“It was all a game, or a way of making a living,” said Joe Sobran about the Conservative Movement. And what it a living it is. Paul Ryan is cashing out and will not run for re-election. [US House Speaker Paul Ryan to retire in blow to Republicans, BBC, April 11, 2018] Like his fellow former “young gun” Eric Cantor, who moved on to making millions on Wall Street as an investment banker, Ryan is now poised for a lucrative post-political career. [Ryan Poised to Earn Millions Even If He Sheds ‘Weekend Dad’ Role, by Jeff Green, John McCormick and Bill Allison, Bloomberg, April 12, 2018]
The Speaker of the House seems to think he can hold his position for the remainder of this Congress, but the fact is that he has selfishly abandoned a party terrified of what may be a historic defeat in the upcoming midterm elections, with one Republican incumbent after another trying to duck out. [Loss of Ryan hits hard for House Republicans, by Ben Kamisar, The Hill, April 12, 2018] And all the Republicans running for the exits are getting ready to pin the blame on President Donald Trump.
Even by his own wonkish standard of limiting government spending and preventing the fiscal crisis of soaring entitlement costs, Paul Ryan is a failure. [Paul Ryan’s Missed Opportunities on Spending, by Dan McLaughlin, National Review, April 11, 2018] Indeed, Ryan somehow managed the impressive task of funding the Left’s priorities while not funding those of his president in the latest Omnibus spending bill.
Yet this presupposes Paul Ryan’s job was to achieve political victories. It’s not. It’s like saying “political consultants” Rick Wilson or Ana Navarro have the job of winning elections. In fact, their job is to get money from the gullible and denounce the Republican base on Left-dominated Main Stream Media. They are good at their job—once you understand what it is.
Similarly, Paul Ryan was good at his job. He delivered for his donors with the tax cut and he is now moving on to his reward.
Still, that leaves other Republicans in Congress who are fiercely opposed to the president personally but want to stay in office until they too can arrange their payoffs. Obviously, what they intend to do is to make sure any upcoming political defeat is blamed entirely on President Trump, not on the GOP generally.
Conservative pundit Erick Erickson, a longtime opponent of President Trump, recently claimed a Republican Congressman told him he hates the president, is eager to impeach Trump, and only defends the nominal leader of the GOP publicly because he has to for political reasons [Erick Erickson provides small clue about identity of mystery GOP lawmaker who torched Trump, by Diana Stancy Correll, Washington Examiner, April 11, 2018]. Naturally this Republican lawmaker also blames the supposedly forthcoming “Blue Wave” on President Trump himself.
There are many reasons to question Erickson’s own political judgement, but he does not have the reputation of a liar. And this tale fits exactly with how the Congressional Republican Party is behaving. Thus while publicly supporting President Trump, Congressional Republicans are quietly making sure special counsel Robert Mueller’s unlimited dishing expedition will continue indefinitely [Republicans moving to protect Mueller as President Trump unleashes attacks, Time, April 11, 2018].
President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen was recently raided by the FBI for matters having absolutely nothing to do with “Russian collusion.” It has become unmistakably clear investigators are simply looking for something, anything, they can pin on the Commander-in-Chief [Donald Trump Relied on Michael Cohen to Weather the Storm. Now The President Is On His Own, by Brian Bennett, Time, April 12, 2018].
The endgame is equally clear. The Democrats retake Congress, move to impeach, and Congressional Republicans pretend to be “shocked, shocked” at whatever the unlimited investigation digs up. Vice President Mike Pence takes over (one reason we opposed his selection) and the Republicans try to go back to being the polite losers of the Barack Obama years.
The irony, of course, is that President Trump set himself up for betrayal by adopting Speaker Ryan’s agenda in the critical first days of his administration. In Trump’s book The Art of the Comeback, he wrote: “Some of the people who forgot to lift a finger when I needed them, when I was down, they need my help now, and I’m screwing them against the wall.” But he didn’t do this after the election.
Even though many Republicans, including Paul Ryan, did their best to throw the 2016 contest, President Trump reacted not with vengeance but with mercy. Indeed, in what Steve Bannon called the “original sin” of the administration, the president turned to old GOP hands to fill his staff and push standard GOP policies such as tax cuts, deregulation, and a repeal of Obamacare.
Needless to say, the MSM, has got this completely backwards e.g. Paul Ryan Personifies the Devil’s Bargain the GOP Struck With Trump —no doubt because of the need to galvanize the Left by caricaturing Trump as extreme.
