Although the media is particularly focused on demonizing the Freedom Caucus for the demise of Mr. Boehner, I think there are real opportunities for both Paul Ryan and the Freedom Caucus to come out of this mess as winners. Here are Paul Ryan’s requests for #moreReasonableSpeakerConditions.
- The Republicans must “move from being an opposition party to a proposition party.”
- The Republicans must “update our House rules so that everyone can be a more effective representative [including] fixes that ensure we don’t experience constant leadership challenges and crises.”
- The Republicans must “unify now” behind one Speaker.
- Mr. Ryan can forego fundraising travel to spend more time with his family.
His requests are not only reasonable but they also encourage the Republican party to evolve into a party that is better equipped to govern and be re-elected. The current political model is not working for either the Democrats or the Republicans. Democrats cringe at defending Ms. Clinton’s unforced errors. Did Ambassador Stevens death in Benghazi an unintended consequence of Democrat party politics run amok or incompetence? For every mother and father who lost a son in Benghazi are we to be consoled with the question, “What difference does it make?” Were there any adults in the room when Ms. Clinton said she wanted to set up a private email server? When you look at the Administration scandals over the last seven years there does not appear to be much in the way of accomplishments or accountability. Even though big government has become synonymous with government corruption Democrats have ceased to make any pretense they want our democratic process to make good decisions. It is no wonder that some people call the Democratic party the evil party.
Republicans on the other hand are not much better. Many Republicans ran advocating bipartisan change through the democratic process. They thought that if they proposed simple bills with bipartisan support such as the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act (S. 1697 and H.R. 2911) and Kate’s Law( S. 1762 and H.R. 3011) then there would be votes. Instead of votes the bills are locked up in Congressional hell. Republicans cringe at the thought they have successfully evolved from the opposition party to the do-nothing party so they should not be surprised that groups like the Freedom Caucus are demanding political changes. The Republican establishment response to the Tea Party candidates in 2010 was “scorched-earth tactics” and all that did was piss the candidates off. So instead of reconciling with the newly elected representatives Mr. Boehner went a step further and tried to marginalize them. Who would of thought that marginalized, pissed off representatives would respond by asking for a new Speaker of the House? Sorry Mr. Boehner, you own this problem and the stupid party moniker! If the Republicans truly want to evolve into a “big tent political party” they are going to need some adults in the room to reconcile Tea Party and Freedom Caucus issues. The time for demonizing is over. Avik Roy makes the same argument in the article, If The Freedom Caucus And Paul Ryan Agree, Here’s What The New House Speaker Will Do.
On the merits, reasonable decentralizing reforms could actually make the House function more smoothly. Backbenchers who now lodge protest votes out of frustration could have a stake in a legislative process that works, because their own bills could get passed. In The Federalist, Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) made this very case, that an “open-source” Congress might produce better legislation than the one we have now.
Both Mr. Ryan and the Freedom Caucus can win if they keep their eyes focused on making the House function more smoothly and bring some of the law making back to the House. The Freedom Caucus requests are simple and Mr. Ryan will look presidential if he handles their issues like an adult. If they are successful they may be surprised to find that the Republican Party has become attractive to Black and Hispanic candidates who want to make a difference for their communities. That is what I call a Win-Win-Win!