Reprinted from The Nation
Paul Ryan demands unwavering support for House speaker. But if this "young gun" is the GOP's "only hope," the party's in even bigger trouble than it seems.
Paul Ryan: Want Me To Be Speaker? Here's My List Of Demands...
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The last of the young guns is riding to the rescue.
After declaring repeatedly that he was "not interested" in filling the void created by the decision of House Speaker John Boehner to quit -- in the face of a threatened vote to remove him -- Paul Ryan now says he might deign to accept the speakership.
He wants it handed to him on a silver platter. And with a grudging vote by the right-wing absolutist Freedom Caucus to "support" his bid -- though not quite to "endorse" it -- the platter is being prepared.
It is increasingly likely that Ryan will be the the next Speaker of the House. And he will do so with regal flourishes more frequently seen in corporate suites than the Capitol. Ryan has not just demanded that the many caucuses and factions into which House Republicans have grouped themselves agree to give him unwavering support. Rejecting the politics of persuasion, he has created a new set of requirements for House Republicans, and warned them not to push back. (Ryan is even asking that his fellow Republicans recognize his need for defined and respected family time, which we should all hope he gets as part of a broader Republican pivot toward support of family-and-medical-leave laws and the initiatives by trade unions to negotiate better deals for working moms and dads.)
"I hope it doesn't sound conditional -- but it is," Ryan says of his my-way-or-no-way approach.
What makes the House Ways and Means Committee chairman so sure of the necessity of his leadership at "a very dire moment, not just for Congress, not just for the Republican Party, but for our country"?
Ryan has always positioned himself as a leader with star power for a party where that commodity has been in short supply. Back in 2010, the Wisconsin congressman co-authored the book Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders. Politico described the tome as "a 224-page marketing tool for the men who hope to run the House."