Paul Ryan is doing the right thing by hanging on to his speaker gavel until the November election passes.

Some congressfolk have called for Ryan to step down now so that members of the chamber can get on with the business of picking a new leader. A new leader like Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy, who Ryan endorsed as his replacement during a Friday taping of NBC's "Meet the Press." The show airs Sunday morning.

But Ryan is wise to stick around because McCarthy will be seen by some as too closely aligned with President Trump — The Associated Press referred to them as having "a buddy-movie-style bond" — and that could damage Republicans' efforts to retain the House.

And it's not just me saying it.

"Kevin's in an almost impossible position," an informed observer, who asked that his name not be used because of delicate associations with members of the House, told me last week. "He wouldn't have won in 2015" anyway, when he dropped out of the running to replace then-Speaker John Boehner. "And now he's 'My Kevin.' The toady speaker comes to the leadership of the House."

And the effect?

"McCarthy as speaker decreases the chances that Republicans retain the majority and that'll be in the minds of the members of the House who do the voting," my source said. "Because then the anti-Trump votes, which can't be cast in 2018 because he's not on the ballot," will look at the House leadership. "Kevin becomes the reason they'll vote no."

The solution? Keep Ryan, whose relationship with Trump has become, at times, healthily adversarial, in the speaker's chair until at least Nov. 7.


Ryan says he'll serve out his term, which ends in January, and then ride off into the spend-more-time-with-my-family sunset.

But will we really have seen the last of him on the national stage? Ryan was Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012 and running mates tend to turn up again down the line with bigger ambitions.

Twenty-one of the nation's 27 winning vice presidential nominees later ran for president themselves, and eight of them won. Among losing vice presidential candidates, nine of 28 later ran for president, although just one, Franklin D. Roosevelt, actually won the presidency.

And how many House speakers later served as president? One — Democrat James K. Polk of Tennessee, the 11th president.

So don't keep your hopes up too high, Kevin.


You know it's "gotcha" time in an election year when 12-year-old videos start showing up. This year's first gotcha is a clip from an endorsement meeting in 2006 with the deputies union in which Youngblood is seen posing the question: "When a deputy shoots somebody, which way is better financially? To cripple them or kill them, for the county?"

"Kill them?" asks an out-of-view attendee. "Absolutely," Youngblood responds, "because if you cripple them you have to take care of them for life and that cost goes way up."

In cold, hard, literal terms, Youngblood is of course correct. But in a county with the nation's highest per capita rate of killings by police officers, based on a 2015 study by The Guardian, that statement might be seen as predictive — almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The union voted to endorse Youngblood that year, it should be noted, and Youngblood ended up ousting Sheriff Mack Wimbish.

But then no sitting sheriff, since the department was established, has had union support, Wimbish noted at the time.

Chief Deputy Justin Fleeman, who is opposing Youngblood, has the union endorsement this time around.


The Rev. Gregory Tatum, who is running as a Republican for the soon-to-be vacant 16th District seat in the state Senate against Republican Shannon Grove and Democrat Ruth Musser-Lopez, called late Friday with a told-you-so.

During a video interview in the TBC Media studios last week, Tatum mentioned that a strike on Syria was imminent, citing the relevance of Damascus, the capital of modern-day Syria, in biblical prophecy. "I mentioned a Bible verse, Isaiah 17:1," he wrote in an email. "It's happening."

The verse reads, "The burden of Damascus: Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap."

His email pinged on my computer no more than 15 minutes after word of Friday's airstrikes hit the news.

A point for the good reverend, I suppose.

Contact The Californian’s Robert Price at 661-395-7399, rprice@bakersfield.com or on Twitter: @stubblebuzz. His column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; the views expressed are his own.

(1) comment

GaryJohns

Riveting insight....

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.