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May 16, 2016

The Paul Ryan Train Wreck

Ken Kellar

Last Thursday, Donald Trump met with Congressman Paul Ryan to “work things out.” This is because, for some inexplicable reason, Speaker of the House of Representatives Ryan, who has never even won a state-wide election, is telling Mr. Trump what he must do to win the presidency.


People on television keep telling me that Paul Ryan is brilliant, terrific and powerful. Well, I looked up his official biography to educate myself on his greatness. My read of the biography left me underwhelmed. Here are some highlights:


He spent his whole life in Wisconsin. World experience? No.


He’s in his 9th term in Congress. Insider, career politician? Yes!


He became House Speaker in October 2015. Did his first budget reduce spending? No, the Democrats celebrated the bloated budget he rammed through.


More from his bio: “Prior to serving as Speaker of the House, Congressman Ryan served as the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he focused on many issues across the federal government, such as fixing our broken tax code, holding the IRS accountable, strengthening Medicare and Social Security, repairing the safety net, promoting job-creating trade agreements, and developing patient-centered solutions to make health care more affordable.”


Did he fix the tax code? No.


Did he make the IRS accountable? No.


Repair the safety net? Does that mean maximizing the number of people on welfare and unemployment assistance? If that’s what it means, Ryan is a resounding success in that category.


Health care more affordable? Huh?


More bio: “During the 112th & 113th Congresses, he served as chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he put forward specific plans to tackle our looming fiscal crisis, driven by the dramatic rise in entitlement spending. These plans, titled “The Path to Prosperity,” would help spur job creation, stop spending money the government doesn't have, balance the budget, and lift the crushing burden of debt.”


Tackled the looming fiscal crisis? Every budget was bigger and, again, the Democrats celebrated his 2016 budget.


So, how did Paul Ryan develop all the knowledge and skills to fail on such a large variety of subjects? “Paul is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio.”


So, he has a non-technical bachelor’s degree. He’s not a doctor, or an engineer, or an entrepreneur, or a successful accountant. Mr. Ryan isn’t even a stinking lawyer! But somehow he is lauded as a fiscal expert.


On the national level I recall his contribution to the failure of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. As Romney’s vice presidential running mate, I watched Joe Biden wipe the floor with Ryan in their one debate.


I recall one exchange clearly because of the horror I felt when I heard Mr. Ryan speak. Mr. Biden and Mr. Ryan where both touted as religious people and where asked how their faith would affect their lives in office. Vice President Biden gave a somewhat sensible answer about having a moral compass or something to that effect. It was a very sensible “American” answer.


Then comes Mr. Ryan on the same question. His paraphrased response was, “As Vice President I will do everything in my power to make abortion illegal!” So much for those fiscal-conservative-social-liberal votes! What was he thinking? “No-one has brought up the highly divisive abortion topic so I’ll just jam it in here!”


So, you may ask: “Why am I being so critical of this handsome, blue-eyed pack of wholesomeness?” The answer is because he is actively harming the chances that Donald Trump will win the race for president. This political failure is counseling/lecturing Mr. Trump.


Now that Donald Trump has won the Republican primaries, Congressman Ryan is demanding that Mr. Trump firm up his conservative credentials. Why? Seriously, why? There is a large pool of potential Trump voters that consist of Democrats and Independents, many of whom aren’t too crazy about Hillary Clinton. How will Donald Trump’s declaring Paul Ryan’s list of conservative principles win over any of those people? In my mind, it won’t. It will put them off.


It appears Mr. Ryan is focusing on the pouting Republican establishment people who say they’ll vote for a third party, stay home or even hold their breath until they pass out. Oops, I meant vote for Ms. Clinton.


So, let’s look at those two pools of people: pouting Republicans, and non-Republicans who may go for Donald Trump.


If he disregards Mr. Ryan, how many of the Republican pouters will come around on Election Day to vote for him? I argue that most will calm down, weigh their options and vote for Mr. Trump. I’ve been there. I think John McCain is a horrible little man and I voted for him in the final election in 2008.


Now if Mr. Trump heeds Ryan’s admonishments and tightens up his conservative positions to align with the man who won the Wisconsin 1st district and only the 1st district, how many Independents and Democrats currently considering Donald Trump will be turned off and vote Hillary? I’m guessing most of them.


So, Paul Ryan, who has absolutely no political successes in his career except for self-promotion, is telling Mr. Trump how to win the presidency. Worse, Mr. Ryan is declaring minimum conditions to grant access to the presidency. He is abusing his position as House Speaker. He is failing in that position and is actively harming Donald Trump’s chances to win.


I commend Sarah Palin’s vow to support any primary opponent to Paul Ryan in his next re-election bid. Unfortunately that won’t be in time to stop the political damage the hapless, arrogant Paul Ryan is creating.


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