Coming into his second week as Speaker of the House, it’s too early to compare Paul Ryan’s leadership style with those of previous Speakers. Many conservatives, however, are hoping Ryan will be a “unifying force”, as former speaker John Boehner suggested, for the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Others in his party have rebuffed this hope, and instead criticized the now Speaker for being too far to the left.
Is there truth to this criticism? According to our analysis, the answer is a definitive “no”. In fact, as a 7C on the Crowdpac spectrum, Ryan is actually more conservative than any previous Speaker of the House in the past 25 years. Namely former Republican speakers Dennis Hastert, Newt Gingrich, and John Boehner who clock in at 4.3C, 5.7C, and 5.9C respectively.
Accusations of Ryan’s liberalism have arisen in part from his support for immigration reform and past budget deals, including the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2013 which he crafted with democratic Senator Patty Murray. Despite all this, our numbers show that that House Republicans should sleep well, if not very well, at night as data points to a true conservative holding the Speakership.