Paul Ryan Bows Out
On 11 April 2018, Paul Ryan, 54th Speaker of the US House of Representatives, announced that he would not run for reelection in November. Ryan is not resigning, and will serve out his full term, but his political power and especially his fundraising ability, will be substantially eroded. Ryan stated as his predominant motive for the move that he wanted to spend more time with his family, particularly his three teen-aged children.
Unlike most politicians who cite family concerns for retirement, this rings somewhat true for Ryan, who has previously expressed discontent with the ways which his Washington tenure limits his family time. He lost his own father at age 16 in a particularly traumatic manner (he found him dead of a heart attack in bed), so there is strong personal motivation for the move in that experience. However, it is surely only part of the story, and the anticipated loss of GOP control over the House, the resultant demotion of authority, and the day-to-day stress of dealing with Donald Trump likely played a role in the decision as well. If Ryan intends to return to statewide or national politics after his children have flown the nest, it’s vital that he disassociates himself from what is happening in Washington as soon as possible.
Ryan has been in the House since 1999, serving as the representative for Wisconsin’s first district. What has sometimes been termed a “rock-ribbed Republican” (a dying breed), his focus (until becoming Speaker) was always fiscal responsibility, cutting entitlements and welfare programs, and reducing taxes. Ryan was previously chair of the House Budget Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, also running as VP on the GOP ticket with Mitt Romney in 2012.
Ryan’s decision would have been shocking in an earlier, pre-Trump era, but the country and its capital has become pretty much shock-proof since Trump moved into the White House. Major developments fly by at a pace too fast to take note of them, and Ryan’s departure has created barely a ripple in the unfolding chaos, though the implications for the Republican Party are dire.
Born 29 January 1970 at 2:37 AM CST in Janesville, Wisconsin (Rodden Rating AA), Ryan sports a 0 Sagittarius Ascendant, exactly conjoined by Neptune and asteroid Memoria, with asteroid Hygeia exactly on the 0 Gemini Descendant. This reads as true for Ryan, noted for his prodigious command of the facts at a moment’s recall (Memoria)—he is sometimes referred to as “the human Google”—and his boy-next-door, squeaky-clean persona (Hygiea, named for the Greek goddess of cleanliness and hygiene). Neptune on the Ascendant can suggest an advanced ability to deceive or misdirect, a falseness of image, and an identity as a zealot or “true believer” in the causes he espouses. This Ryan certainly is, proposing over the years the privatization of Medicare and the block-granting of Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) funds to the states, removing federal guidelines on how these are apportioned. By his proposals, federal grants to the states would be decreased over time, and the funds paid would be limited to set amounts, not based on fluctuating needs of the populace during economic downturns, as in the current system.
This, of course, was the path to fiscal responsibility set out by pre-Speaker Paul Ryan. As Speaker, he just approved and worked for the largest budget in US history, with trillion dollar-plus annual deficits as far as the eye can see. He also supported tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and a massive increase in Defense spending, but thankfully he remains true enough to his roots to continue to promote the disadvantaging of poor people.
Clearly, Ryan’s 9 Aquarius Sun inclines to the reactionary, rather than progressive, side of that bi-focused Sign. Its close conjunction with Venus at 10 Aquarius benefits the notably photogenic Ryan (who at times seems almost angelic in his appearance) and also explains his obsession with financial matters (Venus), which he takes very personally (Sun). Venus with the Sun also signifies a charmer, a smooth talker, persuasive and magnetic, one able to make even the most poisoned pill go down easily.
Also with the Sun are asteroids Icarus at 3 Aquarius, Pallas at 8, Sisyphus at 10 and America at 11 Aquarius. Icarus suggests a risk-taking element to Ryan’s character, someone who plunges ahead with reckless disregard for the consequences of his actions, as in the quest for fiscal solvency whatever the cost to ordinary people. It can also indicate difficulty accepting others’ advice, however wise or worthy. But Pallas denotes advanced strategic abilities, the gift of seeing farther than most, and thus someone able to think and act several moves ahead, scotching the opposition at every turn, perhaps enabling Ryan to turn his risky propositions into realities.
