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Friday, April 08, 2016

Paul Ryan's Burden

by JASmius

There will be those who insist that this is the first ad of the Speaker's nascent presidential campaign, and they will be wrong about that.  It is, instead, the opening salvo in an entirely separate, last-ditch, twilight struggle to retain a Republican majority presence in Congress against the onslaught of what may be two Democrat presidential campaigns, one from each party:

Eschewing "identity politics" and "division," embracing and championing conservative ideas and putting them up against the Left's unAmerican extremism any day of the week.  Sunny optimism over anger and bitterness and, yes, tribalism.  Sounds almost....Reaganesque, doesn't it?

But only thematically, not literally.  With the alarming rate at which Donald Trump is unifying pretty much everybody outside his own comparatively small cult against him, if he's the GOP nominee and replaces its "brand" with his own, the down-ballot consequences will be apocalyptic.  The Gipper has been physically dead for a dozen years, but his philosophical and political legacy has lived on in the Republican Party, which, as I have doggedly been trying to convince Tea Parters for years now, has never been more conservative.  This is why the House flipped "red" in 1994 for the first time in forty years, why there was unified GOP government for six years in the "oughts," and why the party was able to bounce back so comparatively quickly from Obamageddon in the 2010 and 2014 midterms.  The Reaganite GOP was credible and, yes, "established".

Supplant that with "Trumpism" and what do you get?  A, well, "national socialist" entity characterized by authoritarianism, a cult of personality, an enthusiastic embrace of Big Government statism, and one in which small/limited-government, free market capitalism, and constitutional conservatism would have no place.  Finally the BS aphorism of tighty-righties for years - "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties" - would be a reality.  It really wouldn't matter who won between Trump and Hillary, the outcome would be, as a practical matter, the same.

From the perspective of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, they and their majorities would be men and women without a country, as it were.  They'd have been abandoned by their party and left to fend for themselves in a "Trumpmare" landscape where every Republican candidate at every level will be depicted as morphing into the New York liberal conman.  And that's what the above ad recognizes and refutes.  They have to stake out and reiterate and fight for their own identity as the last remaining and surviving home of and for the principles on which America was founded (or the closest to that we're going to get, anyway).  A struggle for survival that is going to be prohibitively difficult, but one in which the Speaker has decided to not go down without a, well, "FIGHT!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!"

If you ever wondered what it would take to make the "establishment" do that, now you know.

Bitterly ironic that so many of those who bashed them for not doing so are now on the other side, trying to "burn it down".

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