A house (and a party) suspended while Paul Ryan quietly retires


The fact that Mr. Ryan is not the speaker at the next Congress is by no means a surprise. His displeasure at trying to handle the unmanageable Republican House Conference was well known throughout Washington, and the abrasive Trumpian style left him cold.

It was expected that if the Republicans lost the majority in November, he would no longer be there. And if they kept the majority by a small margin, it could still have been impossible for Ryan to return as an announcer given his role in approving unpopular bills among conservatives, such as the recent $ 1.3 trillion spending package.

The surprise was that he would become public now. Conventional thinking in such cases says that the speaker must move forward to remain credible as a magnet for fundraising and to avoid showing weakness or loss of confidence in the face of an impending electoral reaction. See J. Dennis Hastert, Republican Spokesperson, 2006.

Mr. Ryan acknowledged that the way he was doing things was not the usual.

"Some of you wonder why I can not do the normal thing, which is run and then retire after the elections." Mr. Ryan said. "That's what they tell me is the politically shrewd thing to do, I considered that, but just as my conscience is what led me to accept this work, my conscience could not bear to go out that way." Mr. Ryan said he vowed to serve his constituents honestly, "and to ask them to vote, to re-elect me, knowing that I would not be left, not being honest."

Mr. Ryan's constituents, however, are not the only ones who can be saved. His decision to leave the House voluntarily at age 48 gives him the opportunity to limit his guilt for a possible loss of the majority or face its consequences, possibly leaving it viable for a future political career.

"It gives you the opportunity to spend time with your children, earn some money, and then you will be around 50 years old and can run for president, if that is what you want to do," said Rep. Peter T. King , Republican of New York.

that's what you want to do is unknown at this time. During his comments to the media, the speaker said that he intended to continue pursuing the policy ideas that he favored, such as the remodeling of major social programs.

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In listing the "two greatest honors" of his life, he mentioned having been chosen as a speaker and serving as husband and father. His race for the vice president on the national Republican ticket in 2012 never showed up. Instead, there was talk in Washington that Mr. Ryan ran some kind of important advocacy group or think tank in Washington. He later told CNN that he had no intention of running for the White House.

If you re-enter national politics, Mr. Ryan's legacy in the House will undoubtedly be a problem. He was a champion of fiscal responsibility that will leave huge deficits accumulating under the full Republican control of Congress and the White House. He pushed through a long-sought tax review that he held again on Wednesday. But one of its main objectives – simplification of the tax code by reducing a series of deductions – was diluted in the final negotiations while the Republicans sought votes for approval.

The explosion in red ink has become a political albatross that Republicans voted on Thursday on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in an attempt to show that they are serious about fiscal discipline despite their recent actions. The measure was widely ridiculed in Washington.

Mr. Ryan acknowledged his disappointment at not having put the federal tax house in order, but consoled himself with the fact that at least he had "normalized" the idea of ​​trying to control spending on politically charged programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Mr. Ryan's desire to spend more time with his children is undoubtedly sincere: he was a teenager when his own father died, and he is known to regularly attend his sporting events in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Regarding its effect on midterm reviews, he said he did not believe that anyone's race "would depend on the speaker of Paul Ryan or not." He did not blame Mr. Trump for kicking him out, and instead gave him credit for helping Republicans enact tax changes.

But just a few years ago, Mr. Ryan was hailed as the bright future of the Republicans. Now he is leaving, and the future of the Republicans he is leaving behind is not so bright.

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