Conservative columnist Deroy Murdock, whose writing I typically admire and agree with, criticizes Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in very harsh terms for Ryan’s distancing himself and — if they choose to use the opportunity — other House members from the sinking ship of the Trump campaign.
The way Deroy sees it, Mr. Trump had put most of his Friday bus video troubles behind him by a solid performance in Sunday’s debate but Ryan’s Monday statement “slashed Trump’s tire anew, and nudged him toward the closest cliff.” (Deroy and I both think Trump won that debate, even though the few so-called “scientific” polls after the debate disagree.)
Deroy calls Ryan’s position on Trump “moral preening” and calls Ryan “morally warped.”
While I understand the arguments made by some that Ryan should have been more cautious in the way he announced his position regarding Trump, I’d suggest to Deroy that it is Trump, not Ryan, who is responsible for the situation.
With that, a few thoughts addressed to Deroy Murdock:
I think you know I’m quite a fan of your work, but I think you were off base in the Ryan article.
I could be wrong, but wasn’t the Ryan statement about Trump that you’re objecting to made on a conference call with Republican House members? It wasn’t as if he got up in front of a news camera to announce that he would no longer defend or appear with Trump.
Really hard to call that preening.
It’s also most unfair to call him “truly, deeply morally warped” and seems particularly misplaced in an article which mentions Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, both of whom strike me as having far more compromised moralities than Ryan does.
Ryan’s point was to his House members: Do what you need to do to win even if it means distancing yourself from a sinking candidate.
If he didn’t do that, and if the Democrats then won the White House, the Senate and the House, wouldn’t you criticize Ryan for not trying hard enough to keep the bulwark against a Clinton tyranny in place? I would.
The last time that Democrats had control of everything, we got Obamacare. And we would have gotten more horrendous “Progressive” toxic waste if President Obama were not so lazy and in possession of so little political capital thanks to having so few friends in Congress.
You seem to be wishing away the fact that Trump’s collapse, as created by the combination of Trump’s mouth (and perhaps hands) and the “mainstream” media’s bias, is dragging down Republican candidates around the country, as if that wouldn’t be happening if not for Paul Ryan. As the Washington Post reported months ago, a key Democratic strategy is tying GOP House and Senate candidates to Trump. If that strategy works, then as Trump collapses he will drag the GOP majority in both chambers down with him.
I know that prior to the Trump video and subsequent claims by women against him, he didn’t seem to be hurting other Republican candidates, but I suggest to you that those events dramatically increased Trump’s toxicity. And I suggest to you that Democrats believe it too, as noted in today’s Politico article entitled “Check out Trump tape: How Democrats are using Trump’s hot-mic fiasco.”
On the one hand, it’s fair to criticize the Republican Party for seeming unwilling to fight as hard against the Obama agenda as voters had hoped they would when giving the GOP control of both houses of Congress. That is, in large part, what gave us a Donald Trump nomination.
But Deroy, if you care about the Republican Party and minimizing the damage that a Clinton presidency would cause, how would you expect Ryan to give his Republican caucus permission to distance themselves from Trump to save their own electoral skins — and to save a GOP majority — without actually telling them so?
Could it be that the moral preening is yours?
There’s been so much talk about the “hysteria” and over-reaction to Donald Trump’s “locker-room banter.” It doesn’t seem to me that the right response is to engage in similar hysteria and over-reaction to Paul Ryan’s move, a move only necessitated by words directly from Mr. Trump’s mouth.
Finally, a few weeks from now those of us who fear and loathe the agenda of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are going to have to decide whether to work together to stop them or whether to continue apace into a political civil war likely to hand Democrats full control of the federal government for years to come.
If you prefer the former, as I do, Paul Ryan is likely to be an important part of the solution. Tearing him down strikes me as worse than pointless, especially, it’s worth repeating, if you and other rock-ribbed conservatives and Republicans would criticize him, as you surely would, for not doing everything in his power to maintain at least one inside-the-Beltway check on an increasingly likely four-year national nightmare of a Hillary Clinton presidency.
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