What if you had a House of Representatives--and nobody wanted to lead it? That is the scenario shaping up in Congress this week as the assumed front-runners for Speaker of the House drop out of the race--and the most-qualified candidates refuse to get in the running. If this keep up, Mike Rowe will end up as Speaker as part of his new TV series Somebody's Gotta Do it.
I can see why anyone with serious political aspirations wants to stay as far away from being Speaker as possible. Just look at the last few holders of the position. John Boehner has become the scourge of his own party and his portrayed as a wimp. Nancy Pelosi coined the phrase "We need to pass the bill to find out what's in it" and is generally considered to be a fruitcake. Dennis Hastert has been indicted on Federal fraud charges not to mention he has been accused of molesting boys and paying them to stay quiet. And Newt Gingrich is still one of the most reviled people in American politics. Who wants to join that "Pantheon of Greatness"?
What really concerns me is the full-court press being put on by some in the Republican Party to "draft" Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be the next speaker--despite his repeated and emphatic statements that he has no interest in the position. Ryan says he can do more good for the country heading up the Ways and Means Committee and controlling the Congressional purse strings. But the main reason is more likely that Ryan knows that he is far too young to head to the political graveyard already.
Nonetheless, Ryan and those who think they are doing him a favor by demanding that he run will be in the A-segments of all of the Sunday talk shows--right after the hosts tell us about the "crisis in Congress" and the "civil war tearing the GOP apart". I'm putting the over/under on the number of times being Speaker is compared to "herding cats" at 2.5.
And that is the real problem here. Right now, you cannot get Republicans to agree on anything. And it is why--despite all of her problems with trustworthiness, honesty and likeability--Hillary Clinton continues to lead all of the Republican Presidential candidates in head-to-head polling. Maybe the Republicans in the house could put a scare into those who can't get on the same page by backing a bi-partisan return to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker (there is no law saying a member of the majority has to be Speaker) and remind everyone of what the stakes are in the 2016 elections.