April 11, 2018

JOHN PODHORETZ: The Ryan Retirement in Seven Points. Including:

The nature of the Tea Party and post-Tea Party GOP caucus is so fundamentally anti-institutional that the prerogatives of leadership are nothing now in the GOP. If a Republican is elected speaker after the 2018 midterms, it will be interesting to see how long he or she lasts.

2. A Republican likely won’t be elected speaker after the 2018 midterms. Ryan’s decision suggests he and others have seen enough internal data to know their capacity to hold their 23-seat majority is slipping away. Already this morning, another Republican, Dennis Ross of Florida, announced his decision to retire. That makes 42 GOP retirements among the 237 Republican members of the 115th Congress—a number vastly higher than any recent Congress’s. Most of these retirements are in districts a Republican will win anyway. But while all signs have pointed to significant Democratic gains in the 2018 midterms, the Ryan retirement isn’t just a sign. It’s like a fireball from the sky. And it will occasion more retreats and embolden more Democrats.

At the Federalist, Ben Domenech explores “How Paul Ryan Went From Young Gun To Gone:”

It’s easy to forget how Paul Ryan was vilified by the media. For a politician with so few marks against him – the worst thing one could say was that he suggested staffers read Ayn Rand – Ryan was treated incredibly unfairly in 2012 as a vice presidential candidate, with no moment greater than when his policies were described inaccurately by Martha Raddatz in a terribly run debate with no question was even asked about his signature Medicare reform policies.

Ryan’s response to this trend was to grow frustrated, and irritated, but also to carefully and politely explain his policy perspective in more detail, to try and convince his interviewers, to build momentum for the type of Republican Party he thought the nation needed. Donald Trump’s response to this was to punch the media in the face, repeatedly. The voters let us know which response they prefer.

When one of the most milquetoast Republican members of Congress is subjected to this sort of treatment

…is it any wonder why GOP voters prefer someone who pushes back hard?