Election 2016

Paul Ryan’s Policies Are Running for President Even if He Isn’t

Is there an echo in here?

The New York Times is reporting (confirming?) what we've already known for at least a month: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan does not plan to work with the GOP nominee for president on a policy platform.

The Times reports that Ryan is developing his own platform which he will debut ahead of the GOP convention.

He is shaping an agenda that he plans to roll out right before the convention, a supplement of sorts to the official party platform. He gives regular speeches on politics and policy — particularly on poverty and economic issues — then backs them up in the news media. [...]

For example, if the Republican nominee does not provide an alternative to the Affordable Care Act — something Republicans have failed to do since it passed in 2010 — Mr. Ryan intends to do so, just as he will lay out an anti-poverty plan. Mr. Ryan will even take the highly unusual step of presenting a national security agenda that may not be in step with the nominee’s.

Ryan already made his intentions fairly clear last month when he said he intends to "defend our ideas as the Republican Party" regardless of who their presidential nominee is.

When Ryan announced that he was working with the GOP candidates (a list of people that still included Marco Rubio at the time) to develop a policy agenda, what he was really doing was ascertaining whether or not the candidates will adopt his agenda. It seems clear to me that Ryan never had any intention of surrendering his the party's policy platform to their presidential nominee.

What does this tell us? Quite a lot. It tells us Paul Ryan is an egomaniac and a true believer. Ryan truly believes his Randian conservative ideas cannot fail, they can only be failed by a flawed candidate. In that respect, this also tells us that Ryan believes Mitt Romney failed him.

Donald Trump is regularly regarded as an existential threat to the Republican party but I don't believe he poses as much of a threat to the party as Paul Ryan does. The reverence and worship of the Fake Genius that is Paul Ryan has created a Speaker who sees himself as omnipotent and all-knowing. A man with an ego so big he won't even compromise with the party's presidential nominee. Has that ever happened?

I don't believe Paul Ryan is waging this campaign so he can ride into the convention and emerge as the nominee himself. He's waging it so he can proclaim their presidential nominee simply wasn't conservative enough. He's waging this campaign so the party and, more importantly, himself, do not have to admit defeat. He's doing this so he and the party do not have to change.

It's reasonable to assume Donald Trump would lose badly to Hillary Clinton in the general election, but Trump may also be contending with Paul Ryan in the House. Ryan could turn more states blue in November than Trump alone would because Democrats will have a prime opportunity to run against both of them even though Ryan won't be on the ballot.

This is all the more amusing if you consider that House Republicans won't approve Ryan's budget. Neither his own caucus or their presidential nominee will campaign on Ryan's vision but he's taking it on the road anyway. If this isn't egomania I don't know what is.

Any concerns about party unity on the left are utterly dwarfed by what Republicans are facing.

  • muselet

    I am amazed.

    Not that Paul Ryan is a raving egotist and a Randian True Believer—that we knew—but that Ryan has a more inflated ego than the last malignant narcissist to serve as Speaker, Newt Gingrich. I’ve never had any use for Gingrich, but he didn’t deliberately undercut the Republican Party platform or its presidential nominee.

    In a past age, when party elders weren’t terrified of the rabble, Ryan would have been replaced as Speaker and given an office in a broomcloset in the Cannon Building’s basement.

    –alopecia

  • i_a_c

    The media worships this guy for really going after the poor and the elderly.

    • muselet

      I think our glorious news media have been taken in by Paul Ryan’s superficial charm. Put him in a polyester sport coat and he’d be indistinguishable from every other borderline-sleazy used-car salesman on the planet.

      –alopecia