Paul Ryan Caught in a Vise Squeeze Between Trump and the Freedom Caucus

by Kerry Eleveld –

The White House can’t figure out what’s going wrong. From the health care debacle to keeping the government funded, Donald Trump has been a steady force on one end of Pennsylvania Avenue while Paul Ryan flails all over the place. Politico writes:

The Wisconsin Republican’s failure last month to persuade his conference to pass his Obamacare replacement plan forced the White House to intervene. On top of that, the most critical piece of his tax reform plan has been dismissed by many Republicans.

The setbacks threaten to relegate the speaker to playing a backup role to the White House in the looming debate over tax reform, the speaker’s longtime pet issue.

Okay, please, please let the White House take the lead on tax reform. As GOP Rep. Dave Camp said in an article handicapping their chances for tax success following the Trumpcare fail: “Health care is 20 percent of the economy, but tax reform is 100 percent of the economy.” In other words, if the White House thought Obamacare repeal was a tough negotiation, wait until they tackle an issue in which 100 percent of Americans have an interest.

Anyway, Ryan hasn’t checked off anything on Trump’s agenda yet—a head scratcher for White House aides, who are here to help.

They also have undermined the influence of [Ryan’s] position, as conservatives sidestep him to negotiate directly with the White House and moderates grow frustrated that they’re being steamrolled by a White House too busy courting the far right. […]

Without so much as a heads-up to the speaker, Trump administration officials last week began whispering to reporters that an Obamacare repeal vote was expected Wednesday, the day after lawmakers returned from recess.

That wasn’t Ryan’s plan at all; his team needed time to whip votes for the compromise the White House struck with wary conservatives. But impatient senior Trump officials wanted to pressure Ryan to move fast, administration and Hill sources said.

Smart thinking. If there’s anyone who knows how to fumble a deal, it’s Trump: Go in strong with a total nonstarter, then continually weaken your position till the whole thing implodes. Just like the White House did on Trump’s wall funding.

All this losing has conservatives questioning their one-time GOP wonder boy.

“Everyone has always said he’s this policy genius, who is the future of the party when it’s, ‘Actually, you gave us a half-baked bill that the Senate hates, conservatives hate and moderates hate,’” the [GOP] source continued. “We think that’s probably going to be his hardest thing to come back from; we lost faith in him as a policy maker.”

Whoa—Republicans catching on that Ryan isn’t the “policy genius” he was billed as. Goodness, next they’ll discover trickle-down economics doesn’t work. And then it’s End Times, folks. Prepare.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos