Confining Trump to a Trappist monastery for three months might help a bit. But it might not: much of the damage has already been done.
.. Balderson probably owes his win to a late endorsement ad cut by GOP Gov. John Kasich, not a late rally by President Trump,
.. Trump’s support among white voters without a college degree fell from fifty-seven per cent in June to forty-nine per cent in July.
And his disapproval rating went from thirty-six per cent to forty-seven per cent.
.. But there is no such doubt about how Trump turns off many affluent, college-educated Republicans.
.. “This is all of a piece with the intuition nationally that college-educated whites are turning away from the Republican Party in reaction to Donald Trump’s presidency,”
.. White House aides are now “mapping out plans for the fall that would offer a variety of options to Republican candidates, including visits by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump to blue states and presidential tweets to bolster red-state allies.”
.. the thinking is to use Trump to boost turnout in areas where he is popular, but to keep him away from latte-sipping Republicans in the ’burbs
.. It’s fanciful to imagine that he could spend September and October whipping up his diehard supporters at rallies in places such as Charleston, West Virginia, and Bismarck, North Dakota, without entering the consciousness of Republican voters in the areas surrounding Chicago, Columbus, and Philadelphia.
.. it’s looking like House Speaker Paul Ryan and roughly three dozen other House Republicans knew what they were doing when they announced that they would retire instead of seek reëlection this year.
Among his most egregious failures has been his refusal to rein in House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who, in concert with the White House, created a phony “unmasking” scandal and released a misleading memo casting aspersions on the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in connection with the warrant to conduct surveillance on suspected spy Carter Page. As Nunes’s crowd, together with the president, now threatens to reveal a secret FBI and CIA source, in an unprecedented breach of the House’s intelligence oversight responsibilities, the extent of Ryan’s reckless disregard for his oath becomes clear.
.. Indeed, had the FBI failed to follow up on evidence that a presidential campaign was engaged in secret communications with a foreign government, it would have been excoriated for dereliction of duty. Moreover, none of this was revealed during the campaign — in stark contrast to the airing of the allegations against Hillary Clinton for misuse of email
.. At any stage in this outrageous attack on American intelligence operations and the Justice Department, Ryan could have stepped in to replace members of the Intelligence Committee, to reprimand them and/or to rebuff the president’s attempt to interfere with and smear investigators seeking to uncover an attack on our democracy. Should the source be revealed, endangering lives and/or national intelligence-gathering, the blame should fall at least in part on Ryan.
.. The bureau took steps to protect other live investigations that he has worked on and sought to lessen any danger to associates if his identity became known
.. Ryan’s legacy will be not only of someone who politically enabled an unfit president, but also of someone who presided over the erosion of trust required for a proper intelligence oversight process.
.. Ryan has done his party no favors in permitting it to become irrational conspiratorialists and antagonists of our intelligence community. His passivity has only encouraged Trump to abuse his powers
.. Perhaps he should retire now. Any temporary replacement could hardly do a worse job for the remaining months of the GOP majority.
Now Paul Ryan is announcing that he’s retiring — after saying “I ain’t going anywhere” in December — and the outlook for Republicans is grim, both in the 2018 midterms and beyond.
.. “Ryan has never loved the job; he oozes aggravation when discussing intraparty debates over ‘micro-tactics,’ and friends say he feels like he’s running a daycare center.”
.. By July, the House of Representatives had passed a slew of big bills, only to watch them slowly die in the Senate. He’s also trying to work with a president who flips from priority to priority (
- North Korea!
- ) and a constantly-changing White House staff. It’s hard to generate any sustained momentum for key legislation.
.. At least some of this year’s mass GOP retirements stem from a sense that little can really get done in Trump’s Washington, so you might as well do something else more lucrative... The guy who liberals depicted throwing granny off the cliff . . . was also the kind of man goes into drug treatment centers, touches the scars from the “track marks” of heroin addicts, and prays with and for them. He was portrayed as some sort of heartless Ayn Rand acolyte when he emphasized how conservatives needed to find solutions for poverty. He was civil, well-informed, polite, and firm, the opposite of a table-pounding, demagogic extremist, and that probably just aggravated his critics on the left even more
The ships are leaving the sinking rat.
That’s the moral of Paul Ryan’s unexpected but not surprising announcement this week that he will give up the speakership
.. Many of these Republicans once believed that Donald Trump alone possessed the kind of political virility needed to vanquish Hillary Clinton and make America great again. Only belatedly have they figured out that the virility comes with a case of syphilis.
.. “The litmus test for being a Republican these days is not about any given set of ideals or principles; it’s about loyalty to the man, and I think that’s challenging.”
.. The world will little note nor long remember that in 2017 Republicans cut the top marginal rate to 37 percent from 39.6 percent and otherwise tried but failed to kill Obamacare
.. A conservative rejoinder to this critique is that the speaker had no choice; that Trump was the lemon with which he had to make lemonade. Nonsense. Congress and the White House are coequals, and Ryan and other Republicans who saw Trump for what he is never owed him obeisance. They owed the country an alternative political vision, untainted by Trumpism, which could emerge from the debacle of this presidency with clean hands. Ryan’s failure to deliver one will be remembered as the central fact of his once-bright career.
.. Is there an alternative?
Among Republicans, Ohio’s John Kasich, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, and Arizona’s Jeff Flake and John McCain have sought in different ways to offer one, without immediate success but with integrity, honor and a sense of the long view.
.. “The center-right and center-left are still joined by a broad set of common values, including respect for free speech and dissent, a belief in the benefits of international trade and immigration, respect for law and procedural legitimacy, a suspicion of cults of personality, and an understanding that free societies require protection from authoritarians promising easy fixes to complex problems.”