Skip to comments.Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance
Posted on 12/11/2012 10:24:31 PM PST by smoothsailing
December 12, 2012
Paul Ryan spent the summer and fall in the national spotlight, but this winter hes a subdued presence. Hes rarely granting interviews, and his public appearances have been scattered, with the most high profile a speech at the Kemp Foundation dinner. His closest friends say that he wants to return to his work quietly, and that hes uninterested in playing a prominent role in the fiscal-cliff debate, even though hes the GOPs reigning budget expert.
His speech at the Kemp dinner, where he spoke with Marco Rubio, showed a willingness to rejoin the battle of ideas, says former congressman Vin Weber, a former colleague of Ryans at Empower America. He also shared the stage, which was smart. But when it comes to the fiscal cliff, hes not trying to be the star, and he isnt looking to fight with Boehner.
Ryans low-key presence has several political implications. First and foremost, it boosts Speaker Boehner. As a popular former vice-presidential nominee, Ryan could have easily asserted himself as a leading player. Because Ryan hasnt done that, Boehner has been, without question, the chief negotiator and spokesman for House Republicans. Ryans reluctance to enter the fray also means any conservative rebellion will almost certainly lack his blessing.
I think Ryan sees Boehner as trying to do the right thing, says Yuval Levin, a longtime Ryan associate and policy scholar. If there is a deal, he will evaluate it. But he is letting the process play out.
As Ryan sources explain, the 42-year-old congressman wants to let Boehner do his job, and to get back to a routine of his own. Ryans main project remains the budget committee, where he has served as chairman since January 2011. He sees his seat as an optimal platform to shape the national debate over the long term. In his speech to the Kemp Foundation, he spoke about poverty and civil society, which showed an eagerness to get beyond his reputation as a green-eyeshades budget maven.
As Ryan has mulled his future, Boehner has welcomed him back into the fold. Theyre not buddies, but theyre working together behind the scenes as Boehner negotiates with the White House.
The benefits for both men are clear: Ryan keeps his head down during a negotiation that may end badly, and focuses on the big policy picture as he looks, perhaps, toward the 2016 presidential campaign. Boehner gets more leeway, because if Ryan is happy, the speakers critics (who are close with Ryan) tend to be more reserved. Though a handful of conservative members cant stand Boehner, they implicitly take their cues from Ryan.
Since the election, Boehner has made several overtures, looking to sustain his helpful bond with Ryan. For example, he won Ryans appreciation last month when he granted Ryan a waiver to keep his chairmanship. Other chairmen lost their gavel, due to conference rules, which limit committee chairmen to six-year terms. Ryan, however, was able to hold on to his post. Ryans colleagues say that gesture solidified Ryans relationship with the speaker.
Boehner also invited Ryan to sit in on the fiscal-cliff strategy sessions. Ryan has participated in nearly every meeting with the House Republican leadership and has been urged to give his candid take on Boehners playbook. Even though hes not a member of the elected leadership team, the elected members view him as an equal.
As a former congressional staffer, Ryan has reportedly enjoyed getting back into the game on Capitol Hill. Most notably, he worked with Boehner to craft the Republicans latest bargaining position, which was outlined in a letter last week. Ryans signature on the letter sent his most public message yet that he and Boehner are teammates in the debt negotiations. Ryan may be saying little to cable anchors, but hes by no means on the outside looking in.
An incidental effect of the Romney campaign was to help cement staff-level relations between the two. Boehners spokesman, Michael Steel, served as Ryans senior press aide on the campaign trail, and Conor Sweeney, Ryans spokesman, spent months traveling to swing states with Steel and Boehner aide Brendan Buck, who also served as a Ryan campaign adviser. The Boehner and Ryan staffs communicate daily about the latest news, hoping to project a united Republican front.
There have been some minor bumps along the way, such as last months race for conference chairman, which is the fourth-ranking spot in the House Republican hierarchy. Representative Tom Price (R., Ga.), Ryans friend, lost his bid against Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), a Boehner protégé. But Boehner sources point out that this disagreement doesnt amount to much, since Ryan pledged months ago to back Price.
Where Ryan will land on a fiscal-cliff agreement, should one be struck, is unclear, but his ties to Boehner will be a factor regardless. If the deal includes tax-rate hikes, Ryan will have a tough choice to make, since conservatives (and future primary voters) would look unfavorably upon them. But if a deal were to include enough entitlement reforms or spending cuts, House insiders think hed probably support Boehner and make the case to conservatives that the House GOP cut the best possible deal.
Ryan and Boehner dont socialize together, but they are now effectively partners. How long this partnership lasts, and how long Ryan stays relatively mum, is another question. For now, its a sign that Boehner negotiates with real conservative weight behind him. There are rumors of conservative discontent, and possible challenges to the speaker, but when it comes to Ryan, Boehner has an ally, not a foe.
Paul, I like you as a person, but a friend to Boehner? Not sure I like this partnership.
While Rome burns the Republicans wonder which tie goes with the white belt and shoes.
Ryan and Romney , both RINOs, were allowed one more try at defeating the Obama fascist movement. They failed to engage their opponents ideology in the national venues of debate. As a result they lost.
Ryan is a loser. So is Romney and the whole pack of RINOs in charge of the GOP. Its time to purge them all because the RINO progressives have no place to go in their defeat , except to become like the opponents who defeated them because they failed to illucidate conservative principles or the truth about the intentional destruction of AMerica Obama means to bring about. Instead of voting for Romney and Ryan, Obama light, the nation voted for Obama, barely.
Ryan helped bring about that loss.
Typical. He is already lined up as the next squishy RINO loser. So this fits. Advice for the GOP... don’t waste your money. Cave and save. The rest of us are on to something else.
Wimpy Ryan & squishy Romney were the perfect foils for the Alinskites. They along with the GOP and all the FReepers who had to have dipwad Romney and faux-con Ryan as well as demonizing libertarians are also idiot losers.
The funny thing about the modern Republican party is that Paul Ryan is some kind of conservative darling for proposing a budget that balances in around 28 years.
That’s what being a fiscal hawk is these days?!?
Come on, even Clinton did better than that.
GOP, you suck.
Good old NR...making its bones by playing up the Two Party illusion.
I wouldnt trust Ryan for a minute. This past year he was claiming he was against the ‘destructive defense cuts’ in that crappy Budget Control Act that he fell all over himself praising last year when it passed.
Another invented conservative hero (by Rush and others) who is just another R party man. Has he ever accomplished anything? Anything good?
Maybe Ryan is one of them and not one of us?
Obviously Romney had major flaws that helped doom his run but I dont see where Ryan added anything, he was just the smiling face to lure conservatives back to plantation and he said nothing notable in that role. He is definitely a team player, on a losing team.
Aaah! Here comes the Freeper GOP Cheerleader Brigade!
You make me laugh :)
Prior to the election dissing Romney here did exactly that, and dissing Ryan was like dissing Muhammad in Iran. Now no one wants to defend Romney here, too dangerous.
You should of seen the grief I got when I posted here last October :
“ I think all those polls showing Romney losing are real. I think he (mitt) should be going after Obama on the Benghazi debacle instead of playing Mr nice guy ”
I was told "Romney is winning big now so shut up"
Now look at Os favorability rating. Romney might as well have been on Os campaign for all he accomplished.
At least McCain (who I didnt like ) left some marks on Obama late 2008.