Friday, April 13, 2018

How Many More House Seats Is Ryan's Retirement Worth To The Democrats?


Albatross by Nancy Ohanian

This morning's first post, Time For New House Leadership-- On Both Sides Of The Aisle, mentions the GOP struggle to replace Ryan but was really about the Democratic struggle to replace Pelosi. Let'd revisit the internecine warfare that's breaking out in the Republican caucus over who will be the Minority Leader after January. First a brief note: Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen speculated yesterday at Axios that Ryan may be forced to leave speakership by summer. Ryan says he's staying on as Speaker 'til after the election. No one doubts that's his intention, "but well-wired Republicans tell Jonathan Swan and me that Ryan may be forced out sooner." How well-wired. Ohio poisonous snake Jim Jordan has been running around hissing that Ryan is out and that Mark Meadows will be the next Speaker. I think he's wrong but Swan's and Allen say their source, who they don't identify, told then that "Scuttlebutt is that Paul will have to step down from speakership soon. Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is 6 months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back." There's speculation that Ryan will be gone by the end of July. So someone wants to lead the GOP into a catastrophic donnybrook? I doubt it. They add that Trump likes Scalise but loves McCarthy.

That said, Thursday morning Politico led with a warning: 8 brutal months are coming. "[O]utside of the chaos inside the White House, you’re now going to have a different flavor of chaos on Capitol Hill. Will Paul Ryan remain speaker through the election? Will Kevin McCarthy or Steve Scalise make a move?... [Some] Republicans are questioning whether having a lame duck speaker at the helm of the Republican Conference will hurt their fundraising."

A top McCarthy ally, Tom Graves (R-GA) wants a vote to replace Ryan ASAP. He claims, cluelessly, that the GOP will "have more success if there's no ambiguity in what the leadership structure might look like." I have a feeling no one has told him what a blue tsunami does look like. "From the conversations I’ve had, everybody wants our ‘A team’ in place, our strongest team in place so we have the strongest outcome going into the election cycle." LOL!

Politico imparts that "A quick election benefits McCarthy. He’s already the majority leader, and the natural heir to the top slot. But, McCarthy and Scalise are plotting-- they’re always plotting. Even when an election is not on the horizon. These are two men who know exactly how everyone feels about them. They know who’s with them, and who isn’t. They know the pockets they are weakest in. Neither man is starting from scratch when it comes to making a move.
People have legitimate questions about both men: neither has been a chairman, neither has a specific legislative achievement, they’re both sharp internal and external political minds but they have no legislative victories. Boehner had No Child Left Behind. Ryan had a pile of achievements.

Scalise has made himself an alternative. If people don’t want to vote for McCarthy, for whatever reason, they have Scalise to fall back on.

The Freedom Caucus-- the strongest pocket of conservatives-- benefits in a speaker election where the leading candidate doesn’t have 218 votes.
A more cohesive and well thought-out message came from Rick Wilson at the Daily Beast: . He reminds his readers that "everything Trump touches dies, and the speaker’s legacy is no exception. The news that Paul Ryan is retiring from Congress was received by grim-faced members of the GOP caucus finally realizing what they’ve done, and what’s coming.
The happy talk about holding the House is over. The spin for the press, the rubes, and the donor class just came to a shrieking halt. Nancy Pelosi is in her crone cavern, cackling with glee, knowing that the Democrats are now in play in almost 80 congressional seats. The general of the House Republican army just announced he’s leaving the field just as the tide of political war looks most grim.

Ryan and his caucus hoped to run on the tax cut, the economy, and infrastructure. All of these messages now will be swept aside. Ryan owns his share of the blame; too often, he behaved as if he was some deferential junior VP at a Trump resort and not the leader of the House of Representatives in a co-equal branch of government. The idea, popular among the House leadership, that a diet of ass-kissing and deference would make Trump into a normal president who didn’t need the political equivalent of Depends was always a strategic mistake.

Ryan is now paying the price. The rest of his caucus will pay in the fall.

The election season will now feature a Republican leadership fight with all the reality-TV tropes we’ve come to expect in this vulgar, stupid age as it inevitably devolves into a shabby bidding war over who will be more amenable and obedient to Donald Trump. The purity tests from Fox News, the screeching teenagers in the Donnie Trump Tiger Beat Breitbart Fan Club, and Trump himself will ensure this contest-- like every damn thing in America today-- is All About Him.

Ryan’s unfulfilled agenda, including entitlement reform, is now a dead letter, along with the hopes so many in the conservative movement had reposed in him. The Kochs and dozens of other free-market folks were invested in Paul Ryan’s future. Those investments were squandered like Granny’s Social Security check at the Trump Taj Mahal. Regardless of who replaces Ryan, the agenda of limited-government conservatism based on fiscal probity, personal responsibility, free trade, and limited government is as dead Donald Trump’s marriage.

