Paul Ryan & The Blood of the Tiger

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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94 Responses

  1. North says:

    In the Kingdom of the Blind the one eyed man is King.Report

  2. That is, Mickey Kaus, who is a liberal but for a few issues, including all of them.Report

    • Kaus is operationally an agent of the right, but ideologically I’m pretty sure if he took isidewith he would be matched with Hillary and Sanders before any of the elected Republican candidates.

      The biggest thing with him are personality conflict that causes him to downplay his more liberal views (except when they coincide with Trump) and an overwhelming emphasis on immigration, his views on which cone from his leftier concerns about class and inequality.

      But if the parties switched on immigration, I think there is an overwhelming chance that he would go back to being an eccentric lefty.Report

  3. Kolohe says:

    Ironically, (or maybe just morissettianly) the whole negging, playing hard to get thing is exactly what the roissyverse dark enlightenment types say is the key to gaining power. So maybe Ryan is playing the deepest game of all. (who was it on twitter that brought up the possibility that Ryan’s camp or Ryan himself was one of the nodes of the whisper campaign against McCarthy?)Report

  4. A Speakership is a marathon, not a sprint. But Ryan can run marathons in 20 minutes.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Following Boener’s re-election as Speaker, Boener kicked a bunch of non-supporting people off of committees (replaced by supporters).

    I’m curious as to how Ryan will deal with this. What what Boener did baked into the cake? Will Ryan use committee member ship as a carrot/stick for his supporters/non-supporters? Will some of the old committee members find themselves back on the committees they got kicked off of?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      This morning, NPR discussed Boener’s pride at having gotten rid of earmarks.

      I’m wondering if they’ll be coming back.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      Something I read, (not sure where, maybe from one of the twitter feeds of the OT regulars) was that Ryan promised to go back to ‘regular order’ for the Committee chairs. (If I’m remembering and understanding it correctly), that means that unlike the latter part of Boehner’s reign, where all legislation originated through the Speaker’s office (I’m guessing via the Committee of the Whole), Committee Chairs would again have the prerogative of sending bills to the whole House that their committees had voted on.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

        What were the results from all legislation going through the Speaker’s office first?

        Were the nutty bills all tabled and only the salvageable ones sent through (and only after thorough reworking)? (Because that’s my guess.)

        I never really thought about how earmarks were likely used to maintain discipline and how, without them being on the table, Boener was forced to use committee membership (and, given this information, getting one’s bill to the floor) as a carrot because he had precious little else to offer.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

          Hindsight is 20/20, but I think the GOP made some avoidable mistakes — starting with term-limiting chairmanships (“So we put people in charge of a complex area, and then right when they start having enough experience and understanding to make solid decisions, we yank them! Their knowledge, experience, connections and favors to the other members of the committee…GREAT IDEA!”), getting rid of earmarks (“So let’s get rid of one of the simplest and most effective ways to corral party members…and their easiest way to sell stuff to voters”)…..

          Congress is pretty dysfunctional to begin with, but ditching some of the bits that made it work was kind of dumb.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird says:

          If you really follow regular order and allow bills that pass out of committee of record to reach the floor, you lose the ability to enforce the Hastart Rule unless all your committee chairs are willing to follow orders all the time and block votes there. Two-three years ago, a Senate immigration bill passed out of the House committee with a number of Republican votes and would almost certainly have passed on the House floor (Democrats plus the same moderate Republicans represented on the committee). Instead, it was bottled up in the Rules Committee until the end of the session.

          The Speaker can also avoid the embarrassment of looking weak. IIRC, some of the budget bills passed out of Rep. Ryan’s committee were left to die in the Rules Committee after a number of more moderate Republicans came back from a recess and told the Speaker that they would lose their seats if they passed a budget that included the severe social services cuts included in the bill, so would be voting against them. There was nothing “nutty” about those cuts — they were just at the level that had been called for in the House budget resolution. It’s easy to vote for social welfare cuts in the abstract, but rather more difficult when you have to vote for specific real cuts.Report

        • Mo in reply to Jaybird says:

          I think you’ll get more bills that wouldn’t pass the Hastert Rule because the more moderate chairs will be honey badgers.Report

  6. Will Truman says:


  7. Stillwater says:

    It had to be Ryan in the following sense: in a game of Russian Roulette pitting two teams against each other, and where one team just keeps shooting themselves in the head, it’ll come to one guy FTW. It has to be that guy!

