Ryan Joins Exodus of House Republicans

Paul Ryan’s retirement sends a terrible message to Republican Party actors: that he expects them to lose in November.

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Axios reports that prominent Republicans are fleeing Washington DC.

House speaker Paul Ryan is the latest to depart, announcing on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection in November.

About a dozen committee chairmen are giving up their seats as well.

There are two reasons for the exodus:

  1. The expectation that Democrats will win a majority in the House.
  2. Frustration with President Donald Trump.

Analysis

Jonathan Bernstein argues that Ryan has once again put his own reputation above his party’s.

Worse, he’s sending a message to Republican Party actors that he expects to lose the House majority. “That will encourage donors to keep their wallets in their pockets and depress the energy of activists.”

Josh Barro writes that the only thing worse than losing the majority would be winning a reduced majority in which every ambitious congressman could hold the speaker hostage.

What about the deficit?

Ryan claims to be proud to have achieved tax reform, but he leaves DC having lost (or given up) his battle for a balanced budget.

Yuval Levin argues in National Review that if the numbers — $1-trillion deficits for years to come — were published under a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president, they would be taken by many on the right as a blaring alarm and a strong reason to worry. “We should take them precisely that way now; there is no excuse for doing otherwise.”