Where have we seen this before?
Former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan has made it known he will not attend the 2024 Republican Convention if the nominee is former President Donald Trump. The convention is set to take place in Milwaukee in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.
So. Here we go again. All but declaring his devotion to RINOism — Republican in Name Only — Ryan has slid a long way down the pole from the rising star conservative he was once thought to be.
The man who was the vice presidential nominee on the 2012 ticket with Mitt Romney seemingly has no realization that yes, in fact, he and Romney lost their election while Trump won his in 2016. They played the RINO card and got clobbered.
Let’s cut to the chase. What’s really going on here is that someone got used to swimming in the Washington/establishment Swamp — and thus has nothing but disdain for the Outsider President.
And yes, the Republican Party has been here before.
In 1980, the chairman of the House Republican Conference was Rep. John Anderson of Illinois — an earlier version of Paul Ryan.
In the day, a political columnist named Clayton Fritchey ran with a quote from Nancy Reagan in which she said her husband’s mission was “to revive the Republican Party.” Reagan biographer Rick Perlstein — decidedly no Reagan fan — noted that John Anderson replied that “Reaganism would ‘bury it.’”
In 1980, Anderson ran for the Republican presidential nomination in a good-sized field that featured Ronald Reagan as well as Sen. Howard Baker, Ambassador George H.W. Bush, and Sen. Bob Dole.
Said the silver-haired Anderson in introducing himself to the nationally televised debate audience: “I must confess to this audience that I am not a younger Ronald Reagan with experience.” (RELATED: President Reagan Turns 112)
Perlstein wrote that Anderson’s decided opposition to front-runner Reagan “charmed” the media. And it was all too obvious. There was lunch with the editors of Time. In a gibe at President Jimmy Carter, the Democratic nominee, the New York Times editorial board used the title of Carter’s campaign memoir from 1976 to describe Anderson: “Why Not the Best?” Perlstein wrote: “The media’s affection for the only nonconservative Republican standing was a development with consequences.”
Reagan, the Outsider of the day, won the GOP nomination. His GOP opponents rallied to him, with one, Bush, being picked as Reagan’s running mate. Anderson would not rally.
Asked if he would support Reagan if Reagan finally won the nomination, “Anderson hemmed and hawed.” (Sound familiar?)
When it was clear that Anderson could not win the GOP nomination, he dropped out — announcing that “he was dropping out of the Republican race to begin the arduous task of getting on all fifty state presidential ballots as an independent.”
In other words, just as yesterday’s “Republican” John Anderson wanted to defeat Outsider Ronald Reagan, today’s “Republican” Paul Ryan has declared he will not support Donald Trump.
It should be abundantly clear by now that all those Never Trumpers out there in the GOP are not only not real Republicans, but their support for Joe Biden has had serious consequences. From Putin’s invasion of Ukraine — something that would never have happened had Trump been president — to the disastrous defeat in the Afghanistan withdrawal, roaring inflation, surging gas prices, and the stacking of the courts with left-wing nominees — all of this is a result of the Biden presidency. A presidency adamantly demanded by the Never Trumpers.
It is crystal clear that Paul Ryan has all but formally left the Republican Party — just as John Anderson did in 1980.
Plain and simple, Washington establishment insiders cannot abide Washington Outsiders. Which is to say they have a serious dislike of millions of Americans.
This time around, it’s Donald Trump that the Ryans of the world detest. Once upon a time, it was Ronald Reagan.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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