Remember when the gentleman from Wisconsin eviscerated Obamacare to President Obama’s glowering face, in a full room at the 2010 bipartisan health care summit?
So does Washington Free Beacon editor Matthew Continetti, whose Friday column traced Ryan’s path from his authorship in 2008 of the Roadmap for America’s Future, to a jaunt as Mitt Romney’s running mate, to what is looking more and more like the speaker’s chair:
Now Ryan is on track to become, according to National Journal, “the most conservative House speaker in recent history.” But Ryan is more than his voting record. The speaker he reminds me of most is Newt Gingrich. Not personality wise. Leadership wise.
Both men framed the argument for their party long before ascending to the speaker’s chair. And if Ryan, like Gingrich, becomes speaker, we’re not talking about a mere transfer of power. We’re talking about a revolution.
The story begins in 2008. The GOP was approaching a nadir—unpopular, exhausted, in the minority. What did Ryan do? He authored the first version of his budget, the Roadmap for America’s Future. He called for spending and tax cuts, changes to Social Security and Medicare.
He became the unofficial GOP spokesman for free markets and fiscal restraint. No one ordered him to do this. He alone among House Republicans took the initiative, much like his hero Jack Kemp had done in the 1970s.
You might disagree with Ryan’s ideas—Lord knows I have my differences—but you can’t deny his courage to stand in the public arena, his commitment to his program, his readiness to defend it.
But haven’t Republicans already lost with Ryan–say, in the #Bidensmirk debate, and more fatefully in November 2012?
Yes, they lost the election. But no one on the right doubted the capacity of that ticket to lead, or the seriousness of Romney and Ryan’s proposals. And the party didn’t abandon the Ryan plan, didn’t jettison Ryan himself. On the contrary: The acclimation that greeted his decision to run for speaker is evidence of the regard in which he continues to be held by conservatives.
Well, not all conservatives. Some think the House Freedom Caucus caved by throwing its support behind Ryan. But according to Continetti, that doesn’t matter, as we are already “approaching the end of phase one of the Ryan Revolution. Phase two? That’s where it gets interesting.”