Every time the Republican party seems to have hit rock bottom, something happens to re-energize its hole-digging efforts. Now the once venerable party of Lincoln, the radicals who freed the slaves, has degenerated to a point where it cannot even field an "acceptable" candidate to serve as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, a job that, as of late, has required little in the way of brains or effort. Some of the faithful are "begging" Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate and the author of the draconian budget that would shred America's social safety net, to step forward and take the job, but he shows no interest in running the train wreck that calls itself Congress. Others suggest looking beyond Congress for a leader.
That's right. constitutionally speaking, a person does not have to be a member of Congress in order to be elected Speaker. Former Speaker New Gingrich is quietly letting it be known that he would consider taking his old job back. Newt has experience in the position and is probably as smart as John Boehner. And some members are floating the idea of drafting former Secretary of State Colin Powell to take the job. Powell is saying that he's not interested, and it is highly unlikely that the venomous right fringe of the party would vote for a Bush critic and an Obama supporter - whether he was an official Republican or not.
It's a two-fold problem: first the party must find an individual who has the ability to win the support of a majority of the Republicans in Congress - and, when and if that happens, that individual must go on to win over a majority of members of the House. That can't happen if a large block of Republicans who didn't get their way either sit out the Speaker's election, or vote for someone else. Some in the House are even whispering about the possibility of striking a deal with Democrats in order to elect a Republican Speaker who is less than maximus odious.
At this point it looks as though anything could happen - but I still like the idea of an outsider coming in and taking charge. The Republicans have been left to their own devices for several years now, and their accomplishments are nil. Surely a call for fresh blood is in order.
The House has a "rule" which allows only certain people to be on the floor of Congress, but there is a loophole which permits anyone who has ever been formally "thanked" by Congress to be on the floor. So an outsider could be thanked and then seated, or there is the possibility of ruling from the Gallery. I'm sure that a bunch of folks as bright as our legislative leaders could figure out a way to finagle an outsider in as the Speaker.
My first suggestion, and I think an obvious choice for Speaker of the House, would be Cher. True, the mega-star might be lacking experience, but, being the former wife of a man who went on to serve as a Republican in Congress, she has a solid political connection to the institution. Cher would add a much needed dollop of glamour to the House, and when she called members to order with a rowdy rendition of "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves," the whole world would pay rapt attention. (I know I would!)
If Cher cannot be lured into the speakership, there is another celebrity waiting in the wings, or the Rotunda, who bears consideration. Caitlyn Jenner has several qualities that would make her an exceptional candidate for the job. She is athletic (a former U.S. Olympian), fearless (a transgendered individual), used to operating in pandemonium (a former reality-television star), and far prettier than any of the current female members of Congress. She also is (or at least was, while known as Bruce) a conservative Republican. Clearly Caitlyn Jenner would be the ideal individual to bring the Republican Party into the twenty-first century.
And if neither Cher nor Caitlyn can be persuaded to step in and help save the honor and glory of Congress, and Congress wanted the continuing security of an old white man as its leader, then there is always Tommy Chong. He could definitely make the joint more mellow!
The possibilities are endless. Come on Congress, pick a