Ned Ryun on the GOP’s Obamacare Fumble and the 2018 Midterms

What in the world is happening with the Obamacare repeal? Ned Ryun, president and CEO of American Majority, joined American Greatness Publisher Chris Buskirk to discuss the failures so far of the majority-Republican Congress and what new leadership might look like.

Chris Buskirk: This is the Seth and Chris show. I am Chris Buskirk. Seth is out today, but right now we have a special guest joining us early in this show, and I’ll get right to it. His name is Ned Ryan. He has been a guest on this show before. He is the founder, president and CEO of American Majority. Ned, welcome to the show.

Ned Ryun: Chris, great to be back with you.

Buskirk: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for coming on. Ned, last time you were on, you described a little bit about what American Majority does maybe for people who didn’t hear it. Can you just give us a quick version of what your mission is?

Ryun: Yeah, I would love to. We’ve been around it’ll be 10 years in January. The whole idea Chris was to go out and identify, and train men, women to run for primarily state and local office. So it’s very much nuts and bolts. How to put together campaign plans, how do you get out a vote plan, communications, social media, fund raising, all the things that we think are essential to actually winning office.

So again, one of my issues with the conservative movement has always been we have great ideas, we have the best ideas, but we have really failed to put a mechanism in place, in which we get implementers of those ideas into office. Again, we focus primarily state and local to build a farm team. Not only at the state and local levels, but also again about 70 percent of Congress comes from state and local office. So we want to feed those pipelines with good men and women, give them the skills to be effective, get them into office, have them be successful in passing good policy, then set themselves up to run for potentially statewide or even congress.

Buskirk: You know, I don’t know if you had heard or not, but there’s actually a Republican majority in both houses of Congress at the moment. I know a little known fact, but I checked on Wikipedia, but apparently it’s true. But they haven’t accomplished a whole lot, and this is a place where this has to be particularly frustrating for you. I mean you focus on training people to go to congress to be, as you say, implementers of the conservative agenda. What do you think is going wrong there?

Ryun: Well first of all, I have not been shy about this on TV, whether it’s been on Fox News or Fox Business. I think this has been an utter fail of leadership. Failure of leadership. I’m actually would hope that we might be able to find a new speaker of the house, and quite frankly a new senate majority leader.

In fact, I even said, Chris, that the eight Republican senators that are up for re-election in 2018, if they don’t already have a primary challenger, should be asked the question “If you win, and if Republicans retain the majority in January of 2019, will you vote not only for a new majority leader, but entirely new leadership team.” If the answer is no, they get a primary opponent because I think I’ve come to the point in which these guys are not on the same page with us. Especially I would say Mitch McConnell is not on the same page with us in being aggressive in saying “We have an opportunity, we have a chance.”

By the way, they’ve been pledging and promising to repeal and replace Obamacare for seven years and have raised tens of millions of dollars off that pledge.

Buskirk: Hundreds of millions. Hundreds.

Ryun: Hundreds of millions. It failed. Then on top of that, we’ve been talking about tax reform, we’ve been kind of all of these things, and guess what they did after accomplishing nothing? They went on a five week break. So I think when they come back in September, I would hope that they understand the fuse is relatively short on them being able to accomplish something. They have to accomplish something. If nothing else, for their own self-preservation.

Mid-terms, historically, are not good for the party that’s in the White House. It’s typical for you to lose house seats. I will say this with the senate. Obviously the map is such benefit to Republicans in 2018, I can actually see them if they could do one or two good things. They might actually be able to pick up a seat or two. But they’ve got to be able to do something and pass the agenda, and quite frankly Trump’s campaign agenda was a winning agenda, it’s a good agenda. Let’s get something done.

Buskirk: We’ve got one of the, probably the object lessons here in Arizona with Jeff Flake as Republican senator. Somebody, I think, who is dramatically out of step with the Republican base. With Arizona in general too. Wrote this book The Conscience of Conservative a couple weeks ago. It was, without a hint of irony by the way.

Ryun: I know.

Buskirk: I’ll quote Brent Bozell on this. “No conscience and no conservative.” We do have a primary challenger here in Arizona in Kelly Ward. Donald Trump was tweeting about her this morning.

Ryun: I saw that.

Buskirk: Are you familiar with Dr. Ward at all?

Ryun: Yeah, I am a little bit. I followed some of her previous races, so I’m familiar with her. At this point, I would say if anybody can actually stand up and talk about conservative values and say, “I’m going to go to D.C. and I will vote for new leadership.” Which is a key thing. I cannot stress this enough, and your listeners will probably get tired of me saying this at some point.

It’s one thing to be elected to Congress to go say you’re going to work on passing a conservative, limited government, free market agenda. It’s another thing though if you go in and vote for leadership that is either opposed to that, or is highly ambivalent about that. So I think we to really stress with people that are running in 2018, we need leadership that reflects the values, and will actually aggressively push a conservative agenda.

If you’re going to vote the same old leadership, then maybe you’re not worthy of support. So I know that Kelly Ward would actually be one of those people that would want to vote for new leadership, and that to me is a huge sign of moving forward. We have to have people that are willing to vote for new leadership.

Buskirk: I like that question though because I think that frames the practicality of the matter very nicely. That is something that is very concrete, and it’s a yes or no question, which a lot of candidates don’t like to answer.

Ryun: And I think the listeners have to understand how important it is to have the right leadership because they decide committee assignments, they decide the legislative agenda, they decide when certain issues, bills are coming to the floor and what those timelines are. Leadership is critical and crucial if you are going to pass an agenda. Again, if you want to pass a conservative agenda, you have to have people that are actually committed to it.

So, watching some of the things that are taking place, I would say that they’ve been a little ambivalent. Again, I made the point of somebody . . . There were no repercussions for Republicans in the senate not repealing Obamacare. I didn’t see anybody removed from committees, I didn’t anybody being chastised in the press, by leadership, and I’ve certainly, and I’ve been in D.C. for almost 20 years now. Chris, I know how this works. I had not heard of any evidence of calls being made by leadership to vary sources of funding to say, “This people have displeased us because we needed this bill passed. You will not give them money.”

So, when I look at the signs that show people are really upset, I see none of those in regards to the failure to repeal Obamacare…

Listen to the rest of the interview.

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