On Wednesday Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he would not seek reelection and retire in January. It had been speculated for quite some time that Ryan would not run again and the fact he never refuted those rumors led most to conclude that it was in fact true. We can argue infinitum why Ryan chose such a path. His stated reason was that he wanted to concentrate on being a dad and husband. Fine, if that’s what he wants us to believe. But the real issue here is what kind of legacy does he leave behind? What will the history books record of Ryan’s leadership in the House of Representatives? Hint: it won’t be kind.
The one time darling of the Tea Party has disappointed on many levels, not least of which is his disturbing tolerance of the current President of the United States. During the 2016 campaign Ryan was much more critical of candidate Trump. It’s quite clear he never expected Trump to win in the first place, thus criticizing him never had the sort of political risk that it did once Trump won the election. But since January 20, 2017 Ryan and his equally sycophantic counterpart in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have done their level best to let Trump off the hook on so many levels. Frankly, the complicity of the entire Republican Party when it comes to Trump will end up haunting them for years to come.
For Ryan, it appears the reason for such deference to Trump was for no other reason than to make sure he could get the recent massive tax giveaway to the wealthy passed in congress. Yes, on that he was successful. Who can forget the smiling faces and back slapping with Trump at the White House ceremony celebrating the tax cut? This will be Ryan’s legacy. The Congressional Budget Office just released it’s projections for the next ten years with the recent tax cut included. Trillions in deficits and debt as far as the eye can see. And with those deficits and debt on the horizon, it was no coincidence that Ryan professed the need for ‘entitlement reform.’ This has been the playbook exercised by Ryan and his republican friends for decades now. It’s what he has lived for since his college keg party days. By cutting taxes so much, revenues get reduced and the only way to ‘save’ us from fiscal catastrophe is to go after entitlements and stick it to the middle-class. Yes Paul Ryan, this is your legacy. You have achieved what you always wanted. You even tolerated the most dangerous and unqualified president in the history of the United States to do it. Thanks for your service Paul Ryan. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.