The Hightower Report

Ryan bitten on the butt by his own mad dogs

If it was under the big top, it would be a hilarious clown show, with pratfalls, wild posturing, tumbling, juggling, and a cacophony of comic chaos.

But, alas, it's under the Capitol dome, so it's just the Republican congressional caucus – bumbling, stumbling, and crashing into each other in clownish acts of ideological zaniness, political incoherence, and pathetic ineptitude. The present bedlam on the Hill was prompted by Speaker John Boehner abruptly deciding to zip-a-dee-doo-dah out of office, having finally given up on corralling his caucus of clowns.

Sadly, his withdrawal has only intensified the buffoonery, generating a slapstick intramural contest over which group of far-out right-wingers will replace him. Boehner's contingent of anti-government, corporate-hugging extremists want one of their own, while assorted groupings of even fringier, farther-out packs of mad-dog Tea Party Republicans want someone who'll howl at the moon and literally shut down the government.

For a moment, Rep. Paul Ryan appeared to be the consensus pick, except for two problems: 1) he doesn't really want the thankless task of clown-herding; and 2) even though he is an Ayn Rand-worshipping, Koch-hugging, laissez-fairyland ideologue dedicated to killing everything from Social Security to Obamacare, Ryan is just not right-wingy enough for the howlers. He's still considering whether to run for the job, but even if he does – and wins – the spectacle will continue.

Here's the irony in Ryan's predicament: He created his own mess! He was chief architect of the 2010 republican scheme to take over Congress by recruiting and electing the mad dogs who're now biting him on the butt – and turning the U.S. House of Representatives into the House of Ridiculousness. As Rep. Peter King put it: "We look absolutely crazy."

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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