Paul Ryan’s put together his first big legislation as Speaker, and it couldn’t be much bigger: an omnibus appropriations bill accompanied by a big fat tax-cut bill. He’s had to rely on Democratic support to get it all done. Sohow’s he doing with what was supposedly his acid test, his relationship with hard-core conservatives?
It sort of depends on who is asked the question. Members of the House Freedom Caucus — you know, the people who sent John Boehner golfing — told Politico they have all kinds of issues with what Ryan has wrought legislatively, but are happy with him personally.
“In terms of the process, I can tell you I’ve had more meaningful conversations with the speaker and leadership in the last couple of weeks than I think I have in the last couple of years,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who instigated the revolt against Speaker John Boehner that led to Boehner’s resignation this fall. “I would give it an A-plus in terms of trying to reach out to the rank and file.”
That’s mighty nice. But it’s dwarfed by the gulf between assessments of Ryan and his work displayed by Representative Dave Brat, the man responsible for enduring when Eric Cantor didn’t succeed Boehner as Speaker:
“The end product here is just cleaning the barn; it’s a disaster,” Brat said of the spending and tax deal. “We’re breaking our pledge on the budget caps to the American people, we’ve lost fiscal discipline, and we’re throwing it all on the next generation.”
But in the same breath, Brat praised Ryan: “Not only is he saying the right things, he is lining it up to do the right things … and then leadership can’t hijack the budget at the end of the year and throw the kitchen sink, which we just did.”
In other words, Freedom Caucus members are blaming the gigantic budget deal on Ryan’s predecessors, and agreeing to judge him on what he does next year.
So Ryan’s home free with the Right, right? Not necessarily. Check out this headline from the main story on the tax-and-spending deal at Breitbart.com:
PAUL RYAN BETRAYS AMERICA: $1.1 TRILLION, 2,000-PLUS PAGE OMNIBUS BILL FUNDS ’FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICA.’
Yikes. When you look through the text of this article, there’s no reference to the “fundamental transformation of America” quote, but it’s not necessary: Breitbart readers know it’s an allusion to the infamous remark made by Barack Obama late in the 2008 campaign that we were on the brink of said transformation, which like a slip of the veil exposed Obama’s evil Alinskyite plans to destroy capitalism and Christianity, doncha know. And now Paul Ryan has joined the conspiracy! Here’s the sub-headline:
Representative Paul Ryan (R-W)’s first major legislative achievement is a total and complete sellout of the American people masquerading as an appropriations bill.
Not just total, but complete, you see. Guess input from conservatives and a return to “regular order” doesn’t matter to the Breitbartians. And so: The ranks of the enemy grow. What’s a freedom-lover to do?