GOP dilemma: What to do about Paul Ryan?

Even before the GOP alternative to Obamacare was ignominiously pulled from the floor by Republican leaders, calls for the ouster of Speaker Paul Ryan were being heard across the conservative internet.  Those calls only grew louder when the scope of the failure became clear.  It seems a safe bet that Speaker Ryan is one of the more unpopular Republicans on Capitol Hill.

This isn't the first time that calls to replace the Speaker have been heard.  But each time the demand is made by conservatives to get rid of Ryan, opponents of the speaker face the same old problem.

Whom are you gonna get to take his place?

It's not that there aren't any candidates willing to step forward to challenge him.  It's that there are too many.  The bottom line is, the right has failed to date to get behind a single alternative who could defeat the speaker in an election.

Washington Times:

President Trump said they were 10 to 15 votes shy of the majority needed to pass it. Rather than force their troops to take a tough stand, he and Mr. Ryan decided to cancel the vote.

Conservatives and moderates alike were skeptical of the legislation.

In the wake of the failure, a number of conservatives pinned blame on Mr. Ryan and his leadership team – but deflected blame from Mr. Trump, saying he did everything in his power to sell the legislation Mr. Ryan wrote.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, said congressional leaders wrote their bill "in secret" and then tried to force it on lawmakers – a mistake he said has been repeated time and again.

"If I were the president I wouldn't deal with health care anymore, but as legislators it is a problem and we should pick it right back up, do it the right way, get everybody with a different interest in the room together," Mr. Gohmert said.

Mr. Trump, though, praised Mr. Ryan for his efforts and said the hiccup was hardline conservatives who were unwilling to compromise.

Mr. Ryan also got a vote of confidence from Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is seen as a potential speaker in the future.

"Our conference is blessed to be led by a great conservative like Paul Ryan," Mr. Hensarling said. "He's a man of impeccable integrity who has an unyielding passion for the cause of freedom. He showed phenomenal leadership and negotiated in good faith throughout this process."

A new election for speaker could be called for by anyone in the House.  Elected by a majority of the full House – 216 members at present – Ryan could afford to lose up to 22 votes from the GOP caucus and still remain speaker.

That doesn't sound like much, but Republicans unanimously re-elected Ryan speaker in January.  And he wasn't any more popular then than he is now.

Even if Ryan is unseated, there's no guarantee that a conservative would take his place.  In fact, it's far more likely that one of his allies would move in to take his place.  In a numbers game, GOP conservatives lose every time.

Trump graciously declined to blame Ryan publicly for the debacle.  But I suspect he wouldn't mind seeing a Trump loyalist hold the position.  Traditionally, presidents don't get tangled up in the inner workings of the House.  But Trump has shown himself no slave of tradition, and the possibility exists that he will take a hand in changing the leadership of Republicans in the House.

Even before the GOP alternative to Obamacare was ignominiously pulled from the floor by Republican leaders, calls for the ouster of Speaker Paul Ryan were being heard across the conservative internet.  Those calls only grew louder when the scope of the failure became clear.  It seems a safe bet that Speaker Ryan is one of the more unpopular Republicans on Capitol Hill.

This isn't the first time that calls to replace the Speaker have been heard.  But each time the demand is made by conservatives to get rid of Ryan, opponents of the speaker face the same old problem.

Whom are you gonna get to take his place?

It's not that there aren't any candidates willing to step forward to challenge him.  It's that there are too many.  The bottom line is, the right has failed to date to get behind a single alternative who could defeat the speaker in an election.

Washington Times:

President Trump said they were 10 to 15 votes shy of the majority needed to pass it. Rather than force their troops to take a tough stand, he and Mr. Ryan decided to cancel the vote.

Conservatives and moderates alike were skeptical of the legislation.

In the wake of the failure, a number of conservatives pinned blame on Mr. Ryan and his leadership team – but deflected blame from Mr. Trump, saying he did everything in his power to sell the legislation Mr. Ryan wrote.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, said congressional leaders wrote their bill "in secret" and then tried to force it on lawmakers – a mistake he said has been repeated time and again.

"If I were the president I wouldn't deal with health care anymore, but as legislators it is a problem and we should pick it right back up, do it the right way, get everybody with a different interest in the room together," Mr. Gohmert said.

Mr. Trump, though, praised Mr. Ryan for his efforts and said the hiccup was hardline conservatives who were unwilling to compromise.

Mr. Ryan also got a vote of confidence from Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is seen as a potential speaker in the future.

"Our conference is blessed to be led by a great conservative like Paul Ryan," Mr. Hensarling said. "He's a man of impeccable integrity who has an unyielding passion for the cause of freedom. He showed phenomenal leadership and negotiated in good faith throughout this process."

A new election for speaker could be called for by anyone in the House.  Elected by a majority of the full House – 216 members at present – Ryan could afford to lose up to 22 votes from the GOP caucus and still remain speaker.

That doesn't sound like much, but Republicans unanimously re-elected Ryan speaker in January.  And he wasn't any more popular then than he is now.

Even if Ryan is unseated, there's no guarantee that a conservative would take his place.  In fact, it's far more likely that one of his allies would move in to take his place.  In a numbers game, GOP conservatives lose every time.

Trump graciously declined to blame Ryan publicly for the debacle.  But I suspect he wouldn't mind seeing a Trump loyalist hold the position.  Traditionally, presidents don't get tangled up in the inner workings of the House.  But Trump has shown himself no slave of tradition, and the possibility exists that he will take a hand in changing the leadership of Republicans in the House.

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