Ryan Moves To Castrate The Freedom Caucus
The ad above is running on TV stations in Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Moscow and Lewiston in western Idaho, aimed directly at Raul Labrador's voters in the hope of pressuring him to back Ryan's ACA repeal proposal. Similar ads are running against 29 other far right Republicans from the Freedom Caucus. These are the targets:
So far the American Action Network (AAN) has put half a million dollars into the program. Remember Nixon's Jew-hunter Fred Malek? AAN is the Republican SuperPAC he founded but Malek doesn't set the policies and tactical goals of the group and neither does the new CEO, Norm Coleman. Paul Ryan does, albeit through former NRCC political director Brian Walsh, AAN's president. Here's the identical ad that went up yesterday on Dayton and Cleveland TV stations to reach Jim Jordan's constituents in the incredibly gerrymandered 4th CD, spread out over 14 counties and stretching incongruously from Lorain County in the suburbs west of Cleveland all the way across the state to Mercer County near the Indiana border. Lima and Marysville are what pass for cities in the rural, exurban district that gave Trump and 64.3% to 30.7% win over Clinton in November.
Ryan's not fooling around. He demonstrated his ability to defeat recalcitrant Freedom Caucus members twice already-- overtly defeating Tim Huelskamp in Kansas (and replacing him with harmless lunatic Roger Marshall) and withholding NRCC funds so that Scott Garrett would lose a tight reelection campaign to more pliable Blue Dog Josh Gottheimer this past November. Yes, Paul Ryan read Machiavelli in between The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
At the same time Ryan was saber-rattling against the Freedom Caucus members, Trump-- with #PresidentBannon at his side-- was meeting in the Oval Office with outside extremist groups who have opposed the repeal plan. It looks like he's ready to let Americans die in the streets after all-- as long as he can blame it on his political enemies!
During the hour-long meeting, sources said Trump chastised the groups -- including Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots-- for calling the House GOP proposal "Obamacare lite," warning the tea party activists, "you are helping the other side."
In true Trump fashion, the President jumped into salesman mode, sources at the meeting said.
"This is going to be great. You're going to make it even greater," the President told the group. "I'm going to work hard to get it done."
...Confident that the health care plan will pass the House, Trump laid out his strategy for winning passage in the Senate, telling the meeting he will campaign heavily in red states featuring vulnerable Democrats up for re-election.
"Trump said he will have football stadium events in states where he won by 10-12 points and he is going to dare people to vote against him," a source at the meeting said.
As for prominent Republican opponents of the health care plan, Trump sounded optimistic.
On Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the President was effusive about his one-time primary rival.
"I love him. He's a friend. He's going to end up voting for it," the President told the group.
A source at the meeting was astonished as to how White House staff could have been so blindsided by the initial conservative opposition to the GOP plan.
"We telegraphed it for weeks," one tea party official at the meeting said.
Ryan is chosing to deal with principled House Republicans roughly, but if he leads his party into allowing itself to be guided by the old GOP aphorism that "People on Medicaid don't vote" (an idea pushed by longtime Mitch McConnell advisor Scott Jennings), there are more than a few members of Congress who are going to have really rough 2018 midterm election nights.