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Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday, May 22, 2012. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

The Washington Post reported Thursday that "several influential House conservatives" are plotting to challenge Speaker Paul Ryan's leadership this fall. Truth is, it's not a job many want or can keep anymore.

Sound smart: Ryan — like John Boehner before him — has found being Speaker sounds more powerful than it actually is. Lawmakers no longer need party leaders for money and exposure, because the power has swung to the grassroots. And without the ability to hand out legislative goodies such as earmarks (money for projects in districts), the modern Speaker is simply playing a weaker hand.

Sound smarter: Ignore episodic stories about Ryan's demise. There are no Republicans with the clout or support to take him on. They know the job is impossible in this environment.

That's why there has been a recent run of weak and troubled speakerships.

John Boehner, party problems

John Boehner resigned as a result of a fractioned Republican Party. He said he resigned to save his colleagues from "prolonged leadership turmoil." But Boehner will tell anyone who asks the job was a drag, especially dealing with Tea Party members who loved to flick off leadership.

Nancy Pelosi, unpopularity

After Republicans took the House in 2010, Nancy Pelosi handed off the speakership to John Boehner. She lost popularity among both Republicans and Democrats; Democrats attempted to distance themselves from her during the 2010 elections because she became a symbolism of ineffectual leadership and liberalism.

Jim Wright & Newt Gingrich, ethics violations

Jim Wright was the first speaker to resign amid"allegations of ethical impropriety," but was never charged.

Newt Gingrich resigned after he became the first-ever speaker to be disciplined by the House for ethical wrongdoing.

Tom Foley, Republican overthrow

Tom Foley was unseated in the 1994 election, making him "the highest-profile casualty in the Republican 'revolution' of 1994," according to the Washington Post.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
5 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

9 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
20 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.