Via Breitbart. We’re at a delicate moment right now within the commentariat where sounding any critical note about Ryan is proof that you’re a wingnut who wants the House to burn rather than govern. So here’s proof that my RINO credentials are still in good order: I’ve always liked Ryan personally (who doesn’t?) and I admire him for having tried — and seemingly failed, alas — to raise public alarm about the crisis in federal entitlements. It’s no small thing either that the guy’s managed to earn the goodwill of people on both sides of the centrist/tea party divide within the House GOP caucus. How many other Republicans these days can say that? That’s 80 percent of the argument for why he’s the only man fit to be Speaker these days.
But his record is what it is. And his willingness to work with Luis Gutierrez, the most shameless, unapologetic amnesty shill in Congress, a man who once told a reporter that his only loyalty is to “the immigrant community,” is … not optimal. If you’re worried about the next Speaker being more willing to deal with the left on immigration than Boehner was, Ryan — who supported Marco Rubio after the Gang of Eight was announced in 2013 and who once co-sponsored a comprehensive immigration reform bill co-written by Gutierrez in 2005 — gives you plenty of reason to worry. In fact, Ryan allegedly met with House conservatives two years ago, when the Gang of Eight bill was still circulating, and tried to persuade them that comprehensive immigration reform would be good for America.
He’s a lot like his friend from Wisconsin, Scott Walker, on this issue, in other words. Walker was a comprehensivist who tacked hard right on immigration after he jumped into a race for a big national office. Would Ryan, under intense pressure to please the conservative members of his caucus as Speaker, follow suit? Gutierrez apparently doesn’t think so:
Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate and critic of the Freedom Caucus, said more needs to change than just the man or woman in the chair…
“We must assemble bipartisan coalitions to pass any meaningful legislation,” Dent added. “That’s the way this place has been operating. We have to accept that reality and move forward.”…
Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez on MSNBC called Ryan one of the smartest men in the GOP.
“He would be good for the country,” Gutierrez said. “He would be good for the Republican Party. Paul Ryan is the kind of individual that would work with people on the other side of the aisle and that’s what we need.'”
He and I don’t see eye to eye on any issue, Ryan once said of Gutierrez, except this one. Which raises the question of why Gutierrez, knowing that he’s toxic to border hawks and conservatives because of his immigration stances, would give Ryan the green light in a public forum. One theory is that he’s doing a friend a favor: He knows Ryan doesn’t want to be Speaker and he also knows that this little endorsement will help stoke resistance to the idea on the right, blocking Ryan’s path. That’s some favor in this case, though. If Ryan were Speaker, Gutierrez would have a direct pipeline to the most powerful man in the House on his pet issue. Besides, Gutierrez isn’t above reverse psychology when it comes to protecting his pro-amnesty Republican friends. Remember when he went to Eric Cantor’s district during his primary battle with Dave Brat last year and held a rally condemning Cantor and the House GOP for being so hard on illegals? Cantor was another guy whom Gutierrez had worked with on immigration reform. Realistically, there was no way he wanted to see Cantor upended. He likely held the rally because he knew that the spectacle of him denouncing Cantor as a border hawk would help Cantor with Republican primary voters who thought he was too soft on immigration. Gutierrez could have done the same thing here with Ryan, i.e. “He used to be reasonable but Paul’s succumbed to the same restrictionist attitudes that the rest of those conservatives have.” That would have helped Ryan with his righty critics. But he didn’t. Why not?
One thing to look out for as Ryan weighs what to do is the possibility that he’ll agree to serve only for a set term — say, until the next election. I think Ryan would hate the idea of being Speaker indefinitely, but if you sweetened the pot for him by giving him a freer hand to make deals with Obama on big-ticket items like immigration — and entitlement reform? — that might appeal to him. If he and Obama were both in a position where they were eyeing an exit from Washington in 2017, both might be willing to deal with an eye to their legacies, with Ryan bringing along (some) reluctant conservatives and Obama bringing along (some) reluctant liberals on “grand bargains.” If you’re worried about a bad deal on amnesty, that’s what I’d worry about. Exit question: The CNN article quoted above mentions that Mitt Romney is also urging Ryan to run for Speaker. Ever think you’d see Luis Gutierrez and Mr. “Self-Deportation” endorsing the same guy?