No one is ousting Paul Ryan any time soon

Ryan: Trump wanted bipartisan deal on debt
Ryan: Trump wanted bipartisan deal on debt


    Ryan: Trump wanted bipartisan deal on debt


Ryan: Trump wanted bipartisan deal on debt 01:44

(CNN)A trio of powerful House conservatives huddled with Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday to voice their dissatisfaction with his leadership, according to The Washington Post's Bob Costa.

"Several people close to [former White House chief strategist Steve] Bannon and [House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark] Meadows said on Wednesday that the two men, who met on Monday on Capitol Hill, have begun to discuss who could replace Ryan as speaker, should conservatives rebel against him. But they stressed that those discussions remain speculative and informal, with no plan yet for action."
Huge news, right?!?
    The influential head of Breitbart News -- not to mention a former senior official for Donald Trump's campaign and in his White House -- and the head of the most conservative bloc of House Republicans have begun contemplating ousting the sitting speaker!
    Except not. Because, well, political reality.
    Talking about getting rid of Ryan for his alleged ineffectiveness and insufficient adherence to conservative principles is one thing. Actually getting rid of Ryan is something entirely different. The former is easy. The latter -- at least right now -- is impossible.
    The reason is simple: You don't beat someone with no one. And there is no one in the entire Republican conference in the House who could possibly hope to secure a majority of the GOP vote in a vacuum -- much less when matched against Ryan.
    Go back to how Ryan came into the speakership in 2015. Speaker John Boehner announced in late September that he would resign the following month, a departure hastened by his ongoing and unsuccessful battles to bring along some of the most conservative elements of his conference on any legislation.
    It quickly became clear that Kevin McCarthy, Boehner's No. 2, faced too much conservative opposition to win. Thus began an extended period of total turmoil among House Republicans as everybody and their brother (and sister) floated their names as possible contenders. None of them had anything close to a majority of the majority's support. Speculation began to swirl that Republicans might need to appoint a non-House member (Mitt Romney!) as speaker on an interim basis until one could be found. (The speaker of the House, by law, doesn't need to be a member of the body.)
    Amid that forecast for total chaos, Ryan, who had initially ruled himself out as a candidate, reconsidered. He was elected speaker -- with only nine Republicans voting against him -- in late October 2015. At the time, savvy congressional Republicans acknowledged that if Ryan hadn't stepped forward, it would have been months (and months) before any of the other names regularly mentioned as potential leaders were able to wrangle a majority of Republican votes in the House.
    Nothing has changed in any meaningful way between then and now. McCarthy is ensconced as Ryan's No. 2 but knows -- after his experience in 2015 -- he's never going to get the top job. Majority Whip Steve Scalise continues to recover from being shot at a baseball practice earlier in the summer. And, while Meadows commands a real bloc of votes among House Republicans, it's nowhere near enough to even come close to threatening Ryan's hold on the job.
    And that basic math is augmented by this: Ryan has raised $22 million for the GOP campaign committee tasked with keeping control of the House and has held, as of June, 50 fundraisers in 13 different states.
    Money isn't a guarantor of political loyalty. But, when coupled with the math outlined above, it's pretty close.
    Bannon and Meadows and whoever else wants to can talk about ousting Ryan all they want. But that doesn't make it a realistic possibility -- because, well, it isn't.