Can There Be A Conservative Speaker?

The tide of Republicans headed for the exit has claimed Paul Ryan. 

Ryan's calculations are obvious. If he is to have any political future, he needs to get out now. And he's spent enough time in the House that even if he doesn't pursue political office again, he will have a smooth post-political career transition. But he's young enough to contemplate a future political career after whatever shakedowns may come. Some allies are already touting him for 2024.

On the other hand, much of the Ryan sales pitch had to do with his seeming youth. Without that, there really won't be any product to sell.

It's a smooth move by a politician whose only political misstep was taking the speakership. But even Ryan's failures, like Romney-Ryan, only enhance the resume of a mediocre, overhyped politician.

The real question is, what's next.

The political exodus raises a possibility. Republicans may take a midterm beating, but the survivors will be a more conservative coalition. It might be the Freedom Caucus' hour. 

Republicans have tried everything else. Maybe they'll try a conservative Speaker.