Back in the halcyon days of last week, Politico worried about “Paul Ryan’s treacherous political future”:
…[T]he speaker’s allies have become keenly aware of his precarious political future, the daunting challenge of governing under a President Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, and the rough task of rebuilding a GOP that many Hill Republicans believe has been overrun by anti-free trade populists who favor bombastic bomb-throwing over thoughtful policy discussions. All while weighing the possibility of his own bid for president, which Ryan did not rule out in a speech on Wednesday.
Whether he goes that route or not, Ryan is likely in for a tumultous next few years. If Trump wins and Ryan retains the speakership, the Wisconsin Republican will be forced to continue to wedge his positions into Trump’s alternate Republican universe.
If Clinton wins, Ryan will have to preside over a slimmed Republican majority, more heavily populated with burn-the-house-down conservatives. He’ll have to cut deals and do business with Hillary Clinton — a woman he’s met with privately just twice — while at the same time keeping conservatives content.
It’s a governing scenario that people close to him are beginning to envision, according to multiple sources in his political orbit — and not a particularly pleasant one…
Today, from Buzzfeed‘s underrated snarkster McKay Coppins:
… In the four months since he formally endorsed his party’s nominee for president, Ryan — the esteemed Speaker of the House, the sterling guardian of conservatism, the intellectual leader of the Republican Party — has been reduced to a miserable Trump flunky sheepishly counting down the hours until the election is over. Each day he spends tethered to the Donald seems to bring some fresh humiliation; each role he inhabits in the entourage proves more undignified than the last. Adviser, apologist, hype man, scold — none brings redemption, or even reprieve. And so he trudges on toward November, a stench of sadness clinging to him as he goes.
Friends and allies, disappointed though many of them are, have tried to show Ryan support in this difficult time. They labor to give him the benefit of the doubt, to rationalize his endorsement — and when they’re defending his honor on the record, they might even find themselves slipping into Messianic metaphors…
“I think he endorsed Trump because he tries to see the best in people, and he hoped that his endorsement would be a down payment on a new and improved Trump,” said Katie Packer, a friend of Ryan’s who served as Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager in 2012.
“Unfortunately,” she added, Ryan’s policy agenda “has been hijacked by Donald Trump,” and “I think there will be some who find it hard to forgive his support” of the nominee.
Sources close to the Speaker said he endorsed Trump in June in hopes of gaining access to the candidate’s inner-circle and steering him away from his more destructive behavior. Ryan also believed he could convince Trump to infuse his platform with more orthodox conservative policy…
Translation from the weaselspeak: Ryan hoped he could bamboozle Trump’s handlers, and introduce them to the hallowed GOP tradition of “dogwhistling” racism/sexism/xenophobia. Bad guess, Paulie!
…Whatever the reason, Ryan has seemed to grow more visibly dyspeptic about his lot in life since returning to Washington. At a press conference last month, he became uncharacteristically testy with reporters when they asked him about Trump’s proclamation that Vladimir Putin was a stronger leader than President Obama.
“Do you think I’m going to stand up here and be an election pundit?” Ryan responded sharply. “I’ve got other things to do in this job. Yeah, he’s the nominee of our party, because he won our nomination fair and square. I’m not going to sit up here and do the tit for tat on what Donald said last night, or the night before, and Hillary versus Donald. That is not my job, and I’m not going to be the election year pundit commenting on all these little things. I’ll leave it at that.”…
You call yourself a Catholic, Mr. Ryan; you should’ve remembered the warning about avoiding the near occasion of sin. Trump’s philosophy is not much different than yours — he’s just more honest about his own selfishness and greed.
Go cry on your hero Ayn Rand’s grave, ya little blue-eyed weasel.