The GOP’s True Problems

The Sunday New York Times carried two very informative political articles.

The first was written by Jackie Calmes, entitled, “Paul Ryan’s Worst Ally.” The article begins by questioning, how could Mr. Ryan, for years his party’s self-styled ideas guy, share power with a President Trump whose ill-formed, often baffling ideas are – in significant cases – the opposite of his own and of conservatives on trade, Medicare and Social Security, immigration policy and more.

Ms. Calmes asks can Mr. Ryan himself compromise in the interest of getting legislation signed into law? Many in both parties have come to doubt it after 17 years in which the 46-year-old congressman from Wisconsin has held increasingly influential positions in the House, with Republicans holding a majority for all but four of those years.

She goes on to say this is, after all, someone whose self-described “bold ideas” have never gained liftoff – he has rarely taken the really bold step of writing them into legislation with specifics. “He has actually proposed three, total, three bills that have become law in his entire career dating back to 1999,” said David Canon, chairman of the Political Science Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. One named for a post office, a second changed taxes on arrows used by deer hunters and a third, this year, established a $3 million presidential commission on “evidence-based policy making.”

“Paul Ryan is not a detail kind of legislator in terms of putting bills together to pass and he never has been,” Professor Canon said.

Ms. Calmes writes, “As he promised on becoming speaker in January, Mr. Ryan rolled out a series of aspirational ideas packaged with help from his Republican colleagues on poverty, healthcare, taxes, government regulation and national security – not to vote on, but to take to voters. He calls his agenda, ‘A Better Way.’”

What really is a “Better Way?” In the past, it’s only been a collection of old rigid conservative ideas posing as a new way forward.

This serves as the basis of the second Times’ article entitled, “How Trump can save the GOP?” The author Sam Tanenhaus says the conservatives should thank Donald Trump for exposing their problems, a fetish of ideological rectitude at the expense of meeting the needs of the voters.

It is Mr. Trump who is finally addressing the voters’ real economic concerns. Donald Trump did not luck into where he is today.

He obliterated 16 rivals and won 37 states, gaining more votes than any Republican presidential candidate.

No longer will slogans as “The Silent Majority,” “The Forgotten Man” or “The Moral Majority” be enough to win the day. People want solutions to the authentic distress still troubling millions who have been struggling in the Obama years.

Rather than proposing concrete programs to help the middle class, Mr. Tanenahaus writes, “And the poor, the elite, continue to insist that the gravest threat to our economic security comes from government itself.”

No, as Donald Trump says, free trade policies are “moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas.” Unless the policies are reversed “the inner cities will remain poor, the factories will remain closed” and the special interests with all their cheap talk and no action will remain firmly in charge.