WASHINGTON, D.C. – The word from Politico Thursday is that Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) is tiring of congress and that many of his closest confidantes feel he will leave the Swamp after 2018.
“Despite several landmark legislative wins this year, and a better-than-expected relationship with President Donald Trump, Ryan has made it known to some of his closest confidants that this will be his final term as speaker. He consults a small crew of family, friends and staff for career advice, and is always cautious not to telegraph his political maneuvers. But the expectation of his impending departure has escaped the hushed confines of Ryan’s inner circle and permeated the upper-most echelons of the GOP. In recent interviews with three dozen people who know the speaker—fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists—not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018.”
That would certainly be big news should it come to pass. The Establishment is surely hard at work to line up a successor that is amenable to the self-interested ways of career politicians, but a shakeup like this could open the door for some ascendant conservative leaders, like, say, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows (R-NC)?
Meadows has been climbing his way to a position of influence on Capitol Hill in a manner that is not reflective of the typical Establishment Brown-nosers.
He spearheaded the motion to remove Swamp King Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) from his perch as Speaker; he became leader of the increasingly formidable Freedom Caucus; and he has earned the respect and ear of President Trump when many in congress are at odds with the unexpected president’s style and still resentful of his electoral success in 2016.
The latter is evident, in part, of Ryan’s supposed reasoning for leaving D.C. in 2018.
“Ryan was tiring of D.C. even before reluctantly accepting the speakership. He told his predecessor, John Boehner, that it would be his last job in politics—and that it wasn’t a long-term proposition. In the months following Trump’s victory, he began contemplating the scenarios of his departure. More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season. Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intra-party debates over “micro-tactics,” and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center. On a personal level, going home at the end of next year would allow Ryan, who turns 48 next month, to keep promises to family; his three children are in or entering their teenage years, and Ryan, whose father died at 55, wants desperately to live at home with them full-time before they begin flying the nest. The best part of this scenario, people close to the speaker emphasize: He wouldn’t have to share the ballot with Trump again in 2020.“
Where Ryan isn’t willing to run on the 2020 ballot with Trump, you can be sure that a conservative leader like Meadows is unafraid to man the helm during such an important election year.
And competition from Meadows has never been far from Speaker Ryan’s mind as he indicated in previous interviews with Politico.
“When Ryan succeeded Boehner in the fall of 2015, the new speaker sought to eliminate—or at least weaken—the parliamentary tactic that had been used against his predecessor. By filing a “motion to vacate the chair,” Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina had found a way to force a vote on the speakership at any time—a potential humiliation that Boehner avoided by retiring. Ryan, working with Boehner’s team during the transition, was unsuccessful in banning this practice. But he made it clear to Boehner at the time, and to his own allies upon assuming the speakership, that he would not serve at the whims of Meadows and the House Freedom Caucus, a group of some 35 conservative hard-liners.”
What Ryan has a problem with in the House Freedom Caucus and Meadows are not ‘whims’ at all. They’re actually principles that conservatives try hard to stay loyal to, and the Establishment resents because it makes it hard for them to do business as usual.
So, if Ryan does indeed leave after 2018, and the House Freedom Caucus grows in influence and solidarity with Trump in the meantime, could a Meadows speakership be forthcoming?
The Swamp will do everything it can to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it would be a fantastic boon for the conservative movement and a benefit to the American people.
Read the rest of the lengthy piece on Ryan’s rumored exit here.