But Brat doesn’t write off his tension with Ryan so easily.

“He’s got multiple hats on, right? He’s head of the conference and the politics, and, so, you’ve got a bunch of moderates and tough seats, and he wants to hold that together,” Brat said. “And then he’s got this policy theory, where he probably agrees with me. And then those, you know, run into each other and collide when the policy conflicts with the politics. And, right now, the politics is winning too much. And, so, I don’t know if he’s all in charge of that or the Senate’s in charge of that. They’re ducking a lot of this, too. But that’s — the Tea Party movement was, kind of, you know, I’m — we’re sick of this. Whatever is doing this, we’re sick of it.”

He shook his head hard when I asked him if there was any chance that the current Obamacare repeal bill gets through the House and Senate and to the president’s desk. But he also said he could see himself voting on a compromise measure, so long as it scraps the regulation that creates the different benefits packages under Obamacare, and which he says violates the core of free market principles. Doing so, however, might not fly under the Senate’s rules.

“I’d be sued for malpractice — having taught economics,” Brat said, “to sign off on a bill that doesn’t have that market logic, and everybody back home knows what I ran on.”