Speaker Ryan?

Seems that a lot of people want him in the position – and he’s highly reluctant to do it. Partially this would be because as Chairman of Ways and Means, he’s already one of the most powerful people in Washington; another part would be that Speaker is a thankless job…but I think another part of it would be a supreme lack of ambition on the part of the man. And that, in and of itself, commends him highly for the job.

First off, let me say I’m not one of the scorched-earth variety of conservative. I do believe that compromise is necessary to get anything done in DC, unless by some miracle you wind up with the White House and a massive majority in Congress – and everyone is pretty much on the same page. That happens very rarely. Running through the history I can really only think of three times it happened – early in the Civil War when the secession of the South left the GOP is absolute control in DC, and when the Democrats blew out the GOP in the 30’s and 60’s. Other than that, if you want to get things done, you have to offer at least something to the minority party, even if it is in practical terms eye wash.

That said, I do believe that the problem with the Congressional GOP is the fear of a fight on principle. Part of this is, of course, because some of them lack any principles – they are in politics for purely personal ambition and they are only GOP because they wound up living in an area of the country where the GOP is dominant…move some of them to the San Francisco Bay Area and in a week they’d become ultra liberal because that is how you get ahead (and don’t let us kid ourselves – a lot of liberal Democrats are just like that…move them to a GOP area of the country and watch them shift to the right to maintain electoral viability). Another part of it is that a lot of people who go into politics are really small people – pitiable creatures who are kept up awake at night by a hostile leading article in a newspaper; who worry what their perceived betters in the socio-economic food chain might think of them; who’s greatest fear is being found on the “wrong” side of an issue. The combination of this has hamstrung the GOP, especially – because our leaders, unlike the Democrat leaders, are mostly a mixture of the two things – the unprincipled and the afraid. Of course, Democrats do have it easier – the MSM, largely being of the left, shields the Democrat leadership from the fires of public scorn. But even with that advantage, the bottom line is that the Democrat leaders are willing to fight. Say what you will of Reid and Pelosi, they do go to the mat and get down and dirty in the political game…more then willing to take a hit in order to advance the Democrat ball.

These facts are just common to democratic governance – the chances that any particular person entering politics will be a genius along the lines of Lincoln are just as good that any particular person entering music composition will be a Mozart. That is, the chances are just about zero. These people who rule in our name are made of the common clay of humanity – heir to all the follies of humanity. But in the normal run of events, most of the time the people who rise to the top do have something extra…that extra bit of drive or intellect or simple desire to make things work. They are willing to take risks – even risks which can ruin them, if it comes out badly. For some reason or another, since the fall of Gingrich, the Congressional GOP has lacked anyone on top who has that little extra. This is why I welcome this bit of disarray in our ranks – it means that we’re about to shake things up. Now, maybe we roll snake eyes and get even worse leadership…but maybe we get lucky and hit the jackpot.

I don’t know if Ryan is the jackpot – but he’s certainly better than the current crop of leadership, while still retaining that “insider” status which makes him acceptable to the unprincipled and the afraid. And, just perhaps, he’ll be able to craft a strategy to advance our agenda, and prove he has the mettle to stand up to the slings and arrows…making himself the willing target of abuse. I guess we’ll see – if Ryan accepts it, and then if he can do the job.

14 thoughts on “Speaker Ryan?

  1. Retired Spook October 9, 2015 / 9:10 am

    It’s my understanding that one of Ryan’s stumbling blocks WRT throwing his hat in the ring for Speaker is that he and his wife have 3 young children, and he returns home to Wisconsin virtually every weekend to be with them, a routine that would be totally incompatible with the demands of the speakership.

    OT, but more proof (as if we needed it) that Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • M. Noonan October 10, 2015 / 12:13 am

      Read an article today over at Psychology Today, and it will depress you mightily:

      A year ago I received an invitation from the head of Counseling Services at a major university to join faculty and administrators for discussions about how to deal with the decline in resilience among students. At the first meeting, we learned that emergency calls to Counseling had more than doubled over the past five years. Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life. Recent examples mentioned included a student who felt traumatized because her roommate had called her a “bitch” and two students who had sought counseling because they had seen a mouse in their off-campus apartment. The latter two also called the police, who kindly arrived and set a mousetrap for them.

