Matt Salmon

Paul Ryan and the fight for the GOP's soul

Paul Ryan and the fight for the GOP's soul

Less than a year ago, after Republicans rolled up big majorities in the 2014 congressional elections, their leaders set out to show the nation that conservatives were up to the challenge of governing.

"The logjam in Washington has been broken," House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared. "We will make it our job to prove the skeptics wrong."

So far, alas, the skeptics have been right. The GOP's big majority in the House became a curse, not a blessing; little of the legislation that Boehner and McConnell sought has passed. Instead, the GOP's zealously conservative Freedom Caucus pushed Boehner out of...