Paul Ryan and MacIver: Best Moments

April 13, 2018

By Chris Rochester

On Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he would not seek-re-election to the Congressional seat he’s held for 20 years.

Ryan’s decision, motivated by his desire to spend more time with his family, was a disheartening moment here at MacIver. Ever since we opened shop in 2009, Ryan has lived up to his well-earned reputation for being deeply in touch with his constituents. Fortunately for us, even after becoming a candidate for vice president and, later, rising to the powerful position of Speaker of the House, he has always devoted time to sharing his big, bold ideas for government reform with the folks back home.

As a reminder of his role as the premiere voice of free market conservative principles and his commitment to his district, we’ve put together a playlist of our best video stories featuring Speaker Ryan. Here they are, in order from most recent to his prophetic comments on Obamacare way back in 2009.


Prior to passing the most sweeping overhaul of the federal tax code in a generation, the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act, Speaker Ryan visited Darien, Wis. to talk about why tax reform was so desperately needed. Ryan achieved his goal of passing tax reform in time for the new year.

Ryan also spoke at an event hosted by the MacIver Institute in the summer of 2017. Speaking to a group of free market conservatives in Madison, Ryan explained progress in the House on key conservative priorities like the tax code overhaul and Obamacare repeal. Reforms in Wisconsin are a model for the nation, he said.


Before the election of Donald Trump as president, we sat down with Speaker Ryan in his Janesville office to discuss the runaway bureaucracy created by President Obama and the need to elect a president who would bring fiscal responsibility to the federal government and enact policies that grow the economy.


From day one, Ryan has been tireless in explaining why Obamacare is terrible policy. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in King v. Burwell, the case that determined whether federal tax credits could go to people in Obamacare exchanges run by the federal government. Ryan explained the importance of the case and his plans for the ruinous law in a post-Obama world.


The MacIver Institute hosted Ryan at a luncheon in summer 2014, where he discussed his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.” Ryan highlighted his vision for the country and what needs to be done to move it in the right direction. He also discussed what he thinks the proper role for government is in today’s society.


Ryan spent a lot of time after the 2012 re-election of President Obama warning about the coming debt crisis and talking with constituents back home about the need to fight runaway spending during four more years of Obama. But before that busy post-election summer, Ryan sat down with MacIver at his office in Janesville to talk about how his perspective changed after running for vice president the previous fall.


In the summer before the 2012 presidential election, Ryan sat down with MacIver to talk about the malaise created by Obama’s government-centric economy. He also told us the Obama White House was playing “Chicago Politics” with our 1st Amendment rights in an election year by forcing the Catholic Church to purchase birth control. But the big news story that summer was, of course, the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker. Courage was on the ballot during the recall, Ryan said, so the outcome was important all across America.


This was a busy year for Wisconsin, for Ryan, and for MacIver. After an assault by President Obama, Ryan explained why conservative policies like the ones he laid out in his “Path to Prosperity” budget plan trumped progressive platitudes. He also traveled his district drawing a clear contrast with progressives on Medicare and weighed in on the Act 10 protests and the 14 Democrat State Senators who fled to Illinois.

As one of the nation’s foremost advocates for conservatism, rumors were swirling that Ryan might be considering a run for president in 2012. But in his first on-camera interview since announcing in August 2011 that he would not run for president, Paul Ryan sat down with the MacIver Institute to discuss what went into his decision making process and what his political future may hold.


In MacIver’s first on-camera interview with Ryan in 2009, he had some hauntingly prophetic words about Obamacare, five months before the newly elected president signed the boondoggle-to-be into law. “I believe this bill is designed to incrementally, in a handful of years, have the government become essentially the single payer of healthcare.”

Eight years later, as Speaker of the House, Ryan would lead his caucus to passing a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. That bill failed to pass the Senate, but the Ryan-led Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did strip the law’s individual mandate, while the Trump administration worked behind the scenes to dismantle the law and thwart progressive plans to take complete control of the nation’s healthcare system.

Progressives, meanwhile, are trying to shift the blame for Obamacare’s failure onto Trump – all the while proposing expanded, Bernie Sanders-style schemes for socialized medicine. Just like Ryan predicted way back in 2009.

We are sure we haven’t heard the last of Paul Ryan. There’s still a lot of work to do to advance free market conservative policies and stop big-government progressive schemes. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors, whatever they may be, and hope he enjoys some well-earned time with his family.