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New House speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t expect the conservative base to give him much of a grace period before it starts demanding results.
“About 35 minutes,” Ryan told Fox News Sunday this morning, when asked how long he thought his “honeymoon” would last. The estimate came in the midst of a discussion about how he might avoid becoming another “one of the hated” GOP leaders who have been a target of grassroots rage in recent years. He argued that the key to changing that dynamic would be a diffused legislative process that produces bills capable of uniting House Republicans and exciting conservatives.
“I don’t think leadership should be trying to, you know, covet power and write legislation,” he said. “I think I want to have a more participatory process, which is really what the founders envisioned the House to look like. And that is something that so many of us, myself included, have been concerned about the way this place has been run.”
Ryan had been answering that question implicitly throughout the interview, resulting in a more pointed critique of former Speaker John Boehner’s tenure than he had previously articulated in public.
“We’ve been too timid on policy, we’ve been too timid on vision,” he said. “We fight over tactics because we don’t have a vision. We have to have a vision and offer an alternative to this country so that they can see that if we get a chance to lead, if we get the presidency, and if we keep Congress, this is what it will look like. This is how we’ll fix the problems that working families are facing. That is what we have not done, that’s what we need to do, and that is in my opinion how we unify.”