When the Tea Party kicked off in 2009, many previously disengaged citizens flooded the political process. They brought a wave of energy which eventually crashed against the rocks of political reality. As one of those citizen activists who traded a pitchfolk for a voter registration card, the subsequent elections and legislative sessions have taught me an important lesson. Anger and volume do not equal votes, and votes are all that matters.
That’s a lesson too many have yet to learn. For years, activists have pined for the ouster of John Boehner from his position as Speaker of the House. Now that Boehner is on his way out, they demand someone “pure” to replace him. But no candidate has manifested who both passes the principle litmus test and has the necessary support to both win the position and effectively lead the caucus. You need someone who most everyone believes in. But no such person both exists and wants the job.
This analysis over at Ricochet offers essential perspective. Author Jon Gabriel points out that Paul Ryan, sought by some for the job while opposed by others who claim he’s not conservative enough, doesn’t want to be speaker.
Rep. Paul Ryan has been repeatedly asked, encouraged, cajoled, and begged to take over the Speaker’s gavel when Boehner drops it. Ryan’s answers have been no, no, no, and hell no. But after another week of Republicans insisting that Ryan is the only human being in existence who can unite conservatives and RINOs, Tea Partiers and country clubbers, young reformers and Hill lifers, Ryan had enough.
He finally relented and said, sure, I’ll take the job … on three conditions:
- The House Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, and the moderate Tuesday Group all need to support me.
- Change the House rules so disgruntled congressmen can’t toss me out so easily.
- This better not cut into my family time.
Some members were outraged, as were many on talk radio, and (natch) the Internet. How dare he make demands on the people’s representatives! Never before has a Speaker ordered he not be ousted! He wants time with his family … he should be working 24/7!
How many times does Ryan have to tell you that he doesn’t want the damn job?…
Now that outrage has turned against the House Freedom Caucus, which has come out in support of Ryan for speaker. Commenters on the caucus’s Facebook post railed against the group for “caving.”
Of course, there’s a simple solution which would ensure that activists get what they want. They can go out and campaign to elect someone better. Such campaigning involves slightly more than a Facebook comment.