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A House Divided — The Speakership and The Presidential Race

In most Western democracies, the post of speaker is not considered to be a partisan post.  Instead, the role of speaker is to be a fair and neutral chair.  When a speaker retires, there are typically several candidates from all parties — experienced legislators who typically have served as deputy speakers or chairs of committees from outside the leadership of the parties.  Choosing the new speaker is one of the few votes that does not follow party lines.  In the U.S., however, the Speaker is expected to be a very unfair and partisan chair — the effective leader of his party in the House of Representatives.  As a result, the internal divisions in the Republican Party have risen to the surface, making it difficult to choose a new speaker.

As has been discussed over the years in this blog.  The Republican Party has some significant and fundamental divisions.  On the one side, you have a dwindling number of moderate, so-called “Country Club” Republicans.  While wanting a smaller government and lower taxes than Democrats, these Republicans have always seen the importance of good roads, a solid public education system, and an adequate safety nest.  They are less concerned about social issues, except for desiring minimal disruption from social disorder.

Then you have “Wall Street” Republicans.  This group wants low taxes with tax incentives for businesses.  Again, social issues are less important.

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