Paul Ryan Reproached Matt Gaetz

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 03: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan with Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The reports this week some members of the House of Representatives did not wish to be in the same camera lens coverage with Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz must be resonating for the former Speaker.

It was reported by CNN that Gaetz was not only a pain in the rear-end for the GOP leadership, but actually was acting so out-of-bounds that then-House Speaker Paul Ryan had to take action. He held a short meeting with Gaetz in the Capitol during the Florida Congressman’s first term in 2017. They reportedly had a discussion about “acting professionally while in Congress”. It needs to be noted that two sources provided that nugget to the all-news network.

My personal take on this matter cuts right to the core. Would not the very fact a person runs for and wins a congressional seat mean they have the professional behavior and foundations already in place? After all, voters hope that “acting professionally” is already a given once elected. But then to act in such a fashion as to create a need to be reproached by the Speaker to ‘up your game’ must have been a real blow. (Yet, one that clearly was required.)

The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and potentially violated federal laws against sex trafficking in the process, as we know from the reporting by The New York Times.

Voters need to be mindful of the brash and rude who ask for political support. If not careful they can elect a Matt Gaetz.

And so it goes.

House Speaker Paul Ryan And The Art Of Leadership

I have found it interesting watching House Speaker Paul Ryan try to navigate the choppy factions of his caucus and thread the needle of a relationship with Donald Trump.  No one can envy his job, even though we can be exasperated with the outcomes it produces.

After allowing the tail to wag the dog to the point the legislative branch in Washington looks bedraggled, Ryan finally found his strong voice this week.  In a forthright fashion Ryan broke with Donald Trump concerning citizenship conferred on babies born in the United States.  That such a matter is even one that Ryan, or any other member of congress needs to address, is more evidence of how far removed our nation is from concentrating on the real issues which require our attention.

Ryan made it clear that even though Trump would like to sign an executive order to undermine the Constitution he will not be able to do so.   Earlier Trump said in an interview–with two stunned journalists–that the White House counsel had advised him there was legal standing to terminate birthright citizenship.  Every high school civics class surely sat in shock knowing they were more aware of our Constitution than the president.

“Well, you obviously cannot do that,” was the way Ryan handled the matter when asked about it by a reporter. “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”

It would have been appropriate for the interviewer to have asked Ryan why it had taken so long for the speaker to find his voice?  Did Ryan, in not acting with the power he held as speaker over the past two years, take any responsibility for the national chaos that has ensued?

While we can all agree with Ryan’s view of the 14th Amendment one has to ask why there was such a reluctance for the legislative branch to stand up to the numerous unconstitutional and illegal actions which Trump has been engaged in?  Now that the end of his congressional days are in sight Ryan finds his voice.

“You know, as a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.”

Ryan, like many Republicans who term themselves as conservatives, have tried to explain they needed to cozy up to Trump so to get issues passed such as tax cuts, eliminating regulations, and placing judges on the court.   But I would argue all that misses the mark by a mile for conservatives with a conscience.

The anchors that once held conservatives tight have been cut lose. Many conservatives sold out for the very things they spoke out against for decades.  Moral relativism and moral equivalency are now the new ties that bind Trump with his party, and with his base of supporters.  As long as that means election victories many conservatives are willing to sell out what they once viewed as deeply held beliefs.

Ryan was fine with backing off his conservative principals if he could have a seat at the table of power.  But in so doing he muted his own voice.  There is no way he could reason the Trump phenomenon was somehow a natural extension of conservatism.  There is no way since so much of what Trump praises runs counter to the bedrock principles of conservative thinkers and writers. Should we start with deficit spending?  Trade wars?

Now Ryan has his back up when it comes to the issue of the 14th Amendment.  In, and of itself, that is a good thing.  Truly justifiable. But it looks so odd to see him in this strident position.  It is also painful to know his needed leadership could have been marshaled, time and again, over the past two years for the sake of the nation.

Leadership is something that one can try for and never attain.  Or it can be thrust upon the shoulders of a person, such as it did with President Bush on 9/11.  I wonder how historians will consider the missed opportunity when Speaker Ryan could have been the voice of opposition from within his party to the actions of Trump?

House Conservatives Wish To Politicize Justice–House Speaker Ryan Pushes Back

Bad news all the way around for those who wish to undermine law and order—and politicize justice.
Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed a push by House conservatives to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The Wisconsin Republican said the Department of Justice was largely complying with the GOP demand for documents surrounding the FBI’s Russia investigation.
“I don’t think we should be cavalier with this process or this term,” he said of impeachment. “I don’t think this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday threw his support behind Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was recently targeted by conservative Republicans in Congress moving to impeach him over his handling of the Russia investigation.
“Rod Rosenstein is highly capable. . . . I have the highest confidence in him,’’ Sessions said in Boston.
Senior Justice Department officials have rejected the criticism of House conservatives and described historic levels of cooperation with Congress to share files connected to the FBI investigations of Hillary Clinton’s email server and Trump campaign contacts with Russia

“No One Is Above The Law.” — Speaker Paul Ryan

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he’s seen no evidence to contradict Congressman Trey Gowdy’s recent assessment that the FBI acted responsibly when it deployed an informant to make contact with associates of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“I think Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate,” said Ryan, who was one of a handful of lawmakers, including Gowdy, briefed by the Justice Department on the FBI’s use of an informant. “I have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment Chairman Gowdy has made.”

