Ryan Wants His Hounds Braying in Harmony

For the Freedom Caucus, the romance with Ryan as Speaker was barely a one-night-stand. Hours later in the harsh light of the day, they have apprently indicated that their choice remains Daniel Webster. And they are troubled by some of the conditions demanded by Ryan - who it must be said won overwhelming support from GOP House members in Tuesday’s closed-door session.

The demand by Ryan that the rule allowing a member of the House to seek a vote to oust the Speaker be eliminated does not sit well with people like Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas. The fact that that particular House rule was written by none other than Thomas Jefferson should cause a little reflection on the part of the rest of the GOP caucus who are desperately seeking unity. It was in the earlier years of the 1700's that the term "whipping in" - a hunting term that refers to driving your hounds towards the prey - began to be used in English political writings. Burke among others was among the earlier adopters of the term, although he did not coin the phrase.

In other words, party discipline in a representative democracy - whether a constitutional monarchy or a republic - has always been of vital concern. And Jefferson's rule seems to deliberately push against an excess of party discipline in order to ensure that a certain amount of freedom of conscience remained available for individual members. Ryan would remove a founding father's wisdom in order to meet the debt ceiling, and other pressing but rather immediate issues on the House floor. In fact, it would remove the rule to ensure he doesn't get pushed out the door like Boehner. Party discipline because that's what is needed above all. Right now at least. And then lots of other reasons can be dug up to justify the further centralization of power in the hands of the Speaker.

Do voters at large care about Ryan's conditions? Thinkprogress.org - not a libertarian group - assailed the demands of the Freedom Caucus on any potential speaker. These are add-ons to the FC's goal of greater transparency and democracy within the arcane House rules themselves. Opening up the sausage factory to the public in other words. The demands are for fiscal accountability and constraining entitlement growth in order to begin to deal with the accumulated debt. That does mean challenging some very popular entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And it does demand - or set up conditions to enable it - the de-funding of Planned Parenthood. In response, Thinkprogress.org paints the debt ceiling and the early November and December deadlines as a looming tsunami that would unleash disaster on America and the world worthy of Hollywood. Again. For a few weeks. Maybe.

The real tsunami - slow moving but inexorable - is the buildup of debt and how to deal with it without undermining the US dollar and it's hard-won credibility. As much as people deride the fiat currency, what money does much of the world choose to save in? And of course, will that change?

But Ryan wants his hounds braying in harmony, his ducks waddling in a perfect line, and his job nice and secure so he can go home on weekends. Does he really want the job? We will find out how badly he does in the next few days.

Posted by Keeley at October 26, 2015 9:11 PM
Comment #400049

Keeley, good analysis of a very sticky issue. I can appreciate both sides of the “House Speaker as King” debate.

I will side with Jefferson for the very simple and important reason that house members are American voters most immediate and frequently elected national officials hopefully doing the people’s bidding…not the Speakers.

Sparing Americans insight of the “sausage making” is unwarranted. We need to educate our voters on how laws are made.

Presidents and Supreme Court justices often usurp power, or find decisions not expressly granted or implied by our Constitution. We don’t need to bastardize the People’s House as well.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2015 1:08 PM
Comment #400059

Royal You make not like this but we agree, I to favor the “Jefferson” rule. I also would agree that the sausage making is important and Americans should be able to stomach it. So it seems like a broken clock you are right twice in one day ;)

The problem with the house of representatives today is the amount of money thee guys need to get elected and the source of the money. They like to claim they are doing what the people want but many times it is a corporation that tells them what to do, as they are no longer the people house.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 28, 2015 11:04 AM
Comment #400063


They like to claim they are doing what the people want but many times it is a corporation that tells them what to do, as they are no longer the people house.
Posted by: j2t2 at October 28, 2015 11:04 AM

Voters need to pay attention to candidates and their funding and their promises. Ultimately, We are responsible for what We get in Washington.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 28, 2015 2:19 PM
Comment #400073

This is precisely why I support Lawrence Lessig for US President.

Posted by: Warren Porter at October 29, 2015 11:39 AM
Comment #400091

I didn’t see Lawrence Lessig in the debate, Warren Porter. Funny how that is. We complain about 16 people on a stage and there are 20 times that running for President. j2t2 has hit the nail on the head when it comes to election finance.

Instead of whining about the way it is now, we should be discussing and ultimately, writing the law that congress will pass to reform our campaign finance laws. That means educating the public on how laws are made.

I’ll start with this simple proposition:

1. Corporations will not contribute to political campaigns.
2. Only the eligible voters of the Representative’s district can contribute to the candidate’s campaign.
3. All votes must be verified by paper and receipt (original/copy) to verify an authentic vote count.

The end.

Posted by: Weary Willie at October 29, 2015 7:03 PM
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