Thursday, February 1, 2018

Paul Ryan's historic failure to confront a rogue President

Historians who write the story about Donald Trump's damage to American democracy will not and should not be kind to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump's key Congressional enabler. 

There's no reason to give Ryan anything other than an "F" for Constitutional advocacy, principled leadership, and moral stewardship.

His full-on, 180-degree turn from fearless Trump critic to eager valet began when the Speaker briefly called out Trump for bragging on tape about his delights at sexual assault.

But it didn't take Ryan long to get back on the Trump train - - a train on Capitol Hill which Ryan is now driving - - to help the President wriggle out from under the Special Counsel's investigation.

Ryan is doing this for all to see by letting a subordinate - - former Trump transition official, GOP Rep. and House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes - - to manipulate classified materials in an unprecedented fashion purely for Trump's benefit.

Even though Nunes's alleged recusal from the Russian investigation has been an obvious sham for many months - - a fraud propped by when Ryan appointed a 'replacement' House Intelligence Committee chair whom Nunes, with Ryan's disregard, is still effectively dominating.

The Ryan-Nunes' tag team may cripple, even kill the Special Counsel's investigation, and give Ryan some to time to engineer the Draconian budget and benefit cuts he's pledged to deliver to his donors.

But Ryan's at-all-costs embrace of Trump may further weaken the GOP's disappearing identity as the law-and-order party and could accelerate the party's demise as a legitimate national operation that stands for something beyond whitening immigration, handing out corporate welfare, obstructing minority voting, and polluting the air and water.

Like all members of the US House, Ryan is up for re-election this fall.

If he holds his seat despite a possible Democratic blue wave, the last clause in the historians' assessments could be "Ryan is now just another House minority member as the majority's works to restore the body's reputation which Ryan soiled."

But there have been rumors that Ryan, like dozens of his fellow Congressional Republicans in Congress, may take his name off the 2018 ballot.

That would validate Ryan's legacy as a failed, weak shadow of what the American people needed their House Speaker - - just two heartbeats from the Presidency - - to be at a time of constitutional crisis.

If Ryan stepped aside, or lost his re-election, the last sentence the historians should write: "good riddance."

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