Prelude to a Speakership: New Leadership, Same Caucus

By: Meredith Kelly


As Paul Ryan took over as Leader of the unruly House Republican caucus, he was greeted with a bevy of headlines reminding him that a change in Speaker does not a new caucus make. Ryan’s own colleagues, including his fellow member of leadership Greg Walden, pointed out the inherent challenges in making such an intractable caucus function.


Headline: New York Times: “Next Speaker Will Face the Same Difficulties With Conservatives.” [New York Times, 9/25/15]

Headline: Roll Call: “Ryan Is a Boehner ‘Mini-Me’ to Some Conservatives.” [Roll Call, 10/27/15]

Headline: New York Times: “Latest Unease on Right: Ryan Is Too Far Left.” [New York Times, 10/12/15]

Republican Rep. Reichert: “I Don’t Care Who The Speaker Is, He’s Going To Have The Same Problems.” “‘I know Paul’s getting a lot of pressure today,’ said Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). ‘I don’t care who the speaker is, he’s going to have the same problems.’” [Los Angeles Times, 10/9/15]

Republican Rep. Luke Messer: “There Is No Silver Bullet Candidate That Is Going To Bring Us Together.” “Some conservatives rejected the idea that Mr. Ryan — or anyone — could instantly unify House Republicans. ‘I frankly think there is no silver bullet candidate that is going to bring us together, either,’ said Representative Luke Messer of Indiana. ‘It’s going to take a combination of things.’” [New York Times, 10/10/15] 

Republican Rep. Trent Franks: “Whoever Is In The Speaker’s Chair Has The Same Mathematics.” “The person who replaces him will face the same situation – a fact that was not lost Friday on House Republicans who seemed to have a bit of the ‘now what do we do attitude?’ attitude as they absorbed the loss of Mr. Boehner. ‘Whoever is in the speaker’s chair has the same mathematics,’ said Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona.” [New York Times, 9/25/15]

NRCC Chair Greg Walden Admitted Challenge Of Legislating In GOP Conference: “It’s Still The Same Conference With The Same Votes . . . I Don’t Know How That Goes.” “‘I don’t know how the underlying votes change on all those issues just because Boehner says he’s going to do them,’ Walden said. ‘It’s still the same conference with the same votes. I’ve seen all this, and I’m saying to myself, ‘How’s that going to work?’ You’ve still got to go line up the votes, and I don’t know how that goes.’” [Politico, 9/28/15]