Speaker of the House is a thankless job.
Since the election of Donald Trump in November of 2016, there has been no shortage of hate volleyed at GOP politicians at the federal, state, and even local level. A large portion of it is usually directed at President Trump himself due to his Tweeting and endless supply of controversial soundbites from rallies or press conferences. However, another sizable portion of this public odium is directed at a different top ranking Republican — Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.
The interesting part about the malice towards Paul Ryan is that it comes from both sides. The Left and much of the Trump supporting right often combat Ryan but for very different reasons. But how exactly can two completely opposite sides of the political spectrum find no common ground with the Speaker of the House, especially when one group is from the same party? The answer has a lot to do with willingness to compromise and the nature of our politics today.
The left, in their usual respectful and honorable manner, has labeled Ryan anything from misogynist to Nazi. This is not so shocking as it is the treatment given to most high-ranking and outspoken Republicans in the federal government. The difference is the frequency and popularity of hating Paul Ryan on the left that seems unmatched by anyone minus Donald Trump.
The two big points of contention for the left when it comes to Paul Ryan, are his stances on healthcare and abortion. Paul Ryan is unapologetically pro-life and has played a big part in the Republican effort to bring America back to a more pro-life mindset. Ryan has from the start remained fervently opposed to Obamacare, a position that he has articulated perhaps more than any other Congressional Republican. These are just two positions from a litany that has earned Ryan a spot atop the list of most hated GOP officials amongst the left.
One would surmise that this hatred from the left has earned Paul Ryan a favorable spot with many of the Trump backers from the GOP, as they stand firmly against leftist policies on an economic and cultural basis. However, this is not at all the case as many from the hard right have called Ryan “spineless” and even a “cuck.” Though he kept his distance during the primaries, Ryan was quick to rush to Trump’s side when the dust settled and the results of the presidential election were final.
“Ryan has from the start remained fervently opposed to Obamacare, a position that he has articulated perhaps more than any other Congressional Republican.”
Since then, Paul Ryan has faithfully backed Trump policies and assisted in passing numerous bills in the House of Representatives that would have furthered Trump’s agenda, only to have them die in the Senate. He has even been, one could argue, President Trump’s best spokesman for policies such as healthcare and tax reform, as Ryan can often be found on Fox or CNN selling the Trump agenda to the public. All of this has earned Paul Ryan nothing from much of the right since he is quite often the one who receives the blame for the failings of Trump-backed legislation.
That said, how does all of the hate from both sides of the spectrum land on one guy, and said guy is not even the president? Well the simple answer, as is the case in many times of anger and frustration, someone has to take the fall. Many Republican voters are irritated with the lack of movement in Congress to further the Trump agenda and the President’s staunch supporters are looking for anyone to blame but the President. Trump once said that he could go out in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone while not losing an ounce of support — perhaps he is right.
That in mind, the failure of the House healthcare bill in June of 2017 could not have possibly been attributed to Trump calling the bill “mean” and saying he wanted a bill that was “more kind.” This was just one step in a series of many that caused the failure to repeal Obamacare, a failure that some have attributed to poor leadership by Paul Ryan. But just how exactly can Ryan lead the charge on these pieces of legislation with a President who creates roadblocks every step of the way.
Now with tax reform next on the docket of campaign promises to fulfill, Paul Ryan is back on the offensive, selling the bill to the House, the Senate, and to the public. If this bill should fail, it is certain we will once again see many of the hard right Trump-backers calling for the ousting of Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House. These conservatives should take a step back and realize that if they were to do that, we could possibly lose the best spokesman we have.
Follow this author on Twitter: @KFairchild63