Masterpiece Theater: Ryan blasts Boehner, Senate for budget deal

Rep. Paul Ryan finally broke his silence about the budget and debt limit deal yesterday, criticizing Speaker Boehner, the Senate, and the White House for the secretive negotiations that led to the agreement.

"I think the process stinks," said Ryan, who is expected to be elected speaker on Thursday.  "This is not the way to do the people's business," he added.


Ryan has promised major changes to the legislative process as speaker in response to complaints from conservatives. They say Boehner's style has been too top-down and crisis-driven, largely ignoring the input of committees and rank-and-file members.

Ryan has been an ally of Boehner's throughout the Ohio Republican's five years as speaker. Ryan's remarks criticizing how the deal came to fruition represent his starkest public split with the man he's set to replace as Republican leader.

Boehner said he wasn't a fan of the process himself. "Totally agree, totally agree," the outgoing speaker said in response to Ryan's criticism.

Parroting Ryan's own terminology, Boehner added, "It stinks. This is not the way to run a railroad."

At the same time, Boehner defended the substance of the deal, which would stave off the dual threat of a debt default and a government shutdown for more than a year. The 144-page agreement would boost spending by $80 billion over two years — split between defense and non-defense programs — and save hundreds of billions of dollars through changes to entitlement programs, including Social Security disability insurance.

The measure would also forestall a large increase in Medicare premiums for some beneficiaries that was set to kick in in January.

I would be shocked if Boehner and Ryan hadn't staged this little "revolt" by Ryan in order to distance himself from the outrage being expressed by conservatives over the speaker's capitulation to President Obama.  In this scenario, Ryan gets to have his doughnut and eat it, too.  He is allowed to appear to be sympathetic to the anger by conservatives while reaping the benefits of having a major, contentious issue decided before he becomes speaker.

This is pretty cynical, even for a heavyweight politician.  I doubt that too many people are falling for it, although some may alllow themselves to ignore the gambit in order to move smoothly into the Ryan speakership.

Not the best indication that Paul Ryan will be dealing honestly with conservatives in the future.