The Speaker’s career shows the power of ideas in politics.
His policy chops and listening skills helped rally the fractious GOP House into a governing majority rather than merely an opposition to Barack Obama. They developed the “Better Way” reform platform in 2016, and in this Congress they’ve passed most of it through the House and much into law.
.. The irony is that Mr. Ryan has become a target of the populist and Trump right though few in Congress have fought harder or longer for conservative reform.
.. The reason the New York Times and Washington Post loathe him is precisely because he takes ideas seriously and can persuade his colleagues. That makes him far more of a threat to the left than is any talk-radio host.
.. But entitlement reform is inevitable given the fiscal realities, and Mr. Ryan’s ideas are still a roadmap for the future.
.. They have railed against Mr. Ryan as a totem of “the establishment,” which was always more epithet than argument. Mr. Ryan knows that the point of politics is to win power to pass your agenda, not remain in feckless opposition to the supposedly unreformable entitlement state.
.. Mr. Ryan has already raised $54 million in campaign cash for his fellow Members this Congress, and their fate is tied far more to Donald Trump’s approval rating than to Mr. Ryan’s candidacy.
.. Win or lose in November, Republicans will have to find a leader who can lead their conference. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and whip Steve Scalise are the main early contenders. Both are known more for their electoral skills than policy knowledge.