Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has just announced this will be his last term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He said that he cannot remain any longer and risk being remembered only as a “weekend Dad” by his children, who are ages 16, 14 and 12.
I have blogged about Speaker Ryan before and it is no secret that I see him as among the handful of really intelligent, bright and earnest members of the House who also has a sense of humor and the ability to see self as a human with flaws and foibles. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to meet him personally and to sit in his presence on a couple of occasions with people who are in his District on matters involving a statewide association of which I was President at the time.
I repeat myself, I’m sure, but this man is one of the most intelligent, spooky intelligent, and eloquent men I have ever been in the presence of, and yet he was a down-home guy who always seemed to have his feet firmly planted on the ground. His leaving the House will leave a hole that will be filled by others, but his absence will be noticed often as the House reorganizes around his absence.
So now the mad scramble begins. The House Republicans will be cloistered repeatedly as they try to determine who ought to be his replacement in the next House. Those who think they have the capability to sit in that seat have already begun the process.
The Democrats will also begin to lay their plans to replace him as Speaker of the House. That jockeying will have already begun in earnest and it will be ugly for a while as those who want that honor parade their personal wares for their fellow Dems to see as they make the case to take over Ryan’s control of the House.
This opportunity will help some on both sides look more like a Speaker than ever before. It will also expose some on both sides whose crass, egotistical positioning will further poison their personal wells. Ryan has been unique in that he did not have to rely on threats to keep his group on board. He was respected as an honest broker in virtually every circle. His enemies knew they’d been in a battle but also knew that he had defeated their ideas honorably or that he had been willing to compromise.
I was surprised to learn that he is only 48 years old again this morning. He has been around for so long, he seemed to have had to be in his sixties. So, where does his future lay? Will he move into commerce? Will he turn to state politics? We’ll all find out together as he hears from people who’d love to have him in a leadership role in their respective worlds. I had the fleeting thought of the ABC Supply Co. that is smack-dab in the middle of his district possibly being a landing pad. There is always the possibility of a run for Governor of Wisconsin.
Godspeed soon-to-be Mr. Ryan, at least for a time. D.C.’s loss is Wisconsin’s gain!