After four and a half years as Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH 8th) announced his resignation. Boehner allegedly wanted to resign after the 112th Congress but his handpicked heir, seven term incumbent former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA 7th), but he was ignominously upset by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA 7th) in the Republican Primary. So Boehner blustered that he wanted to resign after the pinnacle of his career in hosting Pope Francis to speak before a joint session of Congress. Of course, this “Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah” excuse conveniently ignores the looming Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC 11th) Motion to Vacate the Chair, which the Speaker would either lose or have to win with Democrat votes. Boehner gave a month for his resignation to take effect in late October, 2015.
It is a good thing that Speaker Boehner gave a month to let things shake it. Everything was arranged for Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA 23rd prior 22nd) to assume the big chair. But then McCarthy opened his big mouth during a friendly interview with Sean Hannity in which inartful articulation about Hillary Clinton blew two years of non-partisan investigation by House Select Benghazi Committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC 4th).
McCarthy’s gaffe enlarged a gulf between the House Republican establishment and the Freedom Caucus, which was reluctant to back a Cocktail Party candidate. The Freedom Caucus had been poised to support Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL 8th), who is less conservative then the Freedom Caucus but open to rules reform. However, before the Republican Caucus secretly voted on their choice, McCarthy suddenly resigned and the vote never took place.
In the aftermath of this announcement, there was pressure to draft House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st) from divergent voices like Trey Gowdy and Mitt Romeny. But Ryan was leery about leading what some might characterize as a den of vipers to spend lots of his time fundraising away from family. Ryan took a week to decide his druthers. Ryan announced that he would run if his candidacy would unite the party and under certain conditions (such as reducing his extra congressional travel).
Keeping these recent events in mind, it would be wise to discern what makes for a good Speaker.