Boehner Did More for Fiscal Conservatism Than Ryan

What a disappointment Paul Ryan has turned out to be.

The Republican congressman from Wisconsin, who leaves the speakership of the House of Representatives — and politics — early next year, was hailed as the last best hope of fiscal conservatism in the United States, but in fact his much-reviled predecessor, John Boehner, did more to shrink the deficit. Read more “Boehner Did More for Fiscal Conservatism Than Ryan”

Ryan Joins Exodus of House Republicans

Axios reports that prominent Republicans are fleeing Washington DC.

House speaker Paul Ryan is the latest to depart, announcing on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection in November.

About a dozen committee chairmen are giving up their seats as well.

There are two reasons for the exodus:

  1. The expectation that Democrats will win a majority in the House.
  2. Frustration with President Donald Trump. Read more “Ryan Joins Exodus of House Republicans”

How Can Ryan Possibly Believe Trump Should Be President?

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan made headlines on Monday when he said he could no longer defend Donald Trump, his party’s presidential nominee.

But it didn’t take long for commentators to point out that Ryan hadn’t withdrawn his endorsement. So we have the spectacle of the most powerful elected Republican in the country saying he can no longer “defend” his party’s nominee while still supporting the same person to become president of the United States.

Hypocritical? Of course. And for those of us who had high hopes for Ryan, it is profoundly disappointing as well. Read more “How Can Ryan Possibly Believe Trump Should Be President?”

Ryan’s Excuse for Supporting Trump Is Embarrassing

House speaker Paul Ryan announced on Thursday that he would after all vote for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Ryan, the most powerful elected Republican in the country, refused to endorse Trump last month, even after the businessman’s two remaining rivals had suspended their presidential bids.

He had also broken with precedent during the primaries to criticize Trump when the latter proposed to temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the United States. “[This] is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for,” Ryan said at the time.

Now he maintains that he has “more common ground than disagreement” with Trump.

Ryan writes in a local newspaper in his home state of Wisconsin that private conversations with Trump have convinced him that the New Yorker would support his legislative agenda as president.

Which, if he’s honest, either means Ryan has changed his mind on major issues or Trump told him something different in private than what he says in public. Read more “Ryan’s Excuse for Supporting Trump Is Embarrassing”

Ryan Has Long Way to Go to Restore Trust in Politics

Paul Ryan has a long way to go if he wants to restore civility and trust in American politics.

The Republican House leader implicitly criticized many in his own party this week for playing to voters’ fears and undermining their confidence in the institutions of government.

Ryan called for a more confident America, one in which “we question each other’s ideas vigorously, but we don’t question each other’s motives.”

“People with different ideas are not traitors,” he said. “They are not our enemies.”

You wouldn’t know it listening to some of the louder voices on the right. Read more “Ryan Has Long Way to Go to Restore Trust in Politics”

Republicans Overpromised (And Some Know It)

Joshua Green suggests at Bloomberg Politics that there may be a realignment going on inside the Republican Party. Mostly working-class voters are fed up with the broken promises of a Washington “establishment,” he argues, and rallying behind presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump who each in their own way promise to radically shake up the system.

Cruz and Trump between them command the support of just one in two Republicans nationwide, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls. Neither man is likely to win the presidential nomination, let alone the presidency.

In the end, more reasonable, middle-class voters will almost certainly decide the general election and probably the Republican nominating contest as well. They always have.

But their control is slipping. Read more “Republicans Overpromised (And Some Know It)”

Republicans Push Back Against Trump’s Pessimism

Listen to their presidential candidates and you may be forgiven for thinking America’s Republicans see only doom and gloom on the horizon. But there are party leaders with a more hopeful message.

At their most recent debate, broadcast from Charleston, South Carolina by the Fox Business Network, property tycoon Donald Trump, the frontrunner, declared, “Our country is being run by incompetent people.” Health care is a “horror show,” he said. “We have no borders.”

For months, he has said, “Nothing works in our country.”

Ted Cruz, the far-right Texas senator who seems on track to win the first nominating contest in Iowa next month, has spoken in even more apocalyptic terms.

Marco Rubio, another senator, appears to have abandoned the optimism of his earlier campaign. He now maintains that “there may be no turning back for America” if it doesn’t get the 2016 election “right”.

We’re on the verge of being the first generation of Americans that leave our children worse off than ourselves.

The Atlantic Sentinel has argued that such fearmongering may work in a Republican primary election where voters are disproportionately pessimistic after eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Gallup has found that four out of five self-described social conservatives believe America is in moral decline. These are the kind of voters who are motivated to turn out. Read more “Republicans Push Back Against Trump’s Pessimism”

Budget Deal Gives Short-Term Relief, No Long-Term Improvement

Democratic and Republican Party negotiators announced that they had reached a budget deal on Tuesday. If their compromise agreement is accepted in both houses of Congress, it could end some of the uncertainty about government spending and taxes that has dampened growth in the world’s largest economy this year.

The chief negotiators, Democratic senator Patty Murray and Republican congressman Paul Ryan, both described the compromise as a step in the right direction during a news conference in Washington DC. “This bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion, it does not raise taxes and it cuts spending in a smarter way,” said Ryan, who was his party’s vice presidential candidate in last year’s election. Read more “Budget Deal Gives Short-Term Relief, No Long-Term Improvement”

Health, Security Disputes Reveal Republican Divide

Less than a year after Mitt Romney failed to win the American presidency for the Republican Party, the divide between the party’s centrist establishment and conservative purists has widened. But disputes over health-care and national-security policies do not necessarily break down along ideological lines. The one thing they have in common is that they pit Republicans who can win national elections against those who can’t.

Late last month, the combative Republican governor of New Jersey Chris Christie chastised Kentucky’s senator Rand Paul who had been highly critical of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens’ communications. Speaking at the Aspen Institute in Colorado, he characterized Rand’s libertarianism as a “very dangerous thought” and urged the legislator to “come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and orphans” of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that inspired counterterrorism policies that libertarians believe infringe on privacy rights.

Rand responded by accusing the New Jersey leader of demanding pork-barrel spending from Washington when his state is actually a net contributor to the federal budget. Christie has also been successful in reducing his state’s deficit, cutting both spending and taxes and introducing school reforms that are popular on the right. Surveys suggest, however, that in spite of his nationwide appeal to both Democrats and Republicans, the party’s activist base mistrusts him, in part because Christie, whose state was devastated by “superstorm” Sandy last year, heralded President Barack Obama’s hurricane reconstruction efforts just before the presidential election.

A fiscal conservative, Christie nevertheless seems more in tune with his party’s hawkish national security wing and is agnostic about gay marriage. Rand, though a libertarian, opposes gay marriage as well as military adventurism abroad.

Like the Christie-Rand feud, an internal split over how best to derail President Obama’s signature health reform law can be seen as a battle between the party’s establishment and newcomers but the ideological division is actually less clear. Read more “Health, Security Disputes Reveal Republican Divide”

Ryan Seeks Balanced Budget Through Health Savings

Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan unveiled the Republicans’ budget proposal for the fiscal year 2013 on Tuesday which reduces expected spending increases over the next ten years by $4.6 trillion and produces a $7 billion surplus in 2023.

The plan is likely to be adopted in the House of Representatives where Republicans are in the majority but Democrats, who sharply criticized Ryan’s two previous budget plans, are unlikely to approve it in the Senate, especially because more than a third of Ryan’s savings, some $1.8 trillion, comes from repealing President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care reform law. Read more “Ryan Seeks Balanced Budget Through Health Savings”