Trump has claimed repeatedly, without evidence, that the FBI placed a spy in his campaign for political purposes, dubbing it  stupidly as “Spygate.”

Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Tom Roone, a top lawmaker on the House Intelligence Committee, is ripping Trump’s unsupported claim that the FBI inserted a spy inside his campaign, Politico reports.

Said Rooney: “What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the campaign when there was none? You know what I’m saying? It’s like, ‘Lets create this thing to tweet about knowing that it’s not true.’ … Maybe it’s just to create more chaos but it doesn’t really help the case.”

Farm Tip For Paul Ryan: Never Try To Milk A Bull

The sweeping farm bill failed at passage in the House and thus makes for yet another colossal embarrassment to GOP leaders who were unable to placate conservatives demanding commitments on immigration.

Kicking the brown-skinned people during the farm bill debate is too ironic even for bad jokes–though I trust late night comics will connect the dots.

What I am stunned at from a purely political playbook type of reasoning is why the Republican leadership put the bill on the floor knowing that there was a very good chance it would fail?  There was, after all, unanimous Democratic opposition.

The ultra right were not going to budge or compromise and so the gamble by Speaker Ryan  was a huge stain on his ‘ability’ to run the House.   The vote was 198-213.

Those who follow farm policy at major news organizations are saying the vote today may preclude any bill passing this year.  (Are farmers who voted Republican winning so much they are now tired of it?)

But what I am truly interested in is the damage caused by Ryan on those in leadership who jumped off the cliff with him–but want to climb higher come January in a new congress,.  Nothing looks worse for someone seeking a leadership position than to have the stench of a major loss wafting about.

Once more the Republican Party continues to showcase to the nation the depth of their inability to govern.

Paul Ryan Office Filled With Slow Readers–Meanwhile Patrick J. Conroy Waits

In a two-page letter, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy informed Ryan that he gave in to pressure from the speaker’s staff when he agreed in mid-April to resign, believing that Ryan had the power to fire him, but the chaplain now believes he was pressured into the resignation for lack of cause.

“I have never been disciplined, nor reprimanded, nor have I ever heard a complaint about my ministry during my time as House chaplain,” Conroy wrote.

Ryan had told House Republicans at a closed-door meeting last week that he had received complaints about Conroy about his pastoral style and believed that replacing the Catholic priest was in the best interest of the institution.

He said the dismissal was not motivated by Conroy’s political views or a prayer the Jesuit gave in November on the House floor when the chamber was debating a tax bill.

Ryan’s aides were reported to be still waiting to fully read the letter–Good Lord it is only TWO pages!  

Paul Ryan Does Not Act Like A Christian

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur does not believe House Speaker Paul Ryan has authority to remove Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy without a vote of the entire House.  Based on her reasoning she is exploring legislation to prevent his ouster.

Conroy submitted a letter of resignation April 15 at the speaker’s request that was read on the House floor the following day.  Ryan’s spokeswoman attempted to spin the PR mess after confirming that Ryan sought the Jesuit priest’s resignation.

Conroy delivered a prayer on the tax overhaul, and people on the Hill know this is the reason he was asked to leave.   Conroy told some congressmen in private that he only intended the prayer to speak of the need for the tax bill to help everyone.

“As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all Members be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle,” Conroy said during his Nov. 6 prayer on the House floor.  “May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”

There is clearly a message in the Bible about justice, fairness, and the ways we should treat the least among us.  But when Conroy made that point in the most gentle of ways the harsh lash of angry conservatives landed on his back.

Paul has again proved that there are two sides to his life. One is the public folksy dad who eats apple pie and only works hard for his country.  But the other side of Ryan is a hard-ass who will use the reins of power to bluster and crush others.  I will leave it to the religious scholars to attempt to square Ryan into being a Christian.

Paul Ryan Flees Sinking Ship

This is no surprise.  But it does, nonetheless, add to the growing narrative about the fate which will unfold this fall for the Republican Party.

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election shakes up the GOP leadership.  But it also is mighty important to Democrats in Wisconsin as it impacts Ryan’s party’s ability to hold his congressional seat.  While it is true that his seat was considered safe, that was due to Ryan being the candidate.  But with a Republican newcomer in what will be a Blue Wave cycle the best the GOP can call this seat is leaning Republican.

There is no doubt this seat will require work from the Democrats if they are to strike pay dirt.  In the recent, nonpartisan election for the state supreme court, the more liberal candidate, Rebecca Dallet, won statewide by 12 points but lost the First Congressional District by 6 points,

As this news about Ryan is made today from Washington Democratic candidate Randy Bryce continues building a massive war chest. “Ironstache” as he is affectionately termed had $1.3 million in the bank on Dec. 31 and raised another $2.1 million in the first three months of this year.  Not shabby at all.

Things might alter a bit in the fundraising arm of this race as Ryan will no longer be the political target.   Still, this race is going to get national coverage and be a bellwether for the mood of Wisconsin and the nation.