    The internal logic of FreedomTP and assorted other whackaloons have brought the House and the GOP to this point. I mean, Kasich was right last night: most of these guys are living in a fantasy land. I don’t think Ryan can change that.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Stillwater says:

      I think Ryan more or less agrees with the House Freedom Caucus in ways that Kaisch does not. Ryan does seem better at building deals with the opposition and not alienating minorities.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        That’s not why Ryan is the Only Hope, tho. I agree with Will that he is, but I think we analyze why that’s the case via different methods. 🙂

        Kasich’s point was that conservative solutions on the table to a wide range of domestic economy issues are pie in the sky fantasies, politically as well as practically. I agree. I think Ryan actually agrees (at least based on some of the stuff that’s been reported). The Free-the-TP party doesn’t.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

          I think our methods do lend us to different conclusions, though, ultimately. I think Paul is far from doomed. As far as doomed Speaker options go, there were many. Paul was the only one with a good chance of doing reasonably well (significantly better than his predecessor).Report

          • North in reply to Will Truman says:

            Well with Boehner clearing the deck more or less Ryan’ll have a decent shot.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to North says:

              That helps, but even more encouraging is that Paul had no compunction about conspicuously voting for the budget deal (albeit after criticizing how it came about).Report

            • Patrick in reply to North says:

              Boehner clearing the deck gives Paul Ryan the opportunity to herd cats.

              What remains to be seen is whether or not the cats will take “We can move forward from here” as a goal, or if “Going backwards to undo that terrible deal Boehner made” becomes the new gold standard.

              A goodly number of the “Freedom Caucus” actually appears to believe that the power of the purse is the only tool they have in the bag. The debt ceiling/budget crises are not crises, they are welcome opportunities to get what they want.

              Budget reconciliation will be anathema. “We put in all these riders to the budget to defund this thing we hate and the reconciliation committee just took it all out” may become the new rallying cry.

              I can’t figure these guys out. Like, I get their motivation, but I don’t really actually understand what they consider to be results that would be valid in the short term. My best guess is like Will said in the OP, the fight has become the end goal, itself.

              Which means there’s no particular reason why Ryan will be successful, especially given that the GOP will not hold a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Especially if Hilary wins in 2016.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

                Except that Ryan has made no noises about repealing it, then went and voted for it, and was elected anyway. On what basis should we believe this is going to dog him? They blinked. He’s not Boehner, who was never bigger than they were.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Patrick says:

                “The debt ceiling/budget crises are not crises, they are welcome opportunities to get what they want.”


              • Kolohe in reply to Patrick says:

                Patrick: which means there’s no particular reason why Ryan will be successful, especially given that the GOP will not hold a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. Especially if Hilary wins in 2016.

                Even though Will traces the tension back to 2011, my take is that Boehner did not start really feeling the pressure until the Senate was back in GOP hands. He had plans of departing after this term anyway, which were partially derailled when Cantor lost his seat, but he moved his retirement up from the end of the current term to the middle of it.

                If the Dems take back the Senate (or, equivalently, get a 50/50 split with HRC’s VP giving the Dems control), Ryan gets a heat shield again, like Boehner did. Remember, there was the 40 something (50 something?) votes to repeal PPACA, which of course were DOA in the Senate with Harry Reid as majority leader.

                The more rabble rousing of the GOP caucus do have a small point in ‘ok we took the House, but you said we couldn’t do anything without the Senate. Now, we took the Senate, and now you’re saying we can’t do anything without the White House’.

                The same thing happened on the other side from 2006-2010. “Ok, we took the Congress, but to do anything we need the White House.” “Ok, we took the White House, but now you’re saying to do anything we need Norm Colman’s seat.” “Ok, we took Norm Coleman’s seat, but now you’re saying to do anything we need Ben Nelson to play ball.” “Wait, we got Ben Nelson to play ball with the Cornhusker kickback, but now we lost Ted Kennedy’s seat and are now SOL? WTF?”Report

  8. nevermoor says:

    I think Ryan was smart to try to avoid this whatever his true career goals.

    There’s no way as speaker he can continue to collect beltway fluff pieces about how “wonky” he is. And under any even marginally-informed scrutiny his nonsense breaks down pretty fast.Report

  9. Stillwater says:


    This is slightly off thread, so, with apologies and a question:

    After thinking about the debates last night a bit, I think the race is gonna shape up to a two person affair: Carson and Rubio. Trumps’ disapprovals are too high to overcome once other folks drop outa the race; Fiorina won’t be able to get past her record (or her incessant lying); Bush is toast; Kasich … well …; Cruz is a whackaloon; Christie is Christie!; etc.

    So the race is gonna narrow down to two candidates, each of which represents very different factions within the party. Carson represents the libertarianish Nightwatchmen’s-state conservatives who incline towards really tiny gummint and states rights trumping federal rights and individual rights trumping either with a homespun Christian values sown right in. Rubio represents moderate, pragmatic and Establishment conservatives with a bit of progressive outreach to hispanics (and beyond that I can’t really tell what his specific policies actually are).

