Paul Ryan sells out conservatives with healthcare surrender
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When Mitt Romney selected Congressman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year MORE as his running mate, people cheered. He was young, attractive, idealistic, and — doggone it! — he did P90x. Images of him lifting weights bounced across the internet. Surely this is what the GOP needed, they said. New blood. Youth. Strength.

The fact that his losing bid against Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration Trump’s first year in office was the year of the woman MORE and Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration Trump thinks he could easily beat Sanders in 2020 match-up: report Biden marks MLK Day: Americans are 'living through a battle for the soul of this nation' MORE was the high mark of his career says a great deal about his legacy. His lack of true leadership has grown more and more evident. During the last week, Speaker Ryan's stature managed to shrink in regard to Congress, and certainly in the eyes of conservatives all across America. How far can he shrink before being deposed from the Speakership?

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Only time will tell, but he was doomed from the start. Following in the footsteps of John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE, he’s a big government Republican. He and many others in Congress could have stopped ObamaCare before it started, by using the inherent power of the purse held by the House of Representatives. He was never willing to do that, nor were any other members of the so-called "leadership." He’d proven his insider, status quo stripes long before the fight over this latest fake repeal bill.  

 

Too bad for Ryan, this is the era of the outsider; he’s the quintessential "insider." He's been on Capitol Hill almost continually since he graduated from college. He's been in the House since 1998. Much like Rep. Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorEric Cantor: Moore ‘deserves to lose’ If we want to make immigration great again, let's make it bipartisan Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE before him, Ryan seems to have lost touch with a base that has grown restless with the status quo.  

“We the people” are in a revolutionary mood and he’s definitely not revolutionary leadership. What Ryan did with healthcare last week was the most flaccid embarrassment to the Republican Party in recent memory. Instead of the repeal he so often promised during the preceding years — and up through the election — he delivered a heaping pile of impotence, widely angering the base, and putting his Speakership in jeopardy.  

These words were the nails in his coffin: "ObamaCare is the law of the land," he said. "It’s going to remain the law of the land."

Where does it all go from here? It really depends on whether the Speaker gets the message and gets on board with the revolution. The Freedom Caucus grew in strength during the latest debacle, and the Speaker shrank. How far he can shrink before being deposed depends on who’s willing to step up and challenge him.

Here’s an example of what revolutionary leadership looks like.  An Alabama congressman named Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Kermit the Frog, Ellen Degeneres among write-ins in Alabama special election Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks reveals he has prostate cancer MORE filed a two page bill in the U.S. House of Representatives with a one sentence demand to repeal ObamaCare:

"Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.”

Congressman Brooks has hair the color of snow and I’ve never seen photos of him floating around the internet flexing his muscles. But this one sentence is more powerful than anything Speaker Ryan has managed to offer in his entire career.

Mark Meckler is the president of Citizens for Self-Governance, founder of the Convention of States Project, and a leading constitutional grassroots activist.


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