WASHINGTON, D.C. – As rumored for months, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced Wednesday that he will retire from congress at the end of his term, returning to private life in January 2019 after nearly 20 years on Capitol Hill.
“Statement from Brendan Buck, counselor to Speaker Ryan:
“This morning Speaker Ryan shared with his colleagues that this will be his last year as a member of the House. He will serve out his full term, run through the tape, and then retire in January. After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him. […]””
Friends of Ryan say that after passing tax reform, long a goal of Ryan’s, he was ready to leave the high pressure post that had become especially frustrating. They attribute some of this frustration to President Trump, but one can’t help but think that those principled members intent on frustrating the status quo played into his discomfort with the position.
D.C. insiders suggest that his retirement is a “tectonic shift” that will fuel worries that the House is all but lost to Democrats in the midterm elections.
So who will be the next Speaker? The top two front runners are apparently House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).
McCarthy tried his hand at Speaker when former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) jumped ship when it became apparent he’d be forced to walk the plank. Scalise, recently returning after recovering from gun shot wounds at the hands of a crazed Leftist during a baseball practice, has said he will not run against his friend McCarthy.
Like last time around, McCarthy may appear the favored choice up until the point he drops out to clear the way for Scalise. That’d be consistent with the Establishment’s modus operandi.
This does not disqualify a dark horse – especially in the age of Trump – and that dark horse leader could very well be a Tar Heel.
Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows (R-NC) has been a powerful player in the House, while maintaining a credible defense of conservative principles. It was Meadows that moved to oust Speaker Boehner in 2015, while still a relative newcomer to the legislature.
Now, Meadows is an influential leader of a principled coalition of conservatives with enough numbers to influence House business, and a direct line to President Trump to boot. Last year Meadows was reportedly speaking with top Trump advisers about ousting Ryan due to his soft stances on immigration and the lack of disruption to the status quo of the Swamp under his leadership.
With Meados leading a caucus largely made up of ardent Trump supports, his personal relationship with the president, his credibility and respect among congressional peers, and his affable, but principled tenure in the House, he’d be a fantastic pick for Speaker in our view.
If the rank and file members want to shake things up, rid themselves of the Swampy muck that has endangers their majority in the first place, and rededicate themselves to bold, conservative leadership that will complement a bold and unconventional president, they should united behind Mark Meadows for Speaker of the House.