    If that scenario plays out, the big question is which candidate will get the nomination. And given what I saw last night – and I’m an outsider to the inside-conservatism-baseball, so take this for what it’s worth – I think Carson’s policies and positions capture more of what conservatives view as “conservatism” than Rubio’s P&Ps. That is, his P&Ps capture more conservatives views than Rubio’s do. Course, the every-present-yet-impossible-to-define property of Electability! is a consideration as well, and I certainly have no idea how conservatives might be swayed by those types of considerations. Anyway, to the point I wanna make: I could very much see the guy getting the nom., moreso than any of the others BUT Rubio, and projecting out from right now, even more THAN Rubio. So right now if I had to put money on anyone, I’d put it on him.

    What do you think?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

      Replace Carson with Cruz and you have my prediction from last week and the emerging consensus of this week.

      Rubio would rather it be Carson, but Carson’s support is soft.

      Ideally for Rubio, it’s Carson and Cruz making three.Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Great minds.. that’s exactly what I think too. It’s most likely going to be Rubio vs Cruz and either Carson or more socialcons/truecons. With Rubio winning all the marbles in the end damnit. I really would have preferred Hillary vs Cruz or Bush.Report

    • North in reply to Stillwater says:

      Mmmm no Still, you’re off base there, sorry. Carson has a heavy evangalitical theme in his campaign and has significant socialcon support. There is no way he goes libertarianish on social policies. I also don’t think he’s a credible candidate; I don’t think he gets out of the first three.
      The contest you’re groping about for is going to be Rubio vs Cruz (after Nevada or so when the wacko-birds all implode) with Rubio playing the establishment moderate and Cruz playing the right wing warrior. Rubio will win, he’s going to get the establishment support and Cruz is despised by the GOP elite (as a person, not because of his policy). The big question is how many social cons limp out of the first immolation to fracture Cruz’s base. If there are few to none then Cruz could actually win despite everything but if Rubio keeps performing he’s going to run away with the nomination.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to North says:

        Yeah, I must be way off base since I don’t see Cruz doing anything in this election that comes close enough to even sniff at competitiveness. We agree about Rubio.

        Going back to Carson, tho: I realize he’s got a pretty heavy Christian vibe in his campaign, but conservatives tend to be pretty heavily religious, so I don’t see that as a strike against. (Especially given current politics about religious liberty and reclaiming it.) What I saw that separates him from past candidates who wear their religion on their sleeve, tho, is a set of economic and political P&Ps which are solidly in the conservative’s secular strike zone. Moreso than any other candidate, actually. And right now he has the highest approvals of anyone running (at least from the polling I’ve seen).Report

        • North in reply to Stillwater says:

          Well we’ll see for sure after the big three or four but I expect he could possibly win Iowa (but I doubt it) and doubt he’ll win anywhere else.

          Cruz hasn’t done much to ‘deserve’ being the nominee. Cruz’s strategy has been to basically be Carson/Trump-like AND also a real politician. He is betting that the neophytes implode and their voters fall to him as the candidate who has both played nice with their faction and generally has avoided criticizing their candidates.

          If Trump et all don’t collapse then Cruz may be in trouble. Then again he may just keep plodding along waiting for it to happen.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to North says:


            Just wanna get clear on what you’re saying here: do you think that Iowans who say they support Carson won’t pull the lever for him?Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

              I read recently that 80% of his supporters “aren’t sure” of their support. Compared to 30% for Rubio and 55% for Trump.Report

            • North in reply to Stillwater says:

              Stillwater, I think that there’s people who pick up the phone when a pollster calls. Of those people the overwhelming majority of them say “Oh yeah I’ll vote” when the pollster asks them if they’re going to vote and then some of them say “Yeah I’ll vote Carson/Trump” and others say “I’ll be voting Rubio, Cruz, etc”. I have two points:
              -First: Even if Carson wins Iowa, which I consider maybe possible, he won’t win anywhere else. Who won Iowa last time? Or the time before? Did they go on to win it all?
              -Second: In Iowa and everywhere else when those poll respondants get off work and look out the window into the winter weather and then look at their kitchen and their couch and their television that a much larger number of those who said they’ll vote for Trump/Carson et all will say “Eh fish it” than the ones who said they’ll vote for Rubio/Bush/Cruz.Report

            • Kolohe in reply to Stillwater says:

              Another thing to keep in mind vis a vis Iowa & polling is that caucus dynamics are different from primary dynamics in the actual process of voting. I believe that the GOP caucus process is a little more straightforward than the Dem one (and thus, less dependent on an army of highly motivated volunteers at each assembly site), but it’s not quite a simple issue of sampling & statistics to extrapolate opinion poll results to predicted election results.Report