, and still fails to match the in-party's advantage.

But whatever, I guess you're supposed to say things like this.

Lastly, he says he wants to "update our House rules." Lest anyone think this is a concession to the Freedom Caucus' long-standing complaint that House power is too centralized and that they can never get their amendments considered, Paul Ryan makes it clear that by "updating our House rules" he means getting rid of the legislative challenges that plagued John Boehner.

In other words, he wants the Freedom Caucus and other non-establishment groups to give up their only means of imposing their own agenda on the Speaker.

Allahpundit calls it a case of a guy who doesn't want a job that management wants him to take demanding a million dollar salary. If they give him the million dollars, okay, he'll do the job he doesn't like for a million dollars. If they don't, well, he didn't want the job anyway.

He's demanding the Freedom Caucus castrate themselves for the pleasure of having him bully them around.

Either way, he's set himself up to sound like the Reasonable Guy in the Room, while the Establishment gets to demagogue the Freedom Caucus as intransigent wacko-birds.

Notice that figures more to the left -- Obama, Reid, Ryan -- routinely offer these sort of My Way or the Highway propositions to the right, and when the right objects, it's the right that is accused of "refusing to compromise."


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posted by Ace at 01:36 PM

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