Thoughts for Jeff Lord About Ryan and Trump - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Thoughts for Jeff Lord About Ryan and Trump

My colleague Jeff Lord has been on the Donald Trump train for some time. Our articles this morning (mine about Paul Ryan, Jeff’s about Trump and Ryan) are not quite dueling but do offer certain contrasts which bear mentioning:

First, I challenge Jeff on a couple of questions of fact:

Jeff says “Just to begin, of those Ryan demands the red flag is the condition that House rules be changed so that a group of members can no longer file a motion to “vacate the chair” — a signal that the Speaker has lost the support of his caucus and therefore should depart.”

My understanding is that the rule as it stands allows a single member, not a group, to file a motion to vacate the chair. Because of that, and even if were true that a “group” filed the motion, it need not signal that the Speaker has “lost the support of his caucus.” Even Boehner, of whom I am not a huge fan, still would have garnered the vote of the vast majority of the Republican conference if such a vote had occurred. There’s a reason this rule had not been used in this way for more than a century before Rep. Meadows threw the entire GOP into turmoil (which may yet work out for the best.)

Jeff mentions another Representative who pointed out that the rule in question came from Thomas Jefferson. While Jefferson authored the most important political document in human history, that was about fundamental truths. When it came to nuts-and-bolts politics, Jefferson was, at least early on, a truly radical democrat who supported the French Revolution fervently (although he later came to oppose its violence.) It’s not surprising that a rule created by Jefferson (if in fact he did create it) would be hyper-democratic to the point of creating chaos and instability.

Jeff says no House member should give up the rule; I disagree for reasons I explain in my article. I’m not saying House members should give up any control/influence over the Speaker but it’s ridiculous that a single member can force a vote on the Speakership.

Jeff raises another issue which I have thought of but didn’t add to my already-long article: the theoretical relationship between a Ryan-led House and a Trump presidency. I continue to believe that Donald Trump is unlikely to be the Republican nominee and that if he were, our next president will be Hillary Clinton. But let’s examine the Ryan-Trump possibility. I do not think Ryan will go along with Trump’s many harmful ideas. I think he will explain his reasons far better than Trump will. I also think that Ryan’s calm manner will contrast with Trump in a way that frustrates Trump supporters but pleases the majority of Americans.

More generally, it’s hard to imagine that the same nation which would like and respect Paul Ryan (which I believe is the case) would also like and respect Donald Trump.

Jeff is absolutely right that Trump is a representation of justifiable conservative anger with what is currently termed the “establishment.” But Jeff is wrong that Trump is the answer.

Political change in our system was designed to be relatively slow and relatively difficult. We’re not a monarchy nor are we 18th-century France and, despite the best efforts of Barack Obama, we’re still not 21st-century France.

The rabid wing of the GOP may not vote for anyone other than Trump at this point; if so they will be responsible for another President Clinton — just as some argue they were responsible for Obama’s second term. But if you’re looking for political change in a truly American style — standing up for fundamental ideas and limited government and articulating ideas in a way which we haven’t seen since Reagan and which is in the best traditions of our Founding. Trump is utterly incapable of such communication even though he can rile up a crowd with meaningless platitudes; seriously, would the supporters of any other candidate simply accept his refusing to answer a question by saying “I want to be unpredictable”?

Paul Ryan is what the GOP and the country should be. As an abcess is a manifestation of an infection, Donald Trump is an ugly reaction to what the GOP and politics more broadly have been. Trump and an abcess each show you there’s a problem, but neither is the cure.

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