Ryan is still struggling with the same stubborn political dynamic that torpedoed Boehner’s career. On big issues, if Ryan gives into the Freedom Caucus, he alienates more moderate members of his party and loses any ability to work with Democrats. If he tries to cut a deal with Democrats and his own moderates, the Freedom Caucus goes ballistic, attacking him in tandem with its allies in right-wing media and conservative outside groups.
It’s a lose-lose proposition.
Having a Republican in the White House was supposed to finally tame the group. It was easy to blow up deals Republicans were attempting to cut with Barack Obama; Donald Trump, the thinking went, would never tolerate it. The health-care debate showed how wrong that was…
Things won’t get any easier for Ryan. He will now have to find a way to deliver on Trump’s border wall, which Democrats have vowed to block. The possibility of a government shutdown looms in late April and again in October unless Republicans can figure out how to keep funding going. The debt ceiling has to be increased this summer, always a tough vote for GOP lawmakers. An expensive infrastructure package that conservatives hate will require Democratic buy-in.