Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is not the most popular figure among Republican voters or even his own caucus and, for these reasons among others, Ryan is facing a primary challenge.
As low of an opinion as you or I may have of Paul Ryan, there is always the possibility in today's GOP that his replacement could be worse. Case in point, Ryan's primary challenger Paul Nehlen, who now has the support of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, has produced this amazing campaign ad.
Mister Speaker, you championed this trade deal. Why don't you come back to Wisconsin and debate me man to man, face to face, on the realities of TPP. And if you don’t want to debate me, maybe we can arm wrestle.
Arm-wrestling aside, it's a mixed blessing that Republican voters and insurgents, and even their presidential nominee, are taking on a more populist tone.
Anyone who hoped Republican voters would eventually realize their leaders have sold them a box of goods for the last 30 years may not have accounted for the level of hostility and resentment this would generate. They may understand that they've been misled, but their retribution is misdirected.
International trade deals are not their enemy; Republicans in state legislatures and governors mansions are. In the case of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker is the man responsible for pushing policies that lead to the outsourcing of construction labor and reduce wages for blue collar jobs. Walker has eroded the power and influence of unions while signing legislation to repeal prevailing wage laws. Walker has cut healthcare and education by hundreds of millions of dollars while handing that money over to businesses that outsource.
So-called "right to work" laws like the one signed by Governor Walker (and recently struck down in court) have cost more jobs and wages than any trade deal.
You're probably already aware, but Speaker Ryan did not "champion" the trade deal. Ordinarily he would, but anything President Obama supports Republicans must be against it. It's an unwritten rule of baseball.