The "Reagan Revolution" that spurred a GOP renaissance in Washington is dead, one of the party's new faces said Friday.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee and one of the Republican "Young Guns," said that the movement sparked by President Reagan's election in 1980 fizzled out with Democrats' wins in the congressional elections of 2006.
"The Reagan Revolution ended in 2006 when Pelosi took the gavel — definitely in 2008," Ryan said in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal. "So a new era is beginning."
Republicans had long credited the resurgence of the party led by Reagan for their victories in the 1994 congressional elections, in which they won control of the House and Senate, as well as for the victory of George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
But Republicans have also sought to recast the party as the GOP of a new generation that has broken from past leaders and learned from its mistakes. That sentiment had in part animated the new crop of "Young Guns" — a trio of Ryan, incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and incoming House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — to promote themselves as new faces of the GOP.
The new Republicans coming to Washington, many of whom hail from a later generation than their predecessors, aren't interested in the kind of "small ball" that dominated political debate in the 1990s, Ryan said.
"No more school uniforms and prescription drugs — it's the big picture," he said. "And that's the kind of healthy conversation we've got to have in this country."