      Faculty at the meetings noted that students’ emotional fragility has become a serious problem when it comes to grading. Some said they had grown afraid to give low grades for poor performance, because of the subsequent emotional crises they would have to deal with in their offices. Many students, they said, now view a C, or sometimes even a B, as failure, and they interpret such “failure” as the end of the world. Faculty also noted an increased tendency for students to blame them (the faculty) for low grades—they weren’t explicit enough in telling the students just what the test would cover or just what would distinguish a good paper from a bad one. They described an increased tendency to see a poor grade as reason to complain rather than as reason to study more, or more effectively. Much of the discussions had to do with the amount of handholding faculty should do versus the degree to which the response should be something like, “Buck up, this is college.” Does the first response simply play into and perpetuate students’ neediness and unwillingness to take responsibility? Does the second response create the possibility of serious emotional breakdown, or, who knows, maybe even suicide?…

      Liberalism is, indeed, a mental disorder – that wouldn’t be so bad but it has so badly infected our whole society that we are creating a generation of moral, intellectual and emotional cripples.

      To be sure, I’m certain that all of us can point out some youngsters who are all anyone can wish them to be – but I think a very large portion of the upcoming generation has been so coddled that they can’t function as adults. Reading this and thinking about it, I recalled a bit of my childhood. I lived in San Diego and hard by my neighborhood was Tecolote Canyon – these days a bit clipped and barbered by the city, back then a nearly wild area right smack in the middle of the city. Through it runs Tecolote creek – most of the time a mere trickle of water, but during a rain a roaring torrent. Now, can you guess what a bunch of 12 year old boys back in 1977 would do when there was a heavy rain? Of course you can – because back in your day, you would have as well: go down to the creek and either try to raft it or cross it or swing out over it on a rope. It wasn’t just a little bit dangerous – it was frightfully dangerous! And that, of course, was the appeal – to test our budding manhood by challenging ourselves. As it was, I was one of the more ‘fraidy cat kids…but I took my turn at the rope swing over the raging torrent or the jagged rocks…because it was fun; because my friends were doing it; because I didn’t want to be less than they were.

      A few times kids like me died doing that – no one I knew, but we all could see it on the news. Didn’t deter us in the least – and didn’t get our parents into a snit and start ordering us away from the area…mostly, of course, because we never even bothered to tell our parents that is where we were going. Why would we? We were only a couple miles, at most, from home. No biggie. We also, down in that area, all had our first beer, our first cigarette…

      We were growing up – learning to be adults by being away from adults. These days, parents and adults are hovering over their kids…and the kids never get around to having a few hard knocks to teach them that life isn’t fair, that success requires effort, that people can be mean…but, also, that good friends are a great thing and you want to do the world for them, simply because they are friends.

      If we don’t turn this around, it is going to be a frightening world to live in when I hit 70.

      • Retired Spook October 10, 2015 / 8:03 am

        I read this article last week, and my reaction was the same as yours. I hope I’m not around to see it, but we may well be on the verge of seeing “survival of the fittest” writ large in the coming years. The majority of young people are simply not equipped to deal with bad things, and bad things are coming. With each passing day there’s less and less doubt in my mind about that.

        I remember as a kid playing down by a river that ran a few blocks from my house. I was only 8 when we moved away, but I played with kids as old as 10 or 12. Not only did my mom not worry about me falling in the river and drowning, (I learned to swim when I was 5) she had no idea what we were doing. The last thing I’d hear was “be home by dinner” — or, if I went out after dinner in the summer, “be home by dark.”

        As I got older my first taste of independence was my bicycle, and the city limits was no boundary. I bought my first squirrel rifle (a Marlin model 60 .22) when I was 13, and weekends would see me an a couple buddies riding to a woods just west of Fort Wayne (and 5 miles from my house) with the rifle slung across the handlebars — or a fishing rod if we were going fishing instead of hunting. There were 4 of us who were inseparable, and none of us ever suffered any life threatening injuries until our government saw fit to send two of my friends to be cannon fodder in a far-away hell hole called Viet Nam. Both of their names are on the wall.

      • Bob Eisenhower October 10, 2015 / 10:44 am

        I don’t know. It seems like every generation disdains the younger generation. I bet the parents