How speakers of the House became an endangered species

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There was a time when Speaker of the House was one of the most secure jobs in politics, held by men largely unknown to the American public, who wielded their enormous power behind the scenes until they retired at an advanced age or died in office.

With John Boehner's announcement Thursday that he will leave Congress at the end of October, he will become the sixth speaker in a row to effectively be forced to relinquish the gavel.

What is different this time: Where the others over the past 26 years have lost their jobs because of pressures generated by the other party, the Ohio Republican is the first to succumb to a rebellion that built within his own ranks.

That reflects in part the turbulence of politics in this polarized era. Where Democrats held control of the House for 40 years straight before 1994, control of the chamber has turned over twice since then.

Read entire article at WaPo

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