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Speaker Ryan Faces Bruising Battle With Fringe House Conservatives

March 16, 2016

I was one of those who did not envy Congressman Paul Ryan when he started to seriously consider the positon of House speaker.  His predecessor, John Boehner, had endured nothing but roadblocks from the far right-wing element in the GOP caucus.  That conservative group had proven to all they were only interested in torpedoing the work of government rather than see it function.   Knowing that how could anyone wish for the speaker’s chair?

On Monday all the reasons for Ryan to have second and third thoughts about taking the positon became very clear.

In what can only be termed pure embarrassment Tea Party members who bedeviled Boehner blocked a House leadership-backed budget plan.  Those conservatives underscored one of the principal arguments President Obama has made when it comes to the GOP controlled congress.  There is just no way to work with them.

This time Tea Party conservatives under-cut last year’s budget deal.  If your word no longer has value and credibility than the work of governing comes to a  halt.   Time and again we hear stories of opposing members saying it was only due to someone giving their word that progress on this or that issue was made.  When promises are broken and faith lost there is truly nothing to triumph but pure chaos.

But is not chaos in government the goal of the Tea Party?

What this lack of action Monday means is the promise by the GOP leadership in the 2014 mid-term elections means nothing.  We were told that if placed in full power of congress the GOP would show what their governing abilities would look like.  Instead what we are witnessing is what they say has no validity.  As it stands now the House will fail to pass a budget for the first time since Republicans reclaimed control of the chamber in 2011.

One can debate the merits of the budget plan and be totally opposed to the final product. But the fact once again the House leadership is unable to make the trains run underscores why voters across the nation are upset.

Months ago Ryan could say ‘Not my monkey.  Not my circus.’  But today he has to own the dysfunction and try to maneuver the crazies.   Though I come at politics from the opposite direction I do feel sorry for him.  No one wants to be in his shoes.

For the rest of us watching this sad chapter play out the lessons are clear.  We see once more that the Tea Party element has created shame for the GOP.  We witness again the desire from this element to only create discord in governing.  Sadly for the nation we again see congress unable to function.  Most importantly, however, is the truism that a political party should never allow the angry and least capable to get controlling seats at the table.

The Republicans ginned up the Tea Party, stoked the fire, and now wonder why it is getting so hot.  At the center of the heat this week is Ryan.

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