Reality Is Bearing Down on Paul Ryan


Lisa Mascaro reports that the honeymoon may be over for Paul Ryan. He only lasted five months:

As Congress is careening toward another budget crisis and the Republican Party is ripping itself apart over Donald Trump’s rise, the man best known as the architect of the GOP’s austere spending blueprint is likely to miss an April 15 deadline to approve a new funding plan for 2017.

He’s been unable to overcome the same resistance from the conservative House Freedom Caucus that doomed his predecessor, and is so far similarly unwilling to use the power of the speaker’s office to force stragglers to fall into line.

….To some, Ryan’s repeated calls for Republicans to “raise our gaze” and his frequent attempts to position himself as the GOP’s deep thinker are starting to give off an air of ivory tower insignificance. Conservatives wonder if he’s still a “young gun” trying to shake up the party. At a Trump rally in Ryan’s Wisconsin hometown of Janesville last week, the crowd booed the mention of his name.

….In many ways, the speaker’s problems are of his own making, the result of a leadership strategy he helped forge to recruit the most conservative candidates to run for office and then, after Republicans won the House majority in the 2010 midterm election, reject almost all of Obama’s initiatives.

Well, it’s still early days. Maybe Ryan is just working slowly and steadily to gain some kind of consensus. More likely, though, the tea partiers aren’t any more willing to compromise under Ryan than they were under Boehner—and that leaves Ryan high and dry. If he can’t convince them to be flexible even during an election year, he obviously doesn’t have much conservative credibility left. Hard to believe.