By: Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
October 12, 2015
In an interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy (R) offered his honest — and correct — assessment of his party in Congress. Here’s the key bit:
“I think the House is bordering on ungovernable right now. … Being speaker is a very difficult job. We need to have a family conversation and sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before that conversation starts. We’re getting close.”
Now, Gowdy was explaining to Welker why he wouldn’t be interested in the soon-to-be vacant job as speaker of the House. But his reasoning is almost certainly why Paul Ryan isn’t jumping at the job either, despite basically every establishment Republican in the country urging him to do it.
The problem for Ryan, Gowdy and anyone else who is thinking about being speaker can be explained in a very simple math problem. Republicans currently control 247 seats. There are, roughly, 40 Republican members — the vast majority of whom identify with the tea party-affiliated Freedom Caucus — who will vote against the wishes of leadership on almost any major measure unless the leadership adopts a very conservative stance. If you subtract 40 from 247, you get 207 — 11 votes short of what a speaker would need to pass a piece of legislation without relying on any Democratic votes.
RINOTRACKER RESPONSE FROM SHELLY FALCIGNO:
It is well a established fact that Chris Cillizza of the liberal Washington Post is no friend of conservative America. In his October 12 piece, he does his best to advance the idea that the current upheaval in the Congress is the fault of stubborn conservatives who are unwilling to work as a team for the American people.
Such platitudes may sound good at first glance, but in light of what’s been going on inside the Beltway in recent years, Americans must start by asking themselves just what that “team” of career politicians should be accomplishing. Clearly, growing the government and trampling our rights isn’t what the people of this country ever said they wanted from Congress in the 2010 and 2014 Republican landslide elections.
Trey Gowdy is correct that the House of Representatives is “bordering on ungovernable right now.” But not for the reasons Cillizza suggests. Nor does Gowdy see the “fix” as moving everybody into the camp of the GOP “Establishment.” Gowdy may use the phrase “family conversation” to be diplomatic, but given his style and his understanding of the problems within Republican ranks, he really intends something more akin to a bare-knuckles brawl.
Nor does Gowdy fault the conservative “Freedom Caucus” as the root cause of the problem. Rather, he sees them as the proper response to the problems created by an out-of-touch “leadership” that isn’t interested in what the American people want, but instead focuses on appeasing its large donors and staying below the gun sights of the Obama administration.
I must wholeheartedly object to the idea that Paul Ryan would make a good speaker replacement for Boehner. First, there is his unimpressive voting record, which categorically places him in RINO territory. Second is the bitterness people still feel over Romney/Ryan loss to Obama. In fact, the only people who seem to think he’d make a good speaker are other RINOs, which is almost laughable because they just don’t seem to want to read the writing on the wall. People are sick of the going along to get along. They want someone to stand and fight and make their voices heard and counted. Ultimately, Ryan would face the same fate as Boehner.
Trey Gowdy is a horse of a different color. Although his voting record could be more conservative, people like him and his “take no prisoners” style. Furthermore, if anyone knows the law inside-out and backwards, it’s Trey Gowdy.
Gowdy would bring to the Congress a much needed sense of thinking things through to a logical conclusion, a quality that has been sorely lacking from Boehner. He may not want the job and he may even think he’s not capable, but nobody shines quite as brilliantly as Trey Gowdy when under pressure.
Whether he will or won’t seek the Speakership remains to be seen, but just as Donald Trump has brought an element of excitement back into politics, watching Trey Gowdy do what he does best (make compelling arguments) would have us all on the edge of our seats, and waiting with baited breath to listen to what he’ll say next.