July 28, 2017


Priebus was a bad choice for chief of staff (new presidents often screw this one up the first time), named solely for political reasons in order to placate the hostile GOPe wing of the party, led by Ryan and McConnell, and temperamentally unsuited to the demands of the job, especially give the president’s volatile and mercurial nature. Priebus’s portfolio had shrunk to the size of a cocktail nut, he couldn’t protect his own people (such as Sean Spicer) and he was hopelessly outclassed in the White House game of thrones.

His replacement, Gen. John Kelly, is a far stronger figure. Moving from Homeland Security to the West Wing, he will find the cast of characters no less difficult than the Muslim terrorists and Mexican drug gangs he was battling at DHS, and needs to bring order and discipline to the fractious courtiers. Most expect the next personality clash to come between Kelly and presidential adviser Steve Bannon, but that’s unlikely. Both are military men who understand not only the chain of command but the judicious use of force, emphatically applied when necessary; they ought to get along very well. Plus Kelly has the president’s trust and respect.

The big loser in all this, besides Priebus and the RNC, is speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite and, despite outward appearances, Trump’s principal antagonist in Washington. Given the well-deserved failure of his superfluous “A Better Way” exercise in Big Government, Ryan should already be toast, and restive real conservatives in the House ought now to be plotting ways to oust him. Trump’s very public execution of Priebus ought to remind Ryan that uneasy lies the head…

Stay tuned.

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