Paul Ryan vs. Eric Cantor in the Battle for the Future of the GOP

The Atlantic Wire

On the very same day House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is giving a major speech about the GOP's next steps at the American Enterprise Institute, Politico reports that former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is considering abandoning a 2016 presidential run in favor of consolidating power in the House in areas where Cantor has been influential.

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For a sense of who Cantor is pitching his makeover to, look at the titled of his speech: "Making Life Work." It could be ripped from those endless work-life balance woman articles. "He's going to be talking about bread and butter issues -- from one parent to another," a Cantor aide told CNN. According to an excerpt released by Cantor's office, Cantor will say:

Lately, it has become all too common in our country to hear parents fear whether their children will indeed have it better than they. And for all of us parents, that is a scary thought. Our goal should be to eliminate the doubt gripping our nation’s families, and to restore their hope and confidence in being able to protect tomorrow for their children. 

He will say the party's goal is "to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams." That is straight off of the Obama campaign site: "I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules." Instead of talking about spending, The National Review's Robert Costa notes, he'll talk about education. But as for how Cantor will makeover his party, details are sparse. He won't offer specific proposals, and his aides gave Politico conflicting stories on whether Cantor will follow the speech with a push to pass legislation.

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Ryan's makeover for the GOP seems less warm and fuzzy. All that stuff about appealing to new demographics does not appear to be on his radar. Politico's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei report that Ryan will use the constant attention he'll get as a 2016 maybe-candidate to push for the policy changes he's known for, like privatizing Medicare and cutting many government programs. "He was instrumental in cooking up the GOP’s new debt ceiling strategy and will craft a budget plan that sets the direction for the GOP caucus on virtually every consequential issue," Politico reports. He won't challenge Cantor or House Speaker John Boehner for their jobs; instead, he'll likely "[r]un the Budget Committee until 2014 and then take over the Ways and Means Committee, to do to tax policy what he did for entitlements and spending."

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