Paul Ryan Leaves Behind a Party Bereft of Ideas

It’s hard to remember now, but a dozen years ago the conservative world was pulsing with intellectual creativity. Paul Ryan did not kill that vitality single-handedly, but he ranks high among the principal suspects.

Those were days when Newt Gingrich wanted action on climate change. When Mitt Romney pioneered universal health coverage in Massachusetts in 2006—and Jim DeMint cited that accomplishment when he endorsed Romney for president in 2007. Tim Pawlenty urged Republicans to be the...

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