“What I realize is, if I am here for one more term, my kids will only have ever known me as a weekend dad,” Ryan said. “I just can’t let that happen.” — Paul Ryan

Our acquaintances on the Left are not the only ones exposing their bilious natures today at the retirement of Paul Ryan from public life. Too many of my fellow conservatives are bidding good riddance to what they call a RINO — a Republican in name only. Most of whom never bothered to run for elective office or made much of a difference if they did.

Try herding cats in a 435-member legislative body. Did you enact generational tax reform that will boost America’s worldwide competitiveness and fatten Everyman’s paycheck at the same time? So Paul Ryan did not want The Wall, America’s version of the Maginot Line. Good! Sending the National Guard to the border makes ever so much more sense!

Politics, my friends and acquaintances (for you ARE …) is the art of the possible. Democracies are messy and frustrating. You may pray for Mussolini but get Stalin, instead. To paraphrase Joseph Welch, is there room for decency in American politics any more?

‘Generous in spirit’

Your Squire is stretching the limits of Fair Usage by quoting at length from Karl Rove’s column in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Ryan will leave Congress with the respect of virtually every member of his caucus, to say nothing of Democrats who can’t help but like him despite their policy differences.

No one else could have matched his performance at keeping House Republicans moving in a constructive direction over the last three years. That he did so while also deftly managing relations with this White House — not known for its maturity or predictability — is all the more impressive.

Mr. Ryan’s departure from the House will be a loss for the country, too. Like his mentor, Jack Kemp, Mr. Ryan is optimistic, generous in spirit, committed to outreach, and animated by ideas. He is willing to work across party lines, as in the 2013 budget deal. Throughout his public life, he has shown integrity, civility and decency — qualities much too rare in today’s coarse and ugly political culture.

He was made aware at an early age of life’s fragility when he discovered his father dead of a heart attack. His Catholic faith has helped shape his commitments, and anyone who knows Mr. Ryan is aware of his devotion to his wife and three teenage children.

There are exciting new chapters yet to be written for this extraordinary 48-year-old, perhaps in business, where his strong leadership and keen mind can be put to work. …

As we drove through small towns in southeast Wisconsin, our conversation was interrupted by irreverent calls on his pickup’s speakerphone from his brothers about a family dinner the next day. When he dropped me off that afternoon, I thought: This is one bright, decent and well-grounded human being. If only there more like him in politics.

“Generous in spirit.” I can think, off hand, of two people in public life to whom that applies: Tommy Thompson and the late Lyman Anderson. No haters, those two.

He searched for elusive solutions

Jim Geraghty writes in National Review:

The guy who liberals depicted throwing granny off the cliff . . . was also the kind of man who goes into drug treatment centers, touches the scars from the “track marks” of heroin addicts, and prays with and for them. He was portrayed as some sort of heartless Ayn Rand acolyte when he emphasized how conservatives needed to find solutions for poverty. He was civil, well-informed, polite, and firm, the opposite of a table-pounding, demagogic extremist, and that probably just aggravated his critics on the Left even more.

Cook Political Report: Ryan’s retirement shifts Wisconsin’s 1st CD from the Solid Republican column to the Lean Republican, with the potential for the race to become even more competitive.

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Paul Ryan will be back, maybe in 2024 at the head of the national ticket.

David Blaska is a former Thompson Administration official, a Madison conservative, and the Lord of Stately Blaska Manor. This article appears courtesy of David Blaska and was previously published at Blaska’s blog.