I’ve tried this before but this time I’ll just put it in a single post. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful person in the United States government. After that comes the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. After that the president. After that the Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. After that the Senate majority leader.

I touched on my reservations about Nancy Pelosi as Speaker in the comments of an earlier post. IMO she has a great temperament for House minority whip which, coincidentally, was the first party leadership role she filled. She then became House minority leader, then Speaker. As a Speaker she may be good for the party but that’s lousy for the United States.

Paul Ryan on the other hand was always a bad fit for any leadership role in the House. John Boehner on the other hand was an adequate Speaker. He managed to keep his fractious caucus together under very trying conditions, something that’s eluded Ryan.

This is something I’ve mentioned before, too, but I’ll touch on it again. The folks who created the Schoolhouse Rock short “I’m Just a Bill” 45 years ago have a lot to answer for. That’s how the Congress works on paper but not in practice and it would be enormously helpful if people knew how the Congress really worked. Maybe I’ll work on that some time.

I learned that at my family’s kitchen table. My dad came from a powerful St. Louis political family. His grandfather was a party boss; his uncle was Sheriff of St. Louis. He had lots of politician friends and acquaintances include the Chairman of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen (the St. Louis city council), judges, Congressmen, U. S. senators.

One of these, as it turns out, was at the time the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. I learned a lot from him just listening to the casual dinner table conversation. It ain’t like Schoolhouse Rock.

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