10 Republicans Who Could Be Speaker

What does it take to be the speaker?

The ability to lead and have people follow. The talent to message and have it resonate. The willingness to use the carrot and the stick. And, most importantly, you’ve got to have the votes.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has learned it’s no easy task as he faces one mutiny after another from his fractious flock.

He’s given no indication that he plans to step down anytime soon, and there are no Republicans on the staff or member level who would venture to guess his expiration date.

But one day, Boehner will go. And on that day, if Republicans have the House, there will be a new order. Here are 10 members (plus two freshmen) who could one day be speaker.

Eric Cantor of Virginia

Cantor’s ambition for the top slot is hardly a secret, and conventional wisdom would suggest the majority leader would be next in line. Aides say Boehner and Cantor often rule the House as equals, but the Virginian knows his place.

Some wooed Cantor to challenge Boehner earlier this year, but he held off and has sought to play the role of good soldier since.

If Boehner were to retire quickly, Cantor would have built-in advantages with his own leadership operation ready to take over.

Admirers say he might be better positioned to bridge the chasm between the younger, more unruly members and the old rank and file. But Cantor’s record of corralling the conference is far from spotless — several of his initiatives have run into trouble, most notably his signature health care bill.

And if a conservative revolt ends up pushing Boehner out of the chair, would the mutineers really be satisfied with Boehner’s No. 2? Or would they demand a clean sheet at the top?

Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin

Paul D. Ryan makes everyone’s short list — and many believe that if he wants the job, he’d get it. The former vice presidential candidate known for his controversial plan to balance the budget is a prolific fundraiser who has deep respect inside the GOP conference and he has been urged over the years to run for the top job by some of his colleagues. But Ryan, a father of three young children, has said publicly he doesn’t envy the frequent travel required of leadership. And he could have other ambitions — like chairing the Ways and Means Committee or making a run of his own for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

10 Republicans Who Could Be Speaker

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