Yesterday’s Washington Post featured an article by Amber Phillips called (in the paper edition) “A dismal congressional session, but a flicker of hope.” According to Phillips, the “hope” lies in the “fresh face” of Speaker Paul Ryan and the bipartisanship he has already demonstrated.
That the Washington Post sees hope in Ryan’s emergence tells conservatives everything they need to know about the new Speaker. Moreover, an article like Phillips’ is likely, in the time-honored Washington tradition, to induce Ryan to continue to yield to liberals, as he did in the disgraceful Omnibus spending bill.
Phillips’ article does a good job of explaining how Ryan managed to sell out conservatives without drawing the ire of his conservative colleagues. She demonstrates the problem with House conservatives in two paragraphs:
Ryan managed to negotiate a spending bill with Democrats in the same manner and with largely the same outcomes that Boehner likely would have. But Ryan did it without earning the same kind of vitriol from the right flank of his party that Boehner likely would have. The group on the right didn’t like the spending bill, and many didn’t vote for it, but they didn’t call Ryan names for negotiating it with Democrats.
Knowing he was at risk of being compared to the politically toxic former speaker during these negotiations, Ryan did his best to subtly draw contrasts with Boehner outside of them — Boehner smokes and drinks; Ryan works out every morning. Boehner stacked powerful committees with his allies; Ryan opened the positions up to the whole House.
Apparently all it takes to turn House conservatives into poodles is a morning workout and the promise of “openness.” Amazing.
Early in her story, Phillips asserts that “both sides can claim victories in a flurry of last-minute bipartisan legislation that funded the government, extended tax breaks and lifted the debt ceiling.”
An omnibus spending isn’t sports; both sides can always claim victory. But later in her piece Phillips writes: “[The Post] named [Nancy Pelosi] one of the spending deal’s winners after Democrats secured major victories, including getting domestic spending increased by the same amount as military spending.” If Nancy Pelosi is winning, conservatives are losing.
The Post also named Ryan a winner in the spending deal. This too tells conservatives everything they need to know about the new Speaker.