Speaker Ryan’s Greatest Hurdle: Congressional Math

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said he is “optimistic” about a Ryan speakership, and said hiring David Hoppe as chief of staff will help the new speaker gauge the Senate. Hoppe knows Congress, having previously served in top posts to both House and Senate leaders, and he has close ties to McConnell’s chief of staff, Sharon Soderstrom.

For all his optimism, Lott conceded Ryan may still have issues dealing with the HFC, which, along with right-wing media and outside advocacy groups, touts collecting the pelts of other House Republican leaders.

“I do think that Paul needs to stare these turkeys down a bit,” Lott said. “A leader is only as good as his followers … and I think [Ryan] has got that ability. He’s got the disposition to tell them what they need to hear without pissing them off, I think. I’m counting on it. But, it’s a hard job.”

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