Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has come out of self-imposed political exile to whip “artistic” lawmakers.
The former Wisconsin lawmaker did not name names, but insisted they were from “both parties.”
“In the ‘good old days’, like ten years ago, if you really wanted to do well in Congress, if you wanted to succeed, you climbed a meritocracy. The measure of success was politics and persuasion,” Ryan said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.
“You persuade your colleagues, your country, your constituents, ‘This is the right way to go, here’s the solution,'” he told host Rebecca Quick.
“That’s not necessarily what motivates people anymore. There are a lot of artists in Congress from both parties,” he added.
Ryan said that under the “old meritocracy” it took 10 to 20 years to build a reputation as a “good policymaker”. Now, he quipped, you can now “skip this whole process, be a really good artist, have an amazing, digital presence, and forget about policy-making and build a brand for yourself.”
But building a “brand” of entertainment is bad for bipartisanship, Ryan warned.
“If you’re going to entertain, if you’re going to try to show that you’re better than everyone else within your own ecosystem,” it’s harder to compromise and forge policy, he noted. It “divides us,” Ryan added.
Ryan, who served as president from 2015 to 2019, retired from the political fray after 20 years in office and opted out of running for office in 2018, following uncomfortable confrontations with the then president. , Donald Trump.
A reluctant Ryan finally endorsed Trump when he was running for president. But he withdrew his support a month before the 2016 election after the Access Hollywood tape came out with Trump bragging that he liked to “grab” women “by the pussy”. Predictably, Trump called Ryan disloyal and accused him of deliberately undermining his campaign.
Ryan said in an interview last year that it was “really clear” that Trump lost the election and that the election was in no way rigged.
The former lawmaker told Quick he had been friends with President Joe Biden “for years,” but complained that Biden “gave the left the keys.”