Conservatives declare war on "Emperor" Paul Ryan: "Wants House conservatives to sign their own death warrant"

Paul Ryan says he'll run for speaker if ultra-conservatives agree to his demands. Let the backlash begin

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 21, 2015 1:05PM (EDT)

Paul Ryan                       (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Paul Ryan (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

Paul Ryan has some demands before he takes the job nobody wants (Jason Chaffetz immediately withdrew his bid after Ryan signaled his interest) and becomes the next Speaker of the House. According to the demands Ryan laid out before a meeting of the House Republican Conference last night, before Ryan agrees to run for the job House Republicans must agree to these four "adjustments" by Friday. From Roll Call:

  • The GOP moves from an opposition party to a proposition party.
  • Update House rules so everyone can be a more effective representative.
  • Unify as a conference now, not after a divisive speaker election.
  • Avoid giving up time with his family.

Sounds simple enough but this is the House Republican caucus, after all, and there is no reason to believe they'll magically coalesce around Ryan if a glimpse into conservative reactions thus far is any indication.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., head of the House Tea Party Caucus, called Ryan's conditions for becoming the next speaker "entirely unreasonable," according to the Washington Examiner.

"No other speaker I know of would ever have as much power as Paul Ryan asked for himself," Huelskamp said. "Is he serious?"

Huelskamp told the National Review that he was “put off” by Ryan's “list of unmeetable conditions.”

"What Paul Ryan is asking for," Huelskamp explained, "is even more power and less responsibility" than current House Speaker John Boehner.

Iowa Republican Steve King ignored Ryan's offer and endorsed Daniel Webster of Florida for House Speaker in an op-ed today.

Webster, for his part, is backed by the conservative House Freedom Caucus and has no plans to drop out of the race.

Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin ranted against what he called the "Bushtablishment" forcing Ryan for Speaker onto the base during his program last night, blasting Ryan as disqualified for being "the most radical Republican on the issue of immigration":

The same people who lost election after election, the same people who lost congress in 2006, the same people who sought to stop Reagan from reaching the American people with massive landslides, the same people who have massively increased our debt, who have opened our border broadly, who sold out the First Amendment with McCain Feingold, those people, they now tell us only Paul Ryan can be speaker and no outsider should be president.

And the party of "family values" expressed particularly little patience for Ryan's conditional demand to continue spending time with his young children:

The online conservative behemoth Drudge Report's headline paints Ryan as too liberal for the job:

Drudge Report

Right-wing radio host Erick Erickson said "House conservatives would be insane to agree to [Ryan's] terms," calling it "a terrible, terrible deal for House Conservatives."

"If they go along with Paul Ryan," Erickson explained, "they will sign their own death warrant at the hands of Paul Ryan’s loyal lieutenants":

Boehner: Ryan Will Get

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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