News broke this morning that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), a member of congress since 1999, will be hanging it up at the end of his term in November.
It is likely that the strong odds of Democrats taking the majority in the midterms played a heavy role in Ryan’s decision.
It is also probable that Ryan — having achieved his biggest goal of reforming the tax code — wanted to get out on what he perceives as a high note after 20 nearly years in Congress.
Whatever the case may be, Ryan’s district will have a new congressional representative at this time next year.
Ryan is a polarizing figure among both the left and right.
On the left, he is seen as a heartless conservative who they believe does not care about the poor.
On the right, he is seen as a man with some bold ideas but there is debate internally about how much impact he actually had.
Stock in trade Republicans generally like Ryan, while the more hardcore conservatives and libertarians see him as more of a squish.
For my part, I generally think Ryan had a set of core principles that he advocated for but was sometimes too quick to compromise.
And for all the talk of Ryan as a smll government champion, he did not do nearly enough to try to shrink the size of government, often going along for the ride on massive spending bills.
Now the race will be on to see who replaces him at the top of the GOP House rankings. I would assume Kevin McCarthy, one of Ryan’s chief lieutenants, would be one of the first in line to be majority or minority leader (depending on how the 2018 midterms turn out) once the smoke clears.
But either way, now Paul Ryan will go home and live a life outside of politics.
Quite frankly, he has been out of regular life for so long that I wonder how he will handle it, but I am sure he will eventually figure it out.
And in the wake of Ryan’s announcement, Republicans and Democrats will continue fighting, slinging mud, and generally getting very little done in a positive way for the American people.
If Paul Ryan really wants to amuse himself sometime, he should turn on CSPAN a few years from now and watch the same old story he dealt with for 20 years play out over whatever that day’s hot issue is.
A whole lot of talk, but very little action.
Then Ryan can smile, hug his wife and kids, and be glad he got the hell out of there when he did.