The wingnuts are after Paul Ryan's scalp: "The man's a menace"

He's being touted as the only potential speaker to save the GOP from itself, but the base doesn't want Paul Ryan

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published October 9, 2015 5:58PM (EDT)

  (J. Scott Applewhite)
(J. Scott Applewhite)

With reports that both John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy are begging Rep. Paul Ryan to run for House Speaker and the editors at NRO calling on him to fall on his sword for the good of the party, Ryan will have to look past the fawning to see the trap the GOP establishment is laying for him.

While calls for Ryan to jump into the speaker's race may be mounting, they are hardly deep enough to be emanating from the right-wing base, which seems to be working up its machine to lay claim to its third "establishment" victim in two weeks.

The Federalist is encouraging its readers to "relax" following news of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's sudden withdrawal from the race to replace John Boehner as speaker, arguing that "this is exactly how Congress should work." David Harsanyi contends that "when it comes to the House, 'chaos' can be preferable to lockstepping."

Erick Erickson calls Ryan a "dangerous choice for conservatives," decrying a "cult of personality" that shrouds his centrist actions to give him the veneer of conservative credentials:

Paul Ryan has been the brains behind most of the fiscal deals John Boehner has cut with Barack Obama. Then there are his votes.

While in Congress, he voted for No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug Benefit, TARP, caps on CEO pay, the AIG bill, the GM bailout, the debt ceiling, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, Paul Ryan is one of less than a dozen Republican congressmen to have voted for every bailout to come before Congress.

Paul Ryan is a creature of Washington. He worked on Capitol Hill, worked in a think tank, then went back as a congressman. He speaks Washingtonese with the best of them.

“A vote for Paul Ryan is a vote for Gang of Eight style amnesty that includes massive increases in legal immigration and replacing American workers with foreign-born workers. A vote for Paul Ryan is a vote to continue Obama’s transformation of America," the anti-immigration group NumbersUSA told Brietbart News following news that Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a leading champion of immigration reform, endorsed Ryan for speaker.

Daniel Horowitz writes at the Conservative Review that "Paul Ryan is the absolute worst choice for speaker," arguing that "there is nobody in modern politics whose record and true priorities are more divorced from their rhetoric and public perception."

Conservative Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, a member of the House Freedom Caucus that deprived McCarthy the 217 Republican votes necessary to secure the speakership when it endorsed Florida Rep. Daniel Webster for speaker, reiterated his support for the conservative challenger today along with the rest of the caucus.

A post arguing against a Paul speakership at the conservative Powerline blog was retweeted by right-wing radio host Mark Levin:

Other favorites of the right depicted Ryan as an Obama stooge:


By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Conservatives Gop Civil War House Freedom Caucus House Gop Laura Ingraham Paul Ryan Right-wing Extremism