Speaker Paul D. Ryan, chairman of the Republican National Convention, recent vice-presidential candidate and the highest elected Republican in the country, has one goal for this year: to form a conservative policy agenda for the Republican presidential nominee to embrace.Paul Ryan recant? Never!
If that nominee is Donald J. Trump, that may be a waste of time.
... On nearly every significant issue, Mr. Trump stands in opposition to Republican orthodoxy and his party’s policy prescriptions -- the very ideas that Mr. Ryan has done more than anyone else to form, refine or promote over the last decade.
If the billionaire New York businessman captures his party’s nomination -- which seemed increasingly possible after a decisive victory in Nevada on Tuesday night — he will become the titular head of the Republican Party, and lawmakers like Mr. Ryan will be expected to fall in line for the balance of the campaign. It is something that many in the party think may be impossible.
... Mr. Ryan’s positions embody the modern institutional Republican Party. He has been a crucial promoter of free trade on Capitol Hill, which Mr. Trump opposes. Mr. Ryan supports taking away money from Planned Parenthood -- a central target of Republicans for years -- while Mr. Trump has said the group provides needed care to women. Eminent domain, the right of the government to seize private property for public use? The concept is despised by Republicans. Mr. Trump, who has used eminent domain to try to demolish an older woman’s home in Atlantic City to build a parking lot, calls it “wonderful.”I'm not sure I see the area of disagreement in that last sentence -- the two positions aren't mutually exclusive. Nor are the positions of Trump and Ryan all that far apart on Planned Parenthood, now that Trump also wants the group defunded. But never mind.
There is more: Mr. Ryan is the architect of his party’s plan to rein in spending on entitlement programs, which Mr. Trump has said is the reason the party lost the White House in 2012, name-checking Mr. Ryan in his swipe. Mr. Ryan supports all forms of domestic energy development, but Mr. Trump has called for colonizing Iraq’s oil reserves through military intervention.
... This week, as Mr. Trump is once again bashing conservative notions, Mr. Ryan’s House is holding a series of members-only ideas forums on poverty, health care and other issues. Mr. Ryan also gives speeches and conducts television and radio interviews pretty much wherever he goes these days. But for now, Mr. Trump has the bigger microphone.Savor that last sentence: But for now, Mr. Trump has the bigger microphone. Savor the phrase for now.
Presidential candidates come, presidential candidates go, but the insider elite clique will endure, dammit!
In that clique, Ryan is as titanic a figure as Trump is to the GOP hoi polloi. The politics writers of The New York Times are as uncritical in their worship of Ryan as the mobs who hoot and holler at Trump rallies.
This, by the way, is the lead story on the front page of today's print Times. It's sending a message that Donald Trump may win the Republican presidential nomination, but he won't be allowed to leave a permanent mark on the party, because the Village will declare that the Trump moment was just a bad dream the minute it's over. We'll be told that the Republican Party is all better now, and was never inherently sick to begin with -- like Linda Blair in The Exorcist, it still has an innocent sinless soul, and it behaved badly only because it was possessed by a demon.
Ryan, the Times tells us, is the once and future leader of the GOP. Pay no attention to the man who's actually winning Republican primaries.