The great state of Kansas has never had a Speaker of the House. Maybe it’s time to change that fact.
The Sunflower State has faithfully sent Republicans to Washington for decades, and now is no exception: All four House members and both U.S. senators are members of the Grand Old Party.
On Wednesday, current House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio reportedly set an election date of Oct. 28 for Republicans to nominate the person to succeed him when he leaves Congress.
True, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is supposedly a popular replacement pick. On Tuesday he came forward with a list of demands before he might accept the job. But that set off some GOP critics, especially in the party’s ultra-conservative wing, as they claimed Ryan’s already not taking the job seriously enough.
So — with tongue not planted too firmly in cheek — why not choose one of the four Kansas House members for the spot?
Take a look at them alphabetically.
▪ Tim Huelskamp is the darling of some ultra-conservatives, and for good reasons. He publicly stood up to Boehner several years ago during a flap over a lost chairmanship on a House committee.
And a month ago, Huelskamp said Boehner’s announced resignation was a “big victory for the American people.”
Huelskamp also is the only member from Kansas in the House Freedom Caucus, an ultra-conservative GOP rump group that’s causing many problems for the Republican establishment.
Burnishing his credentials further on the far right, Huelskamp is a member of the “Hall of Fame” on the Madison Project website, with the 10th best performance index.
That result is based on legislative scores that “represent the average composite of the member’s rating from Heritage Action for America and the Club for Growth for 2014 (the 113th Congress).” Both groups are well-known supporters of conservative causes in the country.
▪ Lynn Jenkins could become the first Republican woman to ever serve as House Speaker.
That could be coup for the party during the long, long 2016 election season. (Democrat Nancy Pelosi is the only woman to have served in the job.)
Jenkins already is vice chair of the House Republican Conference, which she points out on her website is the “fifth-highest ranking position in House Republican Leadership.”
Her Madison Performance Index is a minus 11, though, the “worst” of the four Kansas House members.
▪ Mike Pompeo actually has been mentioned by some Republicans for the job of House Speaker, and he showed why a few days ago.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Pompeo said the Benghazi investigation — primarily being used now to review Hillary Clinton’s activities as secretary of state in 2012 — was “worse in some ways” than the Watergate investigation. Pompeo is a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
That claim was red meat for liberal editorial writers, but right in line with many conservatives’ beliefs that Clinton must be held responsible in some way for the four deaths of U.S. officials in Benghazi.
Pompeo, while not a House Freedom Caucus member, is along with Huelskamp the other Kansan on the Madison Project “Hall of Fame,” with the 18th best score on that list.
▪ Kevin Yoder is the wild card here. He comes from a fairly moderate area of Kansas, especially in his representation of Johnson County.
But the guy who made a name for himself skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee also can be an articulate politician who looks good while claiming to work on behalf of issues that might garner bipartisan support. Imagine that.
Yoder’s Madison Performance score is only a minus 7.5, so that could help him not look like an ultra-conservative to members who might want someone able to work to get things done as speaker.
There you have it: Four Kansans who could serve as the next U.S. House Speaker.
Good luck in the upcoming election — should any of them really want what often looks to be a thankless job.