PityFool t1_j4g6wdc wrote

The Speaker has two kinds of power. One based on the rules of the House and one based on their political capital. Ryan may have had a good amount of the former, but possessed none of the latter. We’re long past the days of Joe Cannon who ruled the house with an iron fist with both types of power but after the members essentially revolted, the powers of the speakership were drastically cut back. A generation later, Longworth should have been another weak Speaker because of the rules, but he was a master politician who managed to rule the House by force of will and skill even though on paper he wasn’t very empowered.

All that’s to say that when we fast forward to recent history, Gingrich was probably the resurgence of what it looks like to have a Speaker who was truly powerful for both reasons… until he wasn’t, after some political blunders. But he handed a very strong speakership to his successors but with each passing Speaker they gave up more and more of their power until you get to Ryan who was a sniveling weakling of a Speaker who had neither political capital to spend nor much power on paper to wield. Pelosi was clever, deft, adaptable, and skilled enough so that she got her way on legislation, but the Republicans have no one with anything close to resembling her skill. And Ryan is one of the last people with anything valuable to say on the subject given his abject failure of a speakership.