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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Of course — you might say — Ryan is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he’d have to be a part of any serious deal.

True. This is why many of the Paul Ryan fan club took a break from watching the director’s cut of Atlas Shrugged II to say Ryan should resign his House seat if Romney lost. Thus he could avoid tough votes—like the one that’s going to be required if the Democrats and Republicans come to a deal to avoid all the cuts and tax breaks expiring.

Now instead of just having to take tough votes, he’s going to have to sell his fellow Republicans on them.

I’m still shocked the stock market didn’t tank when Boehner named Ryan. If they can’t get a private equity guy in the White House, a negotiated “austerity bomb” is second on their Christmas list.

But since Boehner named Ryan, Politico’s Ben White declared that the “fiscal cliff is already over” and the markets rallied:

Nearly every signal from Republicans suggests they understand they have lost the war over taxes going up on the wealthiest Americans and are just trying to figure out how to get the least objectionable deal that includes real spending cuts and a trigger for tax and entitlement reform.

Nearly every signal? So what this means is that Paul Ryan is going to agree to a deal that levies temporary tax rate increases on the rich in exchange for tax reform in the near future. This means that a majority of Republicans—it will have to be a majority or Boehner won’t bring it to a vote—will vote for a temporary tax increase on the mere promise of reform, risking a career-ending primary challenge from Grover Norquist or the Club for Growth.

Don’t count on it—and that’s not a bad thing.

Paul Ryan represents the completely self-assured Republican mentality that comes with an inability to process his own failings or defeats. He honestly thinks he lost only because “urban” people who apparently have no opinions about policy went to the polls. He can’t agree to raising tax rates for any period of time—and the president cannot agree to anything less.

Of course, I’ve been wrong about Paul Ryan before. I said Mitt Romney wouldn’t pick him as his running mate. He did. I said he’d be worse than Sarah Palin. That’s debatable—but at least Palin won her home state in 2008. And I said that Ryan’s disgrace would make the GOP more amenable to a balanced deal. I don’t see that happening — unless we go over the “cliff.”

What I do know is that Romney wouldn’t have done any worse with Ohio senator Rob Portman on his ticket. Sure Portman has tight Bush connections, but is he any worse than Bush/Cheney rubber-stamp Ryan? Certainly it would have made Ohio even closer and it could have preserved Paul Ryan’s golden-boy status.

Now Ryan is damaged goods, whether he knows it or not.

The only question now is if Speaker Boehner sent him into the fray to take a fall or to blow the damned thing up. Ben White is betting on the former. I’m obviously no Nate Silver, but I’ll take the latter.

Either way, it’s a win for Boehner and another loss for Ryan.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

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