Greg Valliere, the Chief Political Strategist of Potomac Research, has made a big call: Paul Ryan is the person of the year.
Ryan spent much of the year flying under the radar. He conducted few interviews in the first six months of 2013, rebuilding his image as a policy wonk.
But in the past couple of weeks, Ryan has come storming back. The budget deal he crafted with Patty Murray received overwhelming, bipartisan support in the House and will likely pass the Senate next week. The deal is small, but is an important milestone for Ryan personally.
As Valliere notes, he has changed “from a smooth-talking ideologue into a skillful and pragmatic legislator who can get things done.” That was never more clear than in the budget deal this past week.
For the past few years, Ryan built up his Tea Party credentials so that even though many House Republicans were not thrilled with the agreement, they voted in favour anyways purely because Ryan had his name on it. His newfound realisation that divided government requires compromise is a major step forward for the Wisconsin legislator who up until recently seemed only interested in pushing his budget without any regard to the political realities of Congress.
For his recent willingness to risk his status as conservative hero, work across the aisle and develop a more pragmatic policy agenda, Valliere believes not just that Ryan is “fast becoming the leader of the Republican Party,” but that he is a “no-brainer” as person of the year.
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