NPR

Ryan's Speakership Makes 7 In A Row Ending In Frustration — Or Worse

If being speaker of the House remains the most coveted job on Capitol Hill, it has also become the most frustrating. And to be frank, it's more likely to crash a career than to cap it these days.
Then newly elected Speaker of the House Paul Ryan shakes hands with outgoing Speaker John Boehner alongside House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29, 2015. Source: Saul Loeb

In Henry IV Part 2, Shakespeare writes, "Uneasy rests the head that wears the crown."

Speakers of the House do not wear crowns. But if they did, these days their crowns might as well be woven of thorns.

Just ask Paul Ryan, who has announced he will relinquish the speakership by not seeking re-election this fall.

Why? There may be many reasons, including Ryan's stated desire to spend more time with his family. He also faces a well-funded opponent in the Fall, not to mention the prospect of his Republican party losing its majority (or having it pared to the point of helplessness).

To these motives, we should add at least one more: To be speaker is simply no longer what it's cracked up to be. It may be the pinnacle of power on Capitol Hill, but it cannot command either the House as a

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