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Zaid Jilani: Paul Ryan worried about culture war distracting from issues 'that really concern him'

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The Hill
The Hill

Journalist Zaid Jilani on Tuesday said that former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in telling conservatives last week to not become too focused on culture wars showed his fear of such battles crowding "out the issues that really concern him.”

Ryan in a speech last Thursday, delivered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, cautioned GOP members “not to get caught up in every little cultural battle,” adding, "our party must be defined by more than a tussle over the latest grievance or perceived slight.”

Jilani in an interview on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” said that Ryan, who after leaving office started the policy group the American Idea Foundation, likely sees that Republicans in public office are “not mobilizing in large numbers against the welfare state, against social spending,” and other issues.

“It doesn’t mean that they’re not concerned about it, but it’s not really the hot button issue,” Jilani said. “I think that would threaten someone like Ryan, because Ryan would prefer that we were talking about Medicare being unsustainable, social security needing some form of private accounts or privatization,” the journalist added.

Jilani went on to say, “I think in many ways, the reason that he doesn’t want there to be culture wars is not necessarily just because the culture war can be very annoying at times to people on both sides, but because it crowds out the issues that really concern him and I think that’s part of why he gave this speech.”

Watch part of Jilani’s interview above.

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