Friday, October 07, 2016


We all know how hard Paul Ryan works to convey the message that he may be backing Donald Trump, but he's too principled and virtuous to actually like Donald Trump. The press loves this message, and loves telling us how painful it all is for Ryan.

Here it is again, from AP today:
It's long been clear that House Speaker Paul Ryan is, shall we say, not wholly comfortable with Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

The announcement of Ryan's and Trump's first joint appearance of the campaign on Saturday in Wisconsin — just four weeks before the election -- was simply the latest reminder.

The awkwardly worded missive on Thursday said that Ryan would appear with top Wisconsin Republicans, including Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson.

Oh, and by the way, the third paragraph of Ryan's release says that Trump "will also join Wisconsin Republicans" at the annual party festival in Elkhorn, a small city in Ryan's congressional district.

In the news business, that's known as "burying the lead."

The announcement also doesn't say that Ryan is actually campaigning for Trump, just that they are appearing at the same event.
Oh, poor, principled Paul, compelled by party loyalty to make common cause with a man he disagrees with on so many issues!

Except that Ryan is completely in sync with Trump on the issue closest to Ryan's Randian heart, as Politico made clear yesterday:
If Donald Trump is elected president and Republicans hold onto Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan is bluntly promising to ram a partisan agenda through Capitol Hill next year, with Obamacare repeal and trillion-dollar tax cuts likely at the top of the list. And Democrats would be utterly defenseless to stop them.

... Ryan peeled back the curtain on his strategy at a news conference last week after a reporter suggested he would struggle to implement his ambitious agenda next year. After all, it was noted, Republicans are certain to lack the 60 votes needed in the Senate to break Democratic filibusters on legislation. So Ryan gave a minitutorial on congressional rules and the bazooka in his pocket for the assembled reporters.

“This is our plan for 2017,” Ryan said, waving a copy of his “Better Way” policy agenda. “Much of this you can do through budget reconciliation.” He explained that key pieces are “fiscal in nature,” meaning they can be moved quickly through a budget maneuver that requires a simple majority in the Senate and House. “This is our game plan for 2017,” Ryan said again to the seemingly unconvinced press.
That last sentence infuriates Ed Kilgore:
It’s unclear why the press is “seemingly unconvinced” that the budget reconciliation process is indeed a “bazooka in his pocket.” It’s been around as a device to package and speed through Congress vast policy changes since Ronald Reagan and his allies used it in 1981 to rewrite the tax code and enact far-reaching budget cuts and program changes. Republicans had the same revolutionary plans for its use four years ago if Mitt Romney had won and the GOP held on to the Senate.

... a future reconciliation bill would not only cripple Obamacare and strip millions of Americans of health coverage obtained via the exchanges, but also kill the Medicaid expansion and throw millions more out of coverage. Indeed, there is zero reason to think it would not include turning the original Medicaid program into a block grant to the states (probably along with the food-stamp program), as both Trump and congressional Republicans have proposed, while implementing Ryan’s own controversial plan to voucherize Medicare.
But partly because we keep falling for "miserable Paul Ryan hates having to back Donald Trump" stories, a lot of us think that Trump, if elected president, would clash with Republicans in Congress. Recall the local public radio interview I told you about after the Clinton-Trump debate -- reporter Janet Babin watched the debate with an undecided millennial and was told this:

But there won't be a conflict between Trump and a GOP Congress -- certainly not on the tax cuts for the rich or Obamacare repeal or making radical changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. And Paul Ryan has now made clear that Republicans in Congress plan to use the filibuster-bypassing reconciliation process to ensure that a shared GOP agenda is rapidly enacted.

Kilgore adds:
Even if you think Clinton is a centrist sellout or a Wall Street puppet, she’s not going to sign legislation throwing tens of millions of people out of their health coverage, abolishing inheritance taxes and giving top earners still more tax benefits, shredding the safety net, killing Planned Parenthood funding, and so on through Ryan’s whole abominable list of reactionary delights.
Trump is lagging in the polls. Right now it looks as if he can't win. But he's probably one halfway decent debate performance away from a "Trump Comeback!" cycle of news stories.

Be afraid of Trump. He and congressional Republicans can do a lot of damage working hand in glove. And on most issues they will.


Victor said...

Millennials, or mal-lennials?

It's sometimes hard to tell.

Jimbo said...

Trump also famously said that he does not intend to actively govern at all. He was looking to recruit Kasich as VP and simply turn over both foreign and domestic policy to the Veep so that he could spend all of his time making speeches at rallies (i.e. "making America great again"). In any event, he has the attention span of a flea with ADHD. I have no trouble believing that Ryan would be able to do anything he wanted in the scenario you describe.

KenRight said...

There are dangerous candidates and dangerous candidates.
We now have thugs threatening war with Russia to gain Clinton's approval.

If Trump does the social damage at home specifically by helping enact Paul Ryan-approved acts (while properly, however, enforcing, restoring respect for police) I'm sure you folks will organize Susan Sarandon approved resistance in the streets.

Then we'll get problems solved at home, and be too distracted to wreak havoc in Russia's sphere of influence.

Vote Trump.

John Taylor said...

Trump will be the Republicans' useful idiot.