As the House of Representatives descends into chaos, a nation turns its lonely eyes to Paul Ryan. He is, as a friend put it, our Obi-Wan Kenobi — the last, best hope.
OK, that’s a bit much. But it does seem like he’s the only person with the gravitas and support to lead this factious bunch. And arguably, the thing that makes Ryan most qualified is the fact that he didn’t want the job.
Consider what might have happened had Ryan aggressively campaigned for the post. Instead of the savior, he might have become the RINO establishment candidate to be taken down.
It’s not like there isn’t plenty of fodder. Just two years ago, conservatives were upset over Ryan’s budget deal. (Is this the guy we want negotiating a debt ceiling or continuing resolution with Obama?) And here’s something I wrote bout Ryan way back in 2010:
Though he talks like Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, some of Ryan’s most high-profile votes seem closer to Keynes than to Adam Smith. For example, in the span of about a year, Ryan committed fiscal conservative apostasy on three high-profile votes: The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP (whereby the government purchased assets and equity from financial institutions), the auto-industry bailout (which essentially implied he agrees car companies — especially the ones with an auto plant in his district — are too big to fail), and for a confiscatory tax on CEO bonuses (which essentially says the government has the right to take away private property — if it doesn’t like you).
It’s good to be drafted into a promotion. The fact that Ryan never campaigned for the job might ironically allow him to obtain it. But it’s probably not even up to him. The future of the House GOP might come down to what Janna Ryan and the Ryan kids decide. Their votes are probably the most important.
Regardless, it’s understandable why Ryan wouldn’t want the gig — which basically amounts to the thankless job of cajoling and babysitting. Ultimately, Paul Ryan will have to decide which group of kids needs a daddy more.
Of course, sometimes children and followers rebel — even against their most benevolent guardians.
And, in this regard, maybe Star Wars wasn’t the only appropriate pop culture analogy. I like what a Democratic aide told TNR’s Suzy Khimm:
“The only good option is Ryan and he is too smart to take the job.” He likened the drama to Ned Stark’s doomed fate as the hand of the King on Game of Thrones. Stark doesn’t want to take the job at first, “because that guy always gets his head chopped off,” the aide said. “They persuade him to take the job, and guess what? He gets his head chopped off.”
No good deed goes unpunished.