Paul Ryan isn’t even Speaker of the House yet and he’s already broken one promise. Ryan said he wouldn’t run for Speaker unless he had the endorsement of the Freedom Caucus. He doesn’t have it, yet he is plowing ahead.
Ryan’s statement of intent illustrates why he likely will be a bad Speaker, and possibly a disastrous one. Ryan said in part:
Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about our country, and it’s clear to me that we’re in a very serious moment. . . .
Instead of rising to the occasion, Washington is falling short—including the House of Representatives. We are not solving the country’s problems; we are only adding to them. But now, we have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost. . . .
We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country’s problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like.
Ryan apparently believes that the role of the House is to “solv[e] the country’s problems.” This is wrong philosophically. Conservatives don’t look to Washington for solutions to America’s problems. They see Washington as part of the problem, not the solution. They mainly want Washington to get out of the way.
Ryan’s statement is also wrong on the facts. The House hasn’t failed to solve problems, and certainly hasn’t added to them. With Democrats in control of the White House and holding the power to filibuster legislation in the Senate, the House cannot enact laws. Under these circumstances, blaming it for not solving problems is ridiculous. It also happens to the Democrat/MSM line, not the line of any self-respecting Republican.
The House’s proper role has been to block President Obama’s attempts to enact legislation that will transform the country. Since the 2010 election, it has done so. The only near slip-up was the Paul Ryan’s flirtation with comprehensive immigration reform.
I’m not saying that the Republican House is without fault. Far from it. But to claim that it is adding to the country’s problems is unfair. Ryan has been drinking the Kool-aid doled out by Democrats and the mainstream media.
More fundamentally, Ryan has fallen into the trap that enables liberalism. He wants to do big things. He can do no big thing that is genuinely conservative because, to date and probably for the foreseeable future, the Democrats stand steadfastly in the way.
Thus, in order to do something grand, Ryan must collaborate with the Democrats. Conservatives almost never make out well in such collaborations. Immigration reform and sentencing reform are good examples of what to expect.
Speaking of which, with Ryan as Speaker, expect the House to pass John Conyers’ sentencing reform proposal. As Bill Otis and I explained, this sort of legislation would free thousands of felons, produce shorter sentences for tens of thousands going forward, and result in a large increase in crime, including violent crime.
Does anyone think Republican voters had this sort of legislation in mind when they conferred majority status in the House on the GOP? Of course not. The passage of this legislation would constitute a betrayal.
It is also nearly certain that Ryan will be gunning for amnesty. He may have agreed not to pursue it during Obama’s presidency, but it’s obvious that Ryan considers amnesty a moral imperative. Couple that with its support among the GOP’s biggest donors, and one can see that amnesty is in the cards under Speaker Ryan.
I’m surprised that Ryan mustered “super-majority support” within the Freedom Caucus. I’ll be shocked if Freedom Caucus members don’t come to regret giving him that support.