What Does The Speaker Of The House Do, Other Than Adultery? A Wonksplainer
GOP now making bald eagles sad.
Republicans are avoiding the race for speaker of the House like how Rick Santorum avoids post-coital eye contact with goats. The job that is second in line for the presidency is only attracting whackjobs, arsonists, and tin foil hat-wearers. Why does no one want this job? For Chrissakes, it’s the only job ever created by John Boehner, and no one wants it. What is so horrible about it? Let’s wonksplain.
The job of speaker of the House is written into the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2). While it is not required that the speaker be a member of the House, no other American has ever held the post, mostly because who the hell would want to work with those ass-brained twits?
The job was set up to be an administrative role, doing things like hiring and firing the house clerk, sergeant-at-arms, chaplain, and other House officers. They also preside over the House of Representatives, but this is largely ceremonial, and the day-to-day activities are usually delegated to other members. Speakers just take the spotlight for things like State of the Union, or when Pope Sometimes-Awesome comes for a visit.
But the real power is this: The speaker controls which bills and amendments come to the floor for a vote (through the Rules Committee). So they are basically the gate-keeper for all House legislation, sometimes ruling with an iron fist and other times deferring power to Committee Chairs. There are virtually no bills* that come to the House floor without the speaker's express blessing.
But to put it in colloquial terms, this is a fuck-ton of power.
How does one get such a sweet gig?
Unlike the Senate, the entire House of Representatives votes for the speaker. So while Mitch McConnell needs just a majority of Republican senators, the speaker needs a majority of all 435 House members, or 218 votes. Because Dems are not addle-brained fuckwits, almost all of them will vote for Nancy Pelosi. Republicans, on the other hand, are reaping the benefits of electing anti-government destructive tantrum-throwing asshats. The If-I-Can’t-Have-Everything-I-Will-Fucking-Break-All-The-Toys caucus is demanding that the new speaker basically piss in Obama’s eye all the time and NEVER compromise, because they don’t understand how “government” “works.”
So now, no one can get to 218. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy took a pass on the job because of his extracurricular activities, which included sticking his peen into a non-wife ladycongresscritter’s slutbox. Allegedly. Paul Ryan is basking in the glow of being begged to run while giggling and demurring like a pretty princess on prom night refusing the drunk a-holes asking her to dance. And now, third-rate backbenchers like Florida’s Daniel Webster and Ohio’s raving-mad Jim Jordan think they have a shot.
Hell, arsonist-turned-pile-of-human-failure Darrell Issa is even considering tossing his hat in the ring.
Why does no one serious want to be speaker?
When the speaker brings bills to a vote, he (it is always a he, unless it is Nancy Pelosi) is expected to be able to pass them. This is where Republicans have been failing miserably in recent years. Sure, they can vote 50 times to repeal Obamacare (it’s still the law, you losing motherfuckers!), but they can’t pass anything else. When real stuff needs to pass (funding the government, raising the debt ceiling), Boehner has been forced to rely on Dems. Because Democrats actually give several fucks about our country paying its bills.
And when Boehner has reluctantly given in to the pressure to actually govern like a responsible human by working with Nobummer and Nancy and Harry Reid, he gets skewered by talk radio, Ted Cruz, and all the crazies who have turned “compromise” into the worst thing since Nickelback. When he listens to the crazies and does things like shut down the gubmint, he gets blasted by anyone with a brain for bowing to pressure from the tea party nutjobs. When he gives up (because he has NO chance of winning) and passes a funding bill with help from Dems, he is a RINO.
Who the fuck in their right mind would want that job? There is no winning. Plus, if you are a Republican, you will likely cheat on your wife or end up in jail. How do we know? Because Newt Gingrich boned all kinds of ladies while impeaching Clinton for a beej, Dennis Hastert is facing criminal prosecution, John Boehner is a drunk crybaby, and would-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy is an unfaithful hypocritical dickweasel. Allegedly.
Being speaker sounds awful. You deal with grown-ass whiny men, women who hate ladyparts justice, angry commentators, and pressure-filled bullshit manufactured crises. Clearly there is only one person capable of whipping the House into shape.
*If you are interested in discharge petitions, read more here, you fucking nerd.