To that end, we submit the following list, which culls some names mentioned Thursday and some of our own ideas and goes on to offer some genuine analysis of why they might make sense.
Please be advised that we are aware that none of the following are ever actually going to hold (or, in one case, regain) the speaker's gavel. But like those non-binding resolutions accompanied by extended floor speeches, we're going extend our moment thanks to a quirk of the House rules.
This is, after all, the man put in charge of the search for George W. Bush's vice president who then settled on himself. In the years since, he's been known to pop up here and there and comment on all sorts of political and national security matters. He served in the Nixon, Ford and two Bush administrations. And, despite his role in starting an unpopular war in Iraq, Cheney, like a cat, always lands on his feet. He's agile (or crafty) depending on your point of view, and since he's a former member of Congress and short-term House whip, Cheney already knows how the business of the House gets done. Beyond all of that, he might actually be able to frighten some of the members of the warring Republic factions into cooperating.
Gingrich said Thursday that he would gladly become speaker of the House if there are 218 votes in the chamber for him to retake his old job — you know, just in case. No matter what you make of the policies Republicans passed while Gingrich was speaker, you can not dispute this: The man managed some serious party discipline (until he could not). And then, he was out. His failed 2012 run for the White House and clear personal baggage aside, Gingrich knows this job. And, if pressed, we suspect that Newt Gingrich still knows a few valuable secrets. Plus, the current Republican rabble-rousers will have been warned. When Gingrich stepped down in 1999, he said he would not "preside over people who are cannibals." Enough said.
This former secretary of state, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and career military man — now a retired four-star general — has been floated repeatedly as a Republican candidate for public office (and especially the presidency). He might have been the secretary of state who went to the U.N. and made an utterly inaccurate case for war, but he's also the man who warned George W. Bush against casually instigating armed conflict. And he's a Republican who has offered up a range of reality checks and temper-your-froth advisories to other members of the party at moments of extreme discord. Of course, Powell's endorsements of President Obama are unlikely to endear him to tea partiers (or many other Republicans), but all those medals Powell has the right to pin on a uniform and the demographic realities bearing down on the GOP can't be ignored. And who's to say the next speaker couldn't be elected with a coalition of establishment/moderate Republicans and Democrats?
Romney might have lost two bids for president, made some caught-on-tape comments about 47 percent of Americans and blamed his 2012 loss on Obama's alleged "gifts to minorities." Romney might have considered, at one point, the concept of "self-deportation,"a good idea. But, the former Massachusetts governor remains attractive enough in establishment GOP corners that some urged him to run for president again this time. And like clockwork, a few amazing folks are now talking about him being speaker. After all, who better to save the Republican Party than the guy who saved the Salt Lake City Olympics, right? (See tweet above.)
First and foremost know this: Republican officials are worried that Trump might be an unstoppable force in the 2016 race. So, enticing him to take over the unwieldy and unmanageable speaker slot could solve two immediate Republican headaches. To really manage the speaker's job and it's many many details, Trump would probably have to step out of the presidential race, clearing a path for one of the more conventional candidates to live up to the many early predictions that one of them would become the GOP nominee. And the Freedom Caucus and other members who reject the idea that establishment and centrist Republicans in Congress should lead might find in Trump someone willing to indulge their hardest-line positions and bring them to the floor for a vote. And when those measures inevitably fail in the Senate or die by presidential veto, who better to try and negotiate than the guy who wrote "The Art of the Deal."
He's here, well, mostly because my colleagues insisted. But West has expressed his intention to enter politics at the top of the food chain in just a few years. West's platform, like most of his political ideas and his uber-early 2020 presidential announcement are, are basically inscrutable without some kind of Kanye code book. But even I must admit that were Kanye to win, I might sometimes find it necessary to count up the number of times West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, appear on a state dinner invite list. For sure, I would need to know which of the flesh-toned body stockings and distressed work-out gear from Kanye's 2015 fashion collection he might gift President Obama and the first lady. At the very least, West might change his mind about running for the White House.