Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quick Hits: Volume CXVIII

-Truth be told, I've been ambivalent about the race for House Speaker. I will say though that is has been interesting theater. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would surmise outgoing Speaker John Boehner is stepping down just to prove to detractors in his own party how the job is utterly thankless. 

After several confirmed and rumored candidates have come and gone, it now appears Rep. Paul Ryan, who has been reluctant every step of the way, will put forth a candidacy......with conditions

If he can't get support from the major GOP groups in the House, including the moderate Republican Study Committee and the conservative Republican Study Group and House Freedom Caucus, Ryan said he would stay on as chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee.

"It's in their hands," Ryan told reporters after the meeting. "I'll leave it up to my colleagues to decide if I am that unifying person."

Ryan told the members he is open to rules changes, which have been under discussion in recent weeks. But he said the changes must be decided by everyone, signaling he won't necessarily agree to the demands of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 conservative and libertarian lawmakers who are seeking to end the traditional "top down" style of GOP House management.

Ryan also said he would seek to eliminate a House rule allowing any member to file a motion to "vacate the chair," which is a vote for the removal of the speaker. Such a motion was introduced last summer by Freedom Caucus member Mark Meadows, R-N.C., in a bid to try to oust Boehner.

But he extended a potential olive branch to the disgruntled conservatives.

"We need to update our House rules so everyone can be a more effective representative," Ryan said, adding that he wanted to avoid "constant leadership crisis" that have plagued the GOP majority in recent years stemming from infighting.

For me, it's simple. I would be good with any Speaker who enforces the "Hastert Rule." What that entails is no bills will be brought forth for a floor vote unless a majority of the majority party supports it. Period. This is a tenant which Boehner violated a number of times during his tenure, thus causing friction within the GOP caucus.

I believe Ryan has a better temperament than Boehner and would effectively weather any storms. The only mystery remaining is will the HFC acquiesce to Ryan's conditions? We'll know Friday I guess.

- It appears that for the 107th consecutive year, the Chicago Cubs' faithful will once again be saying "wait until next year." After a 5-2 loss to the New York Mets at home in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, the Cubs are in a 3-0 hole in the best of 7 series.

I would gather that Theo Epstein (Red Sox GM in 2004; current Cubs' President of Baseball Operation) is the only person in human history to be told twice "No way can your club rally after being down in the LCS 3-0 to New York."

- Jim Webb is dropping out of Hillary's coronation the race to be the Democrat nominee for President.

"I fully accept that my views on many issues are not compatible with the power structure and the nominating base of the Democratic Party," Webb told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. The current Democratic hierarchy, he said, "is not comfortable with many of the policies laid forth, and frankly I am not that comfortable with many of theirs."

On whether he would continue to call himself a Democrat, Webb responded, "We'll think about that."

"The Democratic Party is heavily invested in interest-group politics," he said, and that could exclude groups it means to include, responding to a question about his reluctance to embrace the Black Lives Matter movement and to call on the removal of the Confederate flag from federal grounds.

In an email to reporters on Monday evening, Webb's campaign said that he is considering running as an independent.

Webb running as an independent seems all but assured given the attire donned by his aides at the NPC gathering.

Remember though. It's the GOP which has become more of a fringe party, or something.


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