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Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

So Long Paul Ryan, You Won’t Be Missed

He was unusually dishonest, a fraud as a wonk, and a terrible match for the job. Good riddance.

Goodbye to all that.

Goodbye to all that.

Photographer: Astrid Riecken/Getty

Paul Ryan gave a farewell speech to the House of Representatives on Wednesday. He won’t be missed. Ryan was badly cast as speaker of the House from the start, and failed to ever really grow into the job. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

One problem for Ryan was honesty. For me, the core example was his convention speech in 2012 as a vice-presidential candidate. That Ryan acted as an attack dog and exaggerated some facts was no big deal. But what was unusually dishonest was a particular attack on President Barack Obama: “He created a bipartisan debt commission,” Ryan said. “They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.”