Sisyphus indicates someone who puts his nose to the grindstone and plods along against insuperable odds, working tirelessly toward a goal which may seem unattainable, but in which cause the native is indefatigable. America here may be the most interesting—it implies a true identification with and genuine concern for his country (as well as a love for it, with Venus also next door), but America’s position exactly atop a Black Hole shows an inherent ability to radically transform the nation in ways which make it unrecognizable from what has gone before, perhaps in the twinkling of an eye, with Ryan (in the form of his Sun) as the agent of that change.
That is in fact somewhat how things worked out, as he has stood by largely silent and quiescent as Donald Trump has flouted every convention and dragged the presidency, and potentially the Constitution, through the swamp mud of his administration. As a loyal Republican, Ryan supported Trump’s presidential candidacy after he gained the nomination, though he was less supportive during the primary season, once calling out Trump’s excoriation of a federal judge due to his Mexican heritage, as the “textbook definition of a racist comment.” But in the same breath he still encouraged Republicans to vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton. After the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape dropped in October 2016, Ryan went so far as to hold a conference call with every GOP House member, telling them to do as their conscience urged in whether or not they would continue to support Trump, and he himself cancelled a scheduled campaign event with the wayward candidate.
But once the election was over, Ryan’s spine took a vacation. He has failed to significantly call out any of Trump’s numerous outrageous statements or plans, except to note that his proposed tariffs would be unproductive for American business in the long run. So Ryan retreats from the political arena, not with a bang, but a whimper. His tacit endorsement of Trump’s mania will remain his most enduring legacy.
In close trine to the Sun, and coming to its retrograde station on the day of his birth, is asteroid Nemesis at 8 Libra, itself also exactly conjunct Uranus. This is the signature of the reformer who has a retributive agenda, one set on rectifying past mistakes, with a vengeance. He can visit justice or block progress, interchangeably, but the accent is always on results of prior choices or actions. Interestingly, Ryan’s Nemesis exactly squares Trump’s natal Mercury, so Trump’s controversial Tweets and pronouncements (Mercury) tend to create conflict or problems (square) which promote Ryan’s undoing (Nemesis).
The Sun is also in a T-Square, at its fulcrum with squares to both Jupiter, representing progressivism, at 5 Scorpio, and Saturn, arbiter of conservative principles, at 2 Taurus. As a Saturn-co-ruled native, Ryan inclines to the ringed planet in this celestial battle of wills, but the pull of Jupiter is strong enough to propel him into politics. Natal Saturn is exactly squared a Black Hole at 2 Leo, a combination which often manifests as career advancement via the unexpected absence of a superior. Ryan began his career in politics when the entrenched incumbent Republican Representative chose to vacate his seat in an ultimately unsuccessful senate bid, providing Ryan an unexpected opportunity to run in his district. And of course, Ryan’s elevation to the Speakership was contingent upon an unexpected early retirement by John Boehner and the simultaneous inability, due to a verbal gaffe regarding the Benghazi investigation into Hillary Clinton, of frontrunner for the succession Kevin McCarthy to capitalize on his status. Ryan essentially backed into the job, typical for Saturn/Black Hole natives.
With Saturn is asteroid Troemper at 29 Aries, signifying the future chief executive, also Saturn-ruled. Thus Ryan is inclined to support Trump and see him as a viable authority figure, albeit he has misgivings.
These are reflected in Troemper’s opposition to the natal Moon at 24 Libra. In his gut, Ryan objects to Trumpism, but his head, as exemplified by Mercury at 15 degrees of ultra-conservative Capricorn, tries to lull the hesitancy of his emotions. With asteroid Whitehouse aligned with Mercury from 19 Capricorn, there is another natural intellectual alignment with the contemporary resident of the Oval Office, at least as long as he is (ostensibly) Republican.
The Moon in Libra shows a deliberative emotional mindset, one who weighs options carefully and may prove indecisive or dilatory, but who sees himself ruled by justice and fairness, however that may appear to others. Conjoined by asteroid Eurydike at 20 Libra, this suggests an emotional pull to the past, one who longs for something lost beyond recall, a sentiment common to socially conservative individuals.
Ryan’s gravitation to Washington (he worked there as a congressional aide for six years before winning his first election) is foreshadowed by the placement of asteroid Washingtonia at 15 Virgo, on the 17 Virgo Midheaven. This opposes asteroid Paul at 14 Pisces on the IC, also aligned with Karma at 12 Pisces. On some level, Ryan’s involvement with Washington seems inevitable.
