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Memo to Paul Ryan

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I am hoping — praying, actually — that you agree to be the speaker of the House. Anyone who has been a dad knows the Saturday morning pull that weighs on you, but the team can figure out how to make the job work for you and not you for the job. Leader McCarthy remains an effective and prodigious organizer and fundraiser. Your long-time friends will take the crazy stuff off your shoulders. You can help lead a country desperately in need of leadership.

The “hard core” of the Freedom Caucus cannot number more than 20, if that. You can dictate terms. But more than that, you can use this period to rally and unify the caucus around a sense of shared purpose and real urgency.

Some perspective is crucial, and I tried to interject it into Sunday’s “Meet the Press” conversation: A NATO ally, Turkey, is said to have shot down a Russian jet, and Ankara was most definitely rocked by two bombs. Putin is advancing in Syria, and the president actually says on “60 Minutes” that it is because of weakness. Truly, we need a communicator in that job to rally not just the GOP caucus, but the country.

My very unsolicited suggestion on how to lay down the terms: Ask your friends Cathy McMorris Rogers and Peter Roskam, who themselves enjoy widespread support, to organize a conference retreat for next weekend. Spend Friday socializing and arranging for the members to view two new movies, both certain to contend for Oscars: “Sicario” and “The Martian,” which together display the depravity that could suck us under or the selflessness and courage that can renew caucus, Congress and country.

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Spend Saturday giving an hour each to the best minds on the current state of the world: Gens. James Mattis (USMC Ret), Stanley McCrystal (USA, Ret), and David Petraeus (USA, Ret); former Vice President Cheney, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks and Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn. Get the members focused on the big stuff.

In fact, send them McCrystal’s best seller Team of Teams before they arrive at the retreat’s location, and demand they have read it before he speaks. Mattis, McCrystal and Petraeus will remind them that this is a 9/11 world, not a 9/10 debating club.

Then on Sunday morning, after the church services of their choice, lay out your program to the GOP members assembled, name your team and your proposed way forward from now through the next 17 months. (I think a continuing resolution lifting the sequester on the Pentagon and the debt ceiling and giving the president some sugar cookies for his favored special interests as a very expensive set of gold watches is the way to go, but you know your own mind.) Make your remarks a detailed, transient take it or leave it offer. Be home before kick-off of the next Packers game, may it be a win.

If you get 225 or 230 votes in the vote, the deal is done and you are on the way to an amazing speakership. If they turn you down, walk. The majority will be lost anyway in 2016 if hostage taking spreads from the Caliphate to the Congress.

It would work. It has to. A rump group of at most a score of ideologues cannot be allowed to destroy the GOP. Please step up. Every responsible conservative will support you.


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