To add to the chaos, new members won't see a shining example of agreement from their leadership. On the fiscal cliff vote, Speaker John Boehner voted yes, while Majority Leader Eric Cantor and GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, who had to gather votes to pass the bill, voted no.
"It's not good. You cannot expect the conference to be united if the leadership is not. They have to make sure they have all their ducks in a row too," Feehery says.
What is not clear, however, is Ryan's future. Getting too far ahead and leading the party in a public way could hurt his ability to run for president in 2016, something Ryan says he has "decided not to decide."
"It helps him to be a leader of the budget committee because that is a good perch to talk about a lot of things. When you are the leaders of the party, you have to make compromises. When you are a leader of the party you have to piss some people off," Feehery says.