Conservatives' pick for Speaker might not even be in Congress much longer

The nail in the coffin of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's hopes of being the next speaker was opposition from the House Freedom Caucus. The rogue conservative group of about 30 members instead wants it to be Florida Rep. Daniel Webster.

Daniel WebsterBut Webster might not even be coming back to the House in 2017, thanks to a redrawing of his congressional district that might make it unwinnable for the GOP.

Florida is being forced to redraw part of its congressional lines ahead of the 2016 elections after a court ruled the map produced for the 2012 elections violated an anti-gerrymandering amendment that passed in 2010. While not all districts will have to be redrawn, Webster's Orlando-area district will be drastically affected.

Under current proposals, which the court will decide whether to accept or reject, Webster's district would go from a GOP-leaning one to a Democratic-heavy seat.

The Orlando Sentinel shows how the district would change — from one with a four-point GOP registration edge to one with an 18-point Democratic one. That's hard to overcome in any election, but will be especially perilous in a presidential year when key Democratic electoral groups turn out.

While GOP leaders are having conversations about a potential placeholder speaker until 2017 rolls around — after the presidential election — the Freedom Caucus shows no signs of backing off its endorsement of Webster, who got 12 votes for speaker this past January. Members of the group believe Webster, as a former speaker of the Florida House, already has leadership experience — and would manage the House from the bottom up instead of top down.

But by backing someone whose tenure in Congress could have an expiration date very soon, any momentum the conservative caucus could have gotten by pushing Webster could be for naught.


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  • For the last few days, the media, national and international, print and visual, have been hammering the fact that the Speaker of the House of Representatives need not, by their guidelines, need to be a member of the House at all. Hmm…this would seem to me to be a bit like saying my surgeon need not to have graduated medical school. I’d like my physicians to have at least an idea of how the surgical processes worked, just as I would like the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the individual in line for the Presidency of the United States, right after the VP, to have some clue about how things work in government. To use the vernacular, it ain’t like it says in the books. At least not completely. The specter of Dick Cheney, or “W” being named Speaker is a terrifying one—to me anyway—and yet, there are those in various media outlets(not even counting Faux News) who hold that up as a strong possibility. If the GOP has sunk to the level where there is so much disarray in their ranks that they cannot find an individual within their ranks to lead them…then perhaps they need to dissolve their party and let a group with some idea of legislative and governmental integrity take over for them. The sheer folly of choosing someone outside of the House, knows no limit. Why not choose Grover Norquist or one of the Koch boys? Any of them could literally buy and sell the government as it is…they already own enough Congressmen to run the thing into the ground. They’ve proven that. John Boehner is not my favorite person on the planet, still he ranks above Paul Ryan, who is being coaxed, flattered, cajoled and every other thing the GOP leadership can think of to become Speaker. It is MY OPINION, but I think Paul Ryan has the ethics of a snake—and a poisonous one at that. Problem. Ryan (1/129/70) has been a Rep since 1999 and while he’s managed to wrangle a chairmanship on the Ways and Means Committee, a seat on the Budget Committee and one on the sub-committee on health. Not surprisingly he is also a member of the House Republican Caucus, the Caucus of House Conservatives Republican Studies Committee, the International Conservation Caucus the Middle East Economic Partnership Caucus and the Co-chair of the Sportsman Caucus. Does anyone else see a pattern here? While he claims to be of independent mind, Ryan has voted with the House Republicans 93% of the time. Not MY definition of independent. What is even more interesting to me, is that Ryan, while effective for his district in Wisconsin is not the author of a single major bill. He has created several budget plans, all of which were built upon the backs of the middle class and all of which were thinly veiled attempts at a return to Reaganomics. Let’s think about that for a few seconds…..8 years of Reaganomics, followed by a recession; four years of Bush 1, employing the same economic policies followed by…oh yeah, a recession. William J. Clinton, some tax hikes, enlightened economic policies and viola! A surplus in the treasury when he left office. George W. Bush(don’t EVEN get me started on THAT administration)returned to Reaganomics and we—as a nation—wound up with the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 20’s while the corporations, the Koch brothers and their ilk grew richer and richer. What DOES this tell me? Returning to Paul Ryan…the man has said, quite emphatically, that he has no interest in the job. Not that his refusal has stopped or even slowed overtures toward him. But Paul Ryan, I think has a larger agenda in mind. Republican strategists say he is considering his family first and that’s why he’s saying no to the Speaker-ship…was he doing that when he ran for VP too ? That campaign schedule was far more grueling than being Speaker of the House of Representatives and he had a family then as well. No, I think Ryan has his eyes on a White House run and with so many GOP candidates in the field, he would make an interesting compromise candidate. He’s conservative enough to appeal to the Tea Baggers and—again in my opinion—two faced enough to sound good to the moderates. Let’s face it, the GOP isn’t going to nominate Trump and even if they should be so self-destructive and the 52% of Republicans planning to vote(in the CNN poll of Oct 2015) were foolish enough to waste their votes on him, that would leave 48% of the GOP electorate who would NOT vote for him. Then, of course, there are all of those pesky Democrats who come out in such large numbers during Presidential elections….they could just change EVERYTHING.