On one level, President Trump’s “original sin”—or “Devils Bargain”—hurt him because his administration has been plagued with leaks from disloyal staffers from Day One. Yet it was on policy grounds that Trump’s gesture of unity failed most spectacularly.
President Trump committed himself to repealing and replacing Obamacare only to find that, after years of campaigning against it, the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party didn’t have a plan of what they wanted to replace Obamacare with. This failure is now looming over the midterms, as health care is consistently identified as the top issue for most voters. Traditional conservatives are furious Obamacare was not repealed while swing voters will blame the incumbent party for rising premiums [Could Health Care Come Back to Hurt GOP in Midterms, by Caitlin Huey Burns, RealClearPolitics, March 30, 2018].
Republican voters specifically identify immigration as the most important issue in midterm elections [Republican voters: Immigration most important issue in midterm elections, by John Binder, Breitbart, March 21, 2018]. Indeed, Paul Ryan’s departure is being mourned by the Open Borders lobby [Amnesty Advocates Mourn Ryan’s Exit, by Neil Munro, Breitbart, April 11, 2018]. With Ryan out, the chattering classes are also denouncing Trump’s GOP, which is described by Chuck Todd and others as the “opposite” of Ryan’s GOP on immigration [With Paul Ryan’s exist, Trump’s hold on the GOP is now complete, by Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann, NBC, April 12, 2018]
Yet the post-election “Trump Effect” appears to be over—illegal immigration is rebounding and American workers are once again being displaced by foreigners. As Ann Coulter reminds us every day, there is also no border wall. And, for some unknown reason, President Trump refuses to mention a remittance tax, which would not only fund the wall but make Mexico pay for it. Immigration patriots, in short, are not energized to turn out for Trump.
President Trump is also reportedly wobbling on trade, the other key issue besides immigration that allowed him to win the Rust Belt. Senator Ben Sasse, one of the Republicans who hates President Trump most, is gleefully reporting America may rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership [Ben Sasse: Donald Trump Ready To Rejoin TPP To Help American Farmers, by Charlie Spiering, Breitbart, April 12, 2018]. Why President Trump is siding with Ben Sasse, who didn’t support him during the election, instead of with his voters is mystifying.
President Trump didn’t win as a normal Republican. It’s doubtful a normal Republican could have won in 2016 or, maybe, can ever win again—Ryanism is dead electorally, even if Washington D.C. hasn’t noticed yet. President Trump won because he ran as a National Conservative—on a platform of immigration restriction, a nationalist trade agenda, a restrained foreign policy and populist economic policies.
Trump could have functioned as a kind of Third Party unto himself, working with Democrats on issues like infrastructure and trade and driving wedges into that party’s coalition. Instead, President Trump has trusted the very Republicans whom he spent the whole primary fighting—especially Speaker Ryan. He put his MAGA movement, his personal appeal, and his populist credentials at the service of Ryan’s Chamber of Commerce Republicanism.
The result has been the worst of both worlds: hatred of President Trump energized the Left while GOP Establishment policies did nothing to expand President Trump’s coalition on the Right.
Now, Speaker Ryan is getting out to enjoy his reward, leaving President Trump to take the fall.
Maybe Trump’s luck, always amazing, will continue. In a savage New York Times column entitled Good Riddance, Mr. Speaker [April 11], American Greatness editor Christopher Buskirk writes “For his entire career, Mr. Ryan has been the wunderkind who couldn’t deliver” and concludes, entirely correctly:
Republicans need a leader who is in step with the president and his agenda, one who emphasizes pro-citizen immigration policies, pro-worker economic policies and an America First national security policy that is circumspect about foreign military intervention.
Maybe one will emerge: DARKHORSE: Growing Wave Of Support For Jim Jordan To Take Over As Speaker, by Robert Donachie , Daily Caller, April 12 2017. Ohio’s Jordan has a career grade of A, and a recent grade of A+. Maybe Jordan will allow votes on the patriotic immigration reform bills that Ryan kept bottled up, forcing the Democrats to vote up or down on issues where the polls are massively against them, and injecting immigration into the midterm elections.
Maybe. But the bottom line: Donald Trump has now only a few months to turn things around.
Candidate Trump, populist wrecking ball, could overcome this situation. But it’s uncertain whether President Trump, leader of the Republican Party, still can.