On House Speakers, Hubris, Deception, and Immigration Reform

By Dan Cadman on November 2, 2015

So, there you have it: The House Freedom Caucus, perhaps regretting its dalliance with rebellion by working mightily to unseat John Boehner (R-Ohio), gave in and Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is now Speaker of the House of Representatives despite weeks of protestations to the effect that if nominated he would not run and if elected he would not serve. Methinks he didst protest too much.

Ryan, for his part, having assured members that the bad old days of punishing them for voting their conscience by stripping them of coveted committee and subcommittee chairs are over, promptly set up his victory party even before the votes were in, as CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian noted.

One suspects that behind all of this public "hail fellow well met" was some Republican version of the "House of Cards" TV show, with all of the disturbing Machiavellian maneuvering and gouging that implies, but who can know for sure?

In a bread-and-circuses moment to appease the restless rabble, Ryan has promised (subject to caveats) that no immigration reform bill will move forward under his speakership during the Obama presidency: "I have long and publicly been opposed to the Gang of Eight bill, and there will be no comprehensive immigration reform under this president."

But Ryan's words are, in the larger sense, misleading because his affection for broad-based immigration amnesty, with no corresponding commitment to putting immigration law enforcement back on the right track first, has become well known — in no small part, ironically, because of the struggle over replacing Boehner as Speaker. The timing of his last attempt at amnesty just over a year ago suggests a distinct tone deafness toward the weight of public opinion.

Is Speaker Ryan's hubris so large that he thinks he can introduce comprehensive, amnesty-linked immigration under the next president, whoever that may be and whatever party he or she represents, and it will somehow be acceptable to the American people simply because Ryan leads the charge?

To paraphrase a friend: Put a pig into a tuxedo and, no matter whether the tuxedo is red satin or blue, the pig is still just a pig.


Topics: Politics