I don’t know Congressman Ryan personally, but one small connection I have with him comes through one of my students who worked for him for several years. Robert Swift from Lindsborg took both of my classes while successfully being elected Student Body Vice President. In my ten plus years of teaching at K-State, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many outstanding students and I’m always very personally encouraged and proud when I see them making an impact and being involved in shaping our future as Robert has.
Now as to how I think this will all work out, I’m not so positive. I’m afraid the far-right members of the Republican Caucus went along because, for now, there seemed to be no alternative. That does not mean in my opinion that they intend to give the new Speaker much if any slack. With key decisions coming up on the debt ceiling, the budget, and several key pieces of legislation, they will be testing Ryan soon and probably often. With that in mind, I hope—for the sake of the country—that the new Speaker is prepared when necessary to break the Hastert Rule and, on issues of National importance, allow the Democrats to provide the necessary votes for passage. In an earlier blog that issued this same challenge to Speaker Boehner, I received the following comment from my Republican friend, Rich Claypoole—who has also been a guest contributor to the Leader Corner—which conveys the desire from across the political spectrum to see some real work happen on behalf of the American people:
“Governor Carlin is certainly right about the opportunity for legislative achievement if Speaker Boehner abandons the "Hastert Rule" and allows bills to be considered that don't reach the 218 vote threshold solely through the Republican majority...As a conservative who believes in actually governing, not grandstanding, I hope Boehner is able to push through more than the temporary Government funding measure. The borrowing limit has to be raised, tax breaks need to be extended, and the long-delayed, job-creating transportation bill is a legislative must...Let’s hope a new day is upon us. If the Pope believes that religious freedom will be protected "as a matter of conscience" and that life will be protected "in all stages of its development,” then I can believe that both parties can act to serve the nation and not just themselves.”
Read the full text of Rich's comment from September 30th here.
For the good of the country as a whole, the House of Representatives needs to become functional again, and I wish Congressman Ryan well in making this happen.