Ryan’s Non-Ideological Style

Oct 11 2012 @ 12:30pm

During interviews, Ezra Klein has spent "a good number of hours arguing policy with Ryan, and an even larger number of hours trying to understand his policies." Among Ezra's insights:

Ryan is very good at admitting when you’ve got a point. He doesn’t do this when you’ve got a point that undermines his point, but he does it, and generously, when you’ve got a point that he can agree to.

He’s also very good at admitting when Republicans have strayed from conservative ideals in the past. You can see that in our discussion of the economy, where he suggests he’s eager to fight Republicans over paying for their budget promises, even though he himself was one of those Republicans voting not to pay for anything in the Bush years.

The result is that, while he’s a highly ideological thinker, he doesn’t come off as particularly ideological. He comes off as an affable, decent, conservative guy who holds strong views, but recognizes he doesn’t have all the answers, and his party hasn’t always lived up to its promises.