Paul Ryan: Boss Rat Deserts the Sinking Ship

An increasing number of rats are scurrying down the mooring lines of the foundering Republican Party these days. Not all of them rats, a few, like Jeff Flake, are men of principle, a vanishing breed in today’s Washington. You’d have to be a fool, like Mitch McConnell, to stay on board at this point. That brave captain may go down with his ship uttering the immortal words “balanced budget amendment” with his final breath.

I won’t miss most of them, especially Paul Ryan. I’ve never understood his political allure. The tough-minded bean counting Budgetary Boy Genius who didn’t seem to be able to add one trillion and two trillion together. The freakish prodigy capable of speaking out of more than two sides of his mouth at the same time, often in the same sentence. Donald Trump is losing his most prolific excuse maker. I don’t know what the exact number is but the tally of Ryan’s pronouncements beginning with “If only the President would…” must surely be in the thousands.

He’s gone now, or soon will be, the sooner the better. But I still don’t understand how he got there in the first place. I’m a (sometimes) proud Minnesotan. A lapsed mildly Liberal Democrat searching for a new home. Finding nothing so far. Minnesota has produced many genuine Liberals over the years. Now it produces “progressives” like Minneapolis’s “Mayor Betsy,” the uncrowned Queen of Political Correctness Run Amok.

The real Progressive movement was born in 1934, fathered by Wisconsin Governor Robert La Follette and his two sons. How did Wisconsin make its long journey from borderline Socialism to borderline Fascism? Sure, they had some knuckle-dragging rednecks like “Tail Gunner” Joe McCarthy lurking in the woods, but there must be more to it than that.

I lived in Iowa for five years during the late-70s. It was a state dominated by moderate Republicans then. Had a Governor named Robert Ray who was so well attuned to that moderation that he kept getting re-elected term after term until they nicknamed him “Governor for Life Robert Ray.” He probably wouldn’t make even one term if he was in today’s Iowa. That’s gotta’ be it, in both Iowa and Wisconsin for sure, probably many other states too.

No moderation left, in either party, no room for folks in the “mushy middle” like me. The parties have lurched to the extreme right and left wings of the political spectrum. They’ve purged everyone who didn’t toe their narrow party lines. Extremism has sickened the Republican Party to the point of near death and produced the Great Divider Donald Trump who plays on extremism like a virtuoso. No room in either party for people like me. My old Liberal, sorry Progressive, friends hate me as much as the Trumpies do.

The Republican Party is choking to death on its “fake” Conservative bile, but the Democrats are sick too. The much-maligned Bill Clinton provided a roadmap to Center-Left success, but party “activists” flushed his strategy down the toilet as soon as he was gone. If they don’t recall his political example now they’ll soon be terminal too. Trump’s chaos has given the Democrats a golden opportunity to seize power, but if they don’t get their act together they’re gonna’ blow it, just as they’ve blown it so many times before. I hope they wise up. I’d like to have a political home. I suspect many other Americans would like one too.