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Years ago, I was offered a lousy middle-management job at a horrible company. I repeatedly told the recruiter that I wasn’t interested, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“I can increase the salary!” No, not interested.
“What if you can set your own hours?” No thanks.
“Look, I’ll start you off with a month’s vacation and…” NO.
After several annoying calls over a couple of days, I finally said, “Look, I’ll take the job on one condition: Starting salary of a million dollars.”
Several seconds of silence followed before the recruiter said, “um … but, really, what salary are you thinking of?” I repeated my demand, trying to suppress a Dr. Evil voice. That recruiter never called me again, having finally understood my real demand: I don’t want the job.
Rep. Paul Ryan has been repeatedly asked, encouraged, cajoled, and begged to take over the Speaker’s gavel when Boehner drops it. Ryan’s answers have been no, no, no, and hell no. But after another week of Republicans insisting that Ryan is the only human being in existence who can unite conservatives and RINOs, Tea Partiers and country clubbers, young reformers and Hill lifers, Ryan had enough.
He finally relented and said, sure, I’ll take the job … on three conditions:
- The House Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, and the moderate Tuesday Group all need to support me.
- Change the House rules so disgruntled congressmen can’t toss me out so easily.
- This better not cut into my family time.
Some members were outraged, as were many on talk radio, and (natch) the Internet. How dare he make demands on the people’s representatives! Never before has a Speaker ordered he not be ousted! He wants time with his family … he should be working 24/7!
How many times does Ryan have to tell you that he doesn’t want the damn job? His detractors should be thankful he didn’t demand a million dollars like one smart aleck I know.
Since modern politics runs on outrage, the fact that Ryan doesn’t want to be Speaker has made the anti-Ryan caucus even angrier. Apparently it hasn’t yet dawned on them that they have zero leverage over the Wisconsin representative. If the grumblers lose, it’s Speaker of the House Paul Ryan; if they win, it’s a much happier Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan.
So, in their impotence, talk radio complains that Ryan loves his family more than he loves government, and websites scream that Ryan has insufficient interest in amassing political power. Both of those complaints only highlight his conservativism.
Here’s the deal, haters: You don’t want Paul Ryan to be Speaker. Paul Ryan doesn’t want to be Speaker. Since you both agree, why are you yelling at him?