On April 11, 2018, Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced his retirement. After a stint as Mitt Romney’s running mate, Ryan replaced John Boehner, R-Ohio, as speaker in 2015 after the latter got forced out for making too much nice with President Obama.
Before President Donald Trump won the presidency against all predictions, Ryan joined the rest of his party in abandoning the wannabe despot and admitted genital fondler upon the release of the Access Hollywood tape. But once Trump had won the presidency, Ryan and the rest of the GOP leadership entered into a Faustian bargain with the president who held all of them by the political base. They’d not probe too deep into his financial entanglements or force him to improve his behavior, and he’d rubber stamp whatever they managed to pass.
Problem is, the actual policies proved to be incredibly unpopular. For example, efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act failed spectacularly last summer. What’s more, the tax reform law went back on Ryan's promise to reduce the deficit by cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy, then wishing on a star that that the cut money would trickle down (it didn’t) and then pay for itself (it won’t).
Ryan was so desperate for good press that he tweeted a story wherein one woman got an extra $1.50 a week. That didn’t play well.
But the legacy that’ll stick to him like super glue will be his submissive relationship with the president. Too many times to count, he’s sat back and let Trump and his cronies run amok. In matters ranging from the verbal assault on the rule of law to Trump’s clear fondness for authoritarian leaders, he’s not done much to actually stop Trump — doing so would still have still been political suicide.
Due to antipathy he and his party have fostered, he’s presided over Democratic wins in parts of the country that went for Trump by wide margins in 2016, and he was most likely going to lose his own seat to Randy Bryce, an iron worker with an eye for sick burns, in this year’s midterm election.
Faced with a tough choice, he chose party over country, then decided to peace out instead of facing the voters over his failings. Hope it was worth it.
Logan Graham is a senior studying media arts with a focus in games and animation at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts on Paul Ryan's tenure as Speaker of the House? Let Logan know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.