So. Paul Ryan counted on his fingers and toes and found there probably wouldn’t be enough Republicans in the House after the next election to make up a bowling team.
And, faced with a minority - probably a distinct minority - the best he could hope for would be leader of a distinct - well - minority. And maybe not leader.
Ryan decided to cash in his 20 years in Congress and take his taxpayer $79,000 a-year lifetime “entitlement.” Since he failed to slash Social Security, he must have figured, “What the Hell, gimmie some.”
With Ryan’s exit - stage right, of course - that Trump fella has taken complete control of what used to be a functioning, respected Republican Party. A national Party now headed into a well-deserved irrelevance for at least a couple of election cycles. Maybe more. A Party without honor as it uses what’s left of its “influence” to prostitute itself to dishonestly defend our dishonorable president.
It’s to be dearly hoped that, during that enforced hiatus, the GOP will do some surgical cleansing of philosophy. That it will return to what made it respectable before letting the far right purge intelligence and common sense.
The only humans likely to believe the cover story that Ryan “checked out” to “spend time with his growing kids” are likely the kids themselves. He saw the handwriting on the wall and decided he didn’t want to be part of the graffiti.
Ryan’s fleeing the mess on Capitol Hill might also be a good time for Democrats to do some cleaning in their own houses - House and Senate - after the 2018 elections.
Nancy Pelosi is 78 - Chuck Schumer is 68. They’ve each served much of their elected time in some form of leadership. They’ve done well in those posts, have weathered many political storms and - for the most part - honorably carried the Democrat banners.
But, January, 2019, might be a good time for each to pass the torches and either exit - stage left, of course - or take more comfortable seats on the “back bench” in more advisory capacities.
Judging from candidacy filings, the next crop of new faces in Congress will be younger - in their 30's to 50's. There’ll be more women in both houses. Many will be new to both Washington and national politics. While they’ll be coming in with their own ideas and energy, Pelosi and Schumer could provide a lot of quick education about the “ins and outs” of how things work. Not telling them WHAT to do - more like teaching them HOW to do.
As for the vacancies, if Pelosi and Schumer were to step aside, there are some seasoned, younger people ready to go. In the Senate, Patty Murray, Rob Wyden, Amy Klobuchar, Ed Markey and Chris Van Hollen have “earned their spurs.”
In the House, Joe Kennedy, Joaquin Castro, Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Speier, Barbara Lee and a dozen more have grounded themselves in the grunt work and earned promotions to leadership.
Democrats are in a much better position to reorganize their Party than are Republicans. They have a more singular set of values, broad enough nearly all can get behind. They can, that is, if they’ll bury the Clinton-Sanders squabbles. That battle is over.
Republicans, on the other hand, are so fractured they don’t have enough “timber” to build the stairs to a platform, much less flooring for a platform itself. It’s to be dearly hoped the GOP will find new, more moderate blood to move things more to the center of the road instead of noisily floundering in the right hand ditch.
Whether Trump will still be there in 2019, is an open question at this point. With or without his divisive presence, real power is likely to shift to Congress and the courts for the next several years. That’s what makes this November’s balloting so damned important.
About 60% of Americans eligible to vote in 2016, did not. And look what happened. Given the damage Trump and his band of unfit minions have done to our government, we cannot afford that again.
Ryan’s exit can mean more than just one zealot being kicked to the political curb. The “attack” by voters has to be twofold: cut the irresponsible and dangerous voices off at the bottom of the ticket and encourage new leadership at the top. (photo/Gager Skidmore)