Pluto in the Tenth House at 27 Virgo suggests a desire to remake government, if necessary from the ground up. Its close square to asteroid Ryan at 26 Gemini marks the Speaker as a formative agent in the desired transformation, and the T-Square resulting from the Galactic Center’s inclusion in the pattern at 26 Sagittarius guarantees global attention and notice.
Mars at 3 Aries signifies an aggressive, combative individual, ready to fight for what he espouses, and with asteroid House nearby at 29 Pisces, Ryan has put a great deal of energy (Mars) into his various jobs at the US House of Representatives (House). Of course House is also drawn into the Ryan/Pluto/GC T-Square mentioned above, creating a Grand Cross and connecting Ryan directly to his role as Speaker.
Being elected House Speaker aside, arguably the zenith of Ryan’s career came on August 11, 2012, when Willard “Mitt” Romney announced Paul Ryan as his choice for running-mate. The announcement was made at 9:21 AM EDT in Norfolk, VA with the 24 Gemini MC, highlighting career issues, was closely conjunct Ryan’s natal asteroid Ryan, with transit asteroid Willaert (for “Willard”, the only viable celestial referent for Romney) at 21 Pisces on the 25 Pisces Descendant, defining partnerships. The 25 Virgo Ascendant fell on Ryan’s natal Pluto at 27 Virgo, greatly enhancing his potential personal power; remember that in the nativity, Pluto falls in Ryan’s Tenth House of career, arguing for great personal power in his employment, something he continues to enjoy as Speaker.
Transit asteroid Ryan at 22 Aquarius opposed the transit Sun at 19 Leo, highlighting Ryan in the day’s events, while transit asteroid Paul fell at 0 Aquarius, opposed transit Mercury at 2 Leo, making Ryan the focus of the day’s news. Mercury was also exactly squared Ryan’s natal Saturn at 2 Taurus, bringing news (Mercury) about his career (Saturn). Transit asteroid America at 15 Libra was exactly squared Ryan’s natal Mercury, bringing him to the nation’s attention in the headlines. Transit asteroid Washingtonia at 22 Capricorn was in exact square to transit Mars at 22 Libra, about to form its conjunction with Saturn at 24 Libra, resting exactly atop Ryan’s natal Moon. Mars/Saturn on the Moon isn’t exactly the signature of a happy day, and perhaps Ryan felt the weight of responsibility (Saturn) as he contemplated the presidential (also Saturn) campaign (Mars) to come.
Of course Ryan is also well represented celestially when he announced his retirement. The natal Moon is once again engaged, appropriately when announcing a move. This time the activators are the transit Sun at 21 Aries, TNO Eris at 23 Aries and Uranus at 28 Aries, all in opposition. The Sun brings its focus, Eris suggests Ryan may have been feeling agitated, marginalized or disrespected when he made his decision, and Uranus reflects the suddenness of the announcement, which had been kept secret from all but a few close friends and advisors until Ryan notified his staff that morning.
Transit asteroid Ryan at 18 Virgo combines with Troemper at 19 and both oppose Neptune at 15 Pisces. This sets off the natal MC/IC axis at 17 Virgo/Pisces, defining career and home matters, and pulls in natal Paul at 14 Pisces and Karma at 12, as well as natal Washingtonia at 15. Ryan cresting the Midheaven shows the Speaker at a periodic (this aspect occurs roughly every four years) “turning point” in career matters. Neptune with Paul suggests some degree of disappointment, uncertainty or confusion about the decision, while Ryan with Troemper confirms the President as in the thick of the considerations prompting the announcement. This is further demonstrated by the transiting Whitehouse/Nemesis conjunction at 7 and 11 Aries, squaring Ryan’s Mercury at 15 Capricorn, once again showing the Oval Office as a factor; and Pluto at 21 Capricorn transiting natal Whitehouse at 19 Capricorn, indicating a major transformation coming from that quarter.
Also with Ryan is Sisyphus at 12 Virgo, exactly opposing natal Karma – enough is enough for Ryan, as he incessantly repeats the pattern of dodging Trump statements and actions, trying to move forward an agenda and message that is hopelessly mired in the President’s daily drama. Karma here says that this departure is well timed, a predetermined moment ripe for this action.
So Paul Ryan returns to Janesville, to enjoy his family, lick his Trump-inflicted wounds, and wait for a more favorable political climate. Whether or not there’s a place for a traditional Republican in the post-Trump world remains to be seen.