Conservative opposition to Speaker Paul Ryan mounts

Weeks after emerging as the obvious replacement for departing Speaker John Boehner after Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew his name, and immediately following a budget deal which satisfied few, antipathy toward Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is developing.

Although no nationwide movement exists, former Tea Party America chairman Ted Crow penned an editorial on his website, crowsnestpolitics.com, appealing to Tea Partiers to declare war on Ryan, suggesting he lacks solid conservative credentials and has betrayed the movement.

A Facebook page titled “Primary Challenge Paul Ryan” surfaced recently with over 24,000 “likes.”

Speaker Ryan has not commented on the Facebook page or the call for Tea Partiers to galvanize, nor has he revealed a strategy for the 2016 elections.

Analysis

Goaded into the job, Ryan expressed reservation, and set conditions on his accepting the job as he confronts a left-wing ideologue in the White House.

Critics charge the Democrats got everything they demanded in the $1.1 trillion budget deal signed by Mr. Obama, and they are placing blame at Ryan’s feet.

Let’s specify up front the budget deal was imperfect for the GOP:  Democrats secured funding for Planned Parenthood; they were given approval for massive spending on solar and wind energy enterprises; Obama’s immigration plans were allowed to go through; and sanctuary cities were funded.

However, the GOP earned some significant victories:  Tax cuts for individuals and business were both preserved and extended; the Environmental Protection Agency received less funding; there was no further erosion on the Second Amendment; and the Visa Waiver Program was reformed.

Ryan deserves some credit for halting the Left’s tide.

Although Ryan has not commented on his political future, he remains fairly popular in his district and easily won reelection to his House seat in 2014 with a plurality of 26 percent.

This, however, does not mean Ryan is invulnerable:  A little-known Washington Republican, George Nethercutt, ousted Democratic House Speaker and 30-year-incumbent Tom Foley in 1994; and former GOP Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, was eliminated in the 2014 Virginia primaries by Tea Party candidate, Dave Brat.

While Foley’s loss was surrounded by a nationwide GOP surge in the 1994 mid-term elections, Brat toppled Cantor with Tea party support in a year the GOP scored significant wins in both chambers.  Despite the power of incumbency, clearly it is unwise to underestimate the power of grassroots movements.

Barely two months on the job, what Ryan has learned is the Speakership is a thankless job.

 

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