There is a zombie party, but it’s not the GOP

Following the early October defenestration of John Boehner as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington Post correspondent Karen Tumulty made waves when she said Republicans were “on the verge of ceasing to function as a national political party.”

But in this case, the wish was likely the father of the thought. “Dysfunction” was hardly the scene in the House last week as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan took hold of the speaker’s gavel — an act unthinkable even to Ryan just a few weeks prior. The young, attractive Ryan always has been seen as the future of the Republican Party, able to bridge the gap between the GOP’s more ardent wing and those more interested in governing. (In the end, only seven of the Tea Party’s “Freedom Caucus” members voted against Ryan, proving the group’s opposition to Ryan was overblown.)

In fact, Ryan’s ascendance to the speakership itself served as a reminder that the Republican Party is alive and well. In fact, in the House, it is the Democrats who have ceased to function, as Republicans still hold 247 seats — their largest majority since 1927.

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