The Paul Ryan Roll-Out

The speech vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan delivered this morning gives a sense of the quality you get from being in a room with him: He’s not a fire-breather. He’s unflappable and unadorned, combining plain-spokenness with almost offhanded rhetorical hints of the deeper philosophy undergirding his opinions (“our rights are from nature and God, not from government”). This wasn’t a populist spark-plug of a speech the way Sarah Palin’s dazzling out-of-nowhere introduction to America was in 2008; it was a calm elaboration of themes already articulated by the Romney campaign. Most important, he and Romney both spoke of saving Medicare, indicating that they have already thought long and hard about the attack that will be waged against them because Ryan’s famous budget changes the structure of Medicare for everybody under 55. The line being proffered before the speech was that Mitt Romney had chosen a vice-presidential candidate who will effectively become the presidential candidate because Romney has no ideas and Ryan has a million. That is a fundamental misunderstanding of the game going forward. Romney is the candidate, and he will pick and choose from Ryan’s ideas at will; it is Ryan who will have to say, as George H.W. Bush said, that he understands his ideas have been superseded by his boss’s. Remember, he’s voted many times for legislation he presumably didn’t really like (Medicare Part D, TARP, the auto bailout) because of political necessity.

0
Shares
Google+ Print

The Paul Ryan Roll-Out

Must-Reads from Magazine

Michael Flynn and the Conservative Spidey-Sense

Trouble from minute one.

Something was off about Michael Flynn, the retired Army lieutenant general whose brief tenure as Donald Trump’s first national security adviser has landed him in legal hot water. Flynn promoted the so-called alt-right. He dallied with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin propaganda network RT (formerly “Russia Today”). And his anti-Islamism too often became indistinguishable from bigotry against Muslims. Yet Trumpian hard-liners adored Flynn, while the softer Trumpians in the GOP establishment suppressed their Spidey-sense and played down criticism of the general’s judgment.

6
Shares
Google+ Print

Maybe We Should Just Shut Up?

A preventable tragedy?

For millions of earnest and frustrated Americans, there is no justice today. Not in California, at least.

18
Shares
Google+ Print

What Tillerson Got Right

Calling out genocide.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that the Trump administration is preparing to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the coming weeks. The White House and the State Department denied the story, which was sourced to unnamed senior administration officials. “Secretary Tillerson enjoys this job,” a State spokesperson told reporters. “He has a lot of work to do.” Even so, rumors of Tillerson’s imminent departure have been swirling in Washington for months. The former Exxon Mobil CEO reportedly takes a dim view of Donald Trump, and the president has in turn undercut Tillerson’s diplomacy with his wild tweeting on more than one occasion.

3
Shares
Google+ Print

The Coming Entitlement Reform Panic

An avoidable crisis.

Despite its unpopularity, the tax code overhaul seems to have enough Republican votes to pass in the Senate. After almost a year of comic pratfalls in Congress, the GOP is set to realize some of the agenda on which its members campaigned over the course of the last half decade—campaigns that won them total control of the federal government. Republicans shouldn’t expect any laurels for their efforts. Things are only going to get harder from there, particularly if they move on to the next logical and most urgent phase of the Republican Party’s long-stated mission: reforming entitlements. Already, the journalistic and Democratic political establishments are stoking as much consternation over that necessary project as possible.

32
Shares
Google+ Print

Are Trump’s Tweets Helping the Tax Bill?

Podcast: Crazy like a fox?

On the second COMMENTARY podcast of the week, we ask whether the constant swirl of dust around the president might actually be helping the Senate Republicans convince members to vote for tax reform because they are not constantly center stage as they were during the repeal-Obamacare debate. And we wonder whether Nancy Pelosi has brought a Democratic Tea Party down on her own head. Give a listen.

3
Shares
Google+ Print