Jonathan Chait: ‘Republicans Need Paul Ryan as House Speaker’

AP Photo/Molly Riley

Jonathan Chait at New York mag’s Daily Intelligencer argues that Paul Ryan is the only hope for the Republican Party, which is in the process of electing the next Speaker of the House.

From New York Magazine:

In the immediate wake of John Boehner’s chaotic resignation as House speaker and Kevin McCarthy’s chaotic withdrawal as his presumptive successor, Republican hopes have quickly fixated on the prospect that Paul Ryan might save them. After initially refusing, Ryan has reportedly softened in the face of pleas spanning the breadth of the Republican Party. “He is uniquely gifted and qualified for that position,” said South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, who himself has resisted entreaties to the Speakership. California Rep. Devin Nunes has called him “the only eligible candidate.”The Wall Street Journal editorial page, oozing desperation, pleas, “Ryan may be the only Republican with the national standing and conservative credentials to defy the Cruz ultimatums.” National Review has an editorialbegging him to run. Even Mick Mulvaney, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, the founding purpose of which is to oppose everything,reportedly wants Ryan as speaker.

What makes Ryan so indispensable is the strange character of the agitas afflicting Republicans. The ideological gap between figures like Boehner and antagonists like Ted Cruz is not completely nonexistent; a world in which Boehner had unfettered power would have a radically smaller government, while a Cruz-topia would look more like Hobbes’s state of nature. In practice, though, the ideological distance between them is small; both propose to move public policy as far as possible in essentially the same direction.

Read the rest of the article here.