Paul Ryan took the speakership vowing to decentralize power and re-energize House committees. It's a noble cause, but it's fair to ask that in return, the committees serve as open forums that do serious policy analysis, not just legislative sausage-making. On criminal justice, Ryan has a chance to establish that principle.
Think about that for a minute; because what if, instead of drafting Ryan, the GOP was trying to convince Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to become Speaker? If she had made the same declaration about the sacredness of her family time, it's a safe bet that that mother of three small kids would have suffered some serious pushback, possibly the career ending kind.
The Tea Party wing of the House Republican party is seeking changes in the rules and procedures. Changes designed to strip the Speaker of the ability to assemble a majority within the House and enable that majority to govern. They cloak their demands in the language of bottom-up democracy. But their complaints about John Boehner's leadership give away the game.