This morning we are having The Great Paul Ryan Debate here at The American Spectator with Ross arguing the pros and Jeff arguing the cons of Ryan becoming House Speaker. Ross has since replied to Jeff and perhaps Jeff will offer a rejoinder. This demonstrates there is room for debate and discussion among conservatives and libertarians that is virtually non-existent on The Left.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that I am more sympathetic to Ross’ argument. After all, it was only a fortnight ago I made the case that Ryan is the most viable option Republicans have for Speaker. Despite my support for the “establishment” Ryan, The WaPo saw fit to call yours truly “an establishment hater.” Well, at least they spelled my name right.
Jeff’s opposition to Ryan is tethered to his support for Donald Trump. Although Trump has said he’d be “OK” with Ryan as Speaker, he has never been a big fan of the Congressman from Wisconsin’s 1st District. In June 2011, Trump criticized Ryan’s budget proposals as “a death wish” for Republicans and would cost them during the 2012 mid-term elections. Well, Trump was not only wrong in his assessment of Ryan’s budget proposals, he didn’t offer any alternative. Quelle surprise.
Jeff writes, “Here’s a question. What happens if there is a President Trump and a Speaker Ryan? Will Ryan be the loyal Speaker — as Nancy Pelosi was to President Obama?” Hmmmn. I didn’t realize that Jeff considers Nancy Pelosi the gold standard by which all Speakers must be measured. Well, last I checked Congress is still a separate and co-equal branch of the federal government with its own rules, traditions and priorities. Sometimes this means co-operation with the White House, but at others it means keeping the President in check. It isn’t Ryan’s job to be “the loyal Speaker” to Trump or whoever ends up being elected President.
I do find it very telling that for all his objections to Ryan becoming Speaker that Jeff doesn’t identify someone would be more desirable. It is telling because for Jeff the universe revolves around Trump. For him, all that matters is that the next Republican Speaker be loyal to Trump. In a Trump presidency, the Speaker would be a yes-man. An apprentice, if you will. But if Ryan is chosen Speaker and Trump is elected President, Trump will soon learn that Paul Ryan is his own man and will protect the institution he leads. Congress isn’t and shouldn’t be a rubber stamp. Congress can tell the President no. Donald Trump isn’t used to the word no. Paul Ryan might have to show Donald Trump how things work in the real world.
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