A top Ryan aide texted me this morning: “It’s going to be a civil war. No one knows how bad this will get. Kevin [McCarthy] is such a fucking moron he’s going to get rolled by Pelosi every day. FML.”

Another Ryan insider echoed the “civil war” sentiment, and noted that Ryan’s decision will set off still another wave of Republican retirements.

This week marked the final surrender of the GOP on the central economic issues of our time; the debt, and entitlement reform. Did our talk ever truly match our walk when it came to the economy? Not as often as I’d like, and I’m sure Ryan feels the same.

Still, he was a fluent translator of Conservative to English, a bridge between Hayek and hope. He lacked the needy edge and insecurities so evident in this president and so beloved of the new GOP. Ryan had been the endpoint of a conservative philosophical movement that combined Jack Kemp’s optimism about growth, opportunity, economic freedom, and the value of work with a profound understanding of the painful need to reform how the Federal government operates.

Kiss that goodbye. Trump’s economic message is profoundly, inalterably negative, defensive, small, and bitter. It’s about how stupid Americans are, and how the wily Chinese and murderous Mexicans are stealing from us, tricking us, and robbing us blind.

His base is conditioned to having their fear centers endlessly stimulated by his constant drip of apocalyptic, conspiratorial rhetoric and fed hazy promises of the creation of walls, the smiting of the Asians, the launching of trade wars, and the kicking of asses.

The collapse of the economic leg of the GOP’s coalition is complete. We’re now the party of Credit Card Don, the King of Debt. Our base worships a man who’s own Bhagavad Gita reads: “Now I become Debt, destroyer of Republicans.”

The trillions in new spending, the blowout tax bill’s monstrous costs, and Trump’s moron-grade nationalism and state capitalism mean the ideal of making government smaller, smarter, and better is over. It was one thing to talk about dynamic scoring and positive job growth based on the tax cut. It was quite another to predict levels of growth approaching asymptotic.

The grunting, pig-ignorant Trumpentariat types are doing their usual ranting street-preacher genius analysis of the situation, declaring you’ve triggered duh libs and now Ryan will be replaced with a speaker who, as the Trump Constitution clearly states, will behave with properly knee-padded deference to President for Life Kim Jong Don. They see this as the greatest possible loss for the hated Establishment, a draining of the Swamp.

Those poor, dumb bastards.

...Trump won’t save his party’s House majority. In fact, the more he becomes the center of the discussion for the members still running in 2018, the worse the ground looks for the GOP. All that’s left is hope that the Democratic Party’s notoriously terrible campaign operation can find a way to screw up the gift they’ve been given.

The rubes still think Trumpism sells. It doesn’t, outside of the deepest, deep red seats. They seem to honestly believe that in the 25 swing seats where Donald Trump is as well-liked as a case of genital herpes that muh wall and MS-13 TV ads are going to save the majority.

They still think that races are won with MAGA hats and badly photoshopped Hillary Pizzagate memes. They conflate Trump’s Russian-supported, celebrity-driven win against the luckless, joyless Hillary with actual campaigning.

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At 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the one hand, I applaud the fractures in the collapsing GOP. The end of the corrupt Republican Party can't happen soon enough for me.

On the other hand, the "democrats" have amply demonstrated that they DON'T deserve power, for they rule like Republicans when they get it.

Bernie had a chance to open up the separation of the "democrats" in a manner that we now see with the Republicans, but that ended when he caved to HER! demands that he work for HER! Coronation. At least he didn't hand over his contact files, or I'd be getting besieged with recyclable campaign ads for a party I can't support.

In the meantime, I'll look for candidates I can support. I refuse to get caught up in party membership ever again.

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This proves that DWT wants ONLY to win seats and does not care about change.

As we've seen from '92 to 2006-2008, giving democraps electoral victories does NOT mean any positive change will occur.

In fact, the '92 Clinton election gave us the lege that created the 2008 casino crash (that democraps are helping to happen again). Pelosi getting the gavel in 2006 meant that NOTHING was done to curb anything cheney/bush were doing as she gambled that 2008 would be an even bigger windfall...
Which it WAS. However, the obamanation/FDR congress resulted in... absolutely no meaningful positive change and MUCH negative change.

So, if your strategy is simply to put more democraps in congress, mazeltov!

If you actually want galloping fascism/naziism and economic inequality to be addressed, your tactics are destined not only to fail, but fail spectacularly.

You're smart enough to know this. Therefore I conclude that you are NOT seeking change.


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