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Mr. Speaker, it’s up to you



There’s been so much back-and-forth tail-wagging-the-dog in this so-called administration that we’re getting sore necks from watching it. First the ridiculousness of the “Obama tapped my phone” lie, and then, as American started realizing how absurd that was, yesterday’s launch of version 2.0 of the Muslim ban.

This is all meant to distract the public from the single, ongoing issue that will probably bring Trump down: his Russia-Putin connection and the conspiracy to cover it up. It’s fun watching Republican politicians deal with that one. They know there’s something really troubling out there. Moreover, they know their constituents are worried about it. They know they have to hold investigations in the Congress that pass the duck test, which is to say, they have to be seen as non-partisan and thorough. Thus we have Trump surrogates, including those he insulted like Little Marco Rubio, promising to follow the facts wherever they lead. We’ll be guided by the truth,” he promises.

The obvious problem with this current regime is, of course, something Pontius Pilate asked two thousand years ago. “What is truth?” No matter what investigative body finally releases a full report on the Trump-Putin ties, Trump will question its validity. And with multiple reports likely, there will be just enough discrepancy of facts to allow Trump to question them. He will always be able to take advantage of the singular fact that parts of the reports will have to be redacted. The intelligence communities will say this is to protect sources and methods. Trump and his surrogates will say that we can’t trust anonymous quotes from individuals who don’t want this President to succeed. In the middle will be the American public, who predictably will be divided along the same ideological lines as always. Forty percent will believe Trump. Forty percent will think he’s lying. And that squishy twenty percent in the middle won’t be sure.

So how will we get ourselves out of this impasse? It’s going to come down to Republicans. After all, they got themselves, and us, into this mess, by allowing their party to nominate a crazy person. Democrats warned them all along; they wouldn’t listen; their leaders, like Ryan and McConnell, tucked their tails between their legs and went into submission mode. Now that they’re in it for a dime, they have to be in it for a dollar—in other words, to the bitter end.

But do they? At some point, when things get bad enough—and they’re pretty bad now—these senior Congressional Republicans are going to have to go public with their doubts and fears. Who will be the first? We have the McCain-Graham dynamic duo, true; but these Senators so far have been all hat and no cattle, talking a good game but doing absolutely nothing to stop this train wreck. So forget about them.

Who else? Forget about McConnell, too. That guy has been in the tank for so long, he wouldn’t know good government if it bit him on the ankle. Which leaves Ryan. Now, admittedly he’s a long shot. He could have denounced Trump well before the election. He should have. He knew—knows—that this President is mentally unstable and dangerous. A lot of people were hoping, last summer and fall, that Ryan would give them a sign it was okay to resist. But he never did. He choked.

Still, it has to be him. Who else has the power, the platform to come out and say that this President has to go? Democrats can say it over and over and over and it won’t matter to the teabaggers who like Trump, or at least are willing to overlook his mental illness because he’s their guy. It has to be a big Republican who steps up to the plate—a profile in courage. Does Paul Ryan have what it takes? He probably dreams of being President someday. Which path forward leads him closer to that goal—to remain a shill for a disastrous administration led by a paranoid, pathological liar who doesn’t care about destabilizing America and the world if it furthers his own lust for power? Or to stand before the American public and tell the truth, even if it means alienating large numbers of Republicans and possibly even losing his next election?

If you’re Paul Ryan and you foresee a political future for yourself, the only honorable path has to be to tell the truth: on warning America, and on taking the reins of the Republican Party and leading it back to sanity. Speaker Ryan, you know what I say is true. Your family understands it. Your friends understand it—not your fake friends, those sycophants who attach themselves to your power, but those who truly love and care about you. I know they’re whispering in your ear to distance yourself from this President, from his nepotistic family, and from the lunatics they surround themselves with. Listen to them. For once, Mr. Speaker, do the right thing.

  1. Bob Rossi says:

    “It has to be a big Republican who steps up to the plate—a profile in courage”
    Good luck finding one of those.

  2. “Does Paul Ryan have what it takes?”

    Spoiler alert: No.

    Ryan has shown that he will put up, if not go along, with pretty much anything, if it gets him closer to his goals of cutting taxes on the rich and scaling back entitlements. He’s loyal to Ayn Rand, not the country.

  3. Jim B, I just can’t help but think that at some point Ryan and other “sane” Republicans will bolt from this POTUS and save the country. Maybe I’m naive.

  4. Steve,

    There might be some Republicans who will wind up as Trump opponents, especially if it looks like supporting Trump will jeopardize their election chances, but Ryan will not be one of the first on that train.

    And there might be a few who will actually act out of conscience and loyalty to the country rather than political self-interest. I just don’t think Ryan is a likely candidate.

    Paul Krugman had Ryan pegged years ago. He’s a standard-issue “cut taxes and repeal entitlements” Republican, who gets generous treatment as a “serious policy thinker” from even many liberal publications, for no apparent reason.

    I have no doubt that Ryan despises Trump and has little respect for him. But it’s sort of like how many elected Republicans don’t really, in their heart of hearts, give a damn about abortion or the War on Christmas or gay marriage or whatever the religious right is agitated about: what’s in their heart of hearts doesn’t matter, because as a practical matter they’ll always go along to get along with their real agenda.

  5. Karole Skeen says:

    I fear Ryan as much, if not much as 45 because Ryan is a cold and calculating politician who seems to think he can benefit from all, but that not all can benefit. I don’t trust him in the least.

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