The Washington Post is going to give a parrrrty:
Five years ago, Rep. Paul Ryan stood on the House floor, assured of victory. “This is our defining moment,” he said.
On that day in 2011, the House’s new GOP majority approved Ryan’s budget plan — which, in defiance of all political instincts, called for cuts in a government program that voters knew and loved: Medicare. Ryan (R-Wis.), worried about debt, wanted eventually to turn the massive health-benefit program over to private insurers.
At the time, one particular Republican objected loudly and publicly. But he was nobody important — just the host of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
“What he did is political suicide for the Republican Party,” Donald Trumpsaid in an interview recently dug up by Mother Jones.
Today, Ryan — now speaker — still has the House. But Trump, it appears, has the party.
You can feel the WaPo’s glowing: the Tea Party agenda, to pursue entitlement reform and balance the budget, is all but dead!
On Thursday, the two men will meet in Washington, striving for party unity after Ryan refused to endorse Trump’s presidential bid. When he arrives, Trump will have nearly clinched the GOP nomination by running squarely against Ryan’s vision of what Republicanism is.
That’s especially clear on the subject of “entitlement” programs such as Medicare. At the time of Ryan’s greatest strength, Trump is turning the party against the very change that Ryan sought power to achieve.
The saddest part is that they’re probably right. Earlier this week The Donald made clear on Fox Business that he has no intention of supporting Ryan’s agenda. “I’m leaving it the way it is,” he said about Medicare, adding: “I’m going to bring jobs back to the country. We’re going to make our country rich again.”
Just how he wants to make America “rich again” is anyone’s guess. As Ryan understands, Medicare alone is going to bankrupt the nation if it isn’t overhauled. That’s Ryan’s main goal in politics, but Trump wants to have nothing to do with it, even going so far as to call it political suicide. The Speaker knows that saving the country from bankruptcy is worth possibly harming his own career, but The Donald begs to differ. After all, to him everything is about him and his success, not about anyone else, not even about the country’s own wellbeing.
In fact, he feels so strongly about Medicare that it’s the one subject on which he hasn’t flip-flopped, which is saying a lot because Trump is Mr. Flip-flop.
“You can’t get rid of Medicare. It’d be a horrible thing to get rid of. It actually works,” Trump said in November. In a campaign where Trump has constantly changed his mind about what he believes, this is a subject where he’s remained constant. Trump agrees with Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: No cuts to Medicare.
Paul Ryan may not be the most popular Republican in the country, but what’s far more important than popularity is that he’s right about this. Medicare will bankrupt the nation if it isn’t reformed — fast. Trump may not care about that, assuming the roof of the house will come crashing down when he’s no longer in it, but Paul Ryan clearly does. Yes, even if that means he’ll face criticism and even downright hostility because of it.
But isn’t that what being a real leader is all about?