To borrow Ms. Vicki’s phrase-ology, Paul Ryan is living rent-free in liberal-progressive-socialist heads. The more Speaker Ryan succeeds the more carpet they chew.
- Charles Pierce of Esquire, a frequent guest at MSNBC, calls Ryan a “zombie-eyed granny starver.”
- Comrade John Nichols resorts to more name calling. Paul Ryan at Christmas is Ebenezer Scrooge. (Why? Tax cuts.) (Seriously.)
- Continuing the content-free attack, aging hippie Joel McNally is “amazed at how successfully [Ryan] has convinced so many fans in the Washington press corps to portray him as a sincere, honestly motivated, conservative choir boy instead of simply another sleazy, unscrupulous, right-wing politician.”
This is what passes for policy analysis in the fever swamps.
So Michael Wolff’s haunting of the Trump White House was hippie Christmas to our acquaintances.
“Fire and Fury is damning for both the Speaker (who fancies himself as something of a policy wonk) and the President,” Comrade Nichols chortles. “Trump’s election would change Ryan from a perceived rival into a faithful, if agonizingly inept, Trump retainer.” Trump’s “toady.”
Paul Ryan, “inept”?
They call me MISTER Speaker
Nichols (who fancies himself something of a political pundit) quotes Wolff:
“Trump saw a chastened Ryan as suddenly and satisfyingly abject, submissive, and useful. Bannon wanted to get rid of the entire Republican establishment; Trump was wholly satisfied that it now seemed to bend to him.”
Pure poppycock! A little history, if you can stand it: During the 2016 campaign, you may recall (it was eons ago) Ryan famously said he was “not there yet” on Trump, even as The Donald was the presumptive nominee. He later refused to defend Trump’s tweets. For their part, Trump-Bannon (at the time, a team) sought to defenestrate Ryan with an odd character named Paul Nehlen in the GOP primary. Trump-Bannon sent in surrogates such as Sarah Palin to southeast Wisconsin. Nehlen got all of 16% of the vote. Sixteen percent!
Bottom line, neither got their first choice. They were stuck with each other. Trump could either work with his Republican Speaker or make Nancy Pelosi a happy woman. Ryan could either work with his Republican President or make John Nichols a happy socialist. You know their choice.
In any event, Trump had not the votes or the wits to replace Ryan as Speaker. And Trump has come to realize he needs Ryan and McConnell more than he needs Bannon, who is not only out of the White House but, as of today, out at Breitbart as well.
More despicable, really, is Nichols’ effort to demean Ryan’s legislative skills. Nichols chooses to quote Wolff (we assume correctly):
As the debate over “repealing and replacing” the ACA advanced, Ryan offered the administration “absolute assurances of his hold on the legislation. It was, he told the president during his several daily calls, a done deal. … As history records, there was no big victory. “Repeal and replace” crashed and burned.
Could we have a little history here, s’il vous plaites? Did we forget? Paul Ryan’s House of Representatives passed Obamacare repeal. Voted for it! Comfortably. It was in the Senate that the effort failed. Paul Ryan delivered. Just as he delivered tax cuts for Christmas. That Scrooge! We should all be so “inept.”
‘Please don’t go’
It frustrates our acquaintances on the Left to no end that southeastern Wisconsin loves Paul Ryan. They’ve only elected him 10 times without fail. When it was briefly bruited that Ryan might retire, his hometown newspaper pleaded, “Please don’t go, Paul.”
Small wonder Ryan should want to leave. He’s endured withering, often unfair criticism from both the left and right not to mention a parade of protesters stalking his home in Janesville. … For many politicians, “spending more time with family” is code to cover up their real reason for leaving. But Ryan has been sincere in his dedication to his family, notably insisting on coming home during weekends as a condition of accepting the speaker job.
The The Beloit Daily News observed, from close range:
Here’s what we know in Rock County: Ryan takes his family obligations seriously and is especially torn as his children age. He didn’t move his family to Washington; he commutes. … It’s that kind of genuineness that always made Ryan a rising star in any setting. …
That’s not to say we think Ryan is always right or we’ve never taken issue with one of his stands. … It is to say we think Ryan is a good person, and heaven knows that’s what America desperately needs in public office.
The Janesville Gazette concluded:
Ryan exhibits a kind of humanity and decency too often missing in politics today. … Through it all, Ryan has refused to debase himself by hurling insults at his critics.
Maybe someday, our acquaintances on the Left (for they ARE our acquaintances) will learn to practice the same civil discourse. A few facts would help.
Platinum subscriber dross: Who calls Paul Ryan a policy wonk? That would be most national writers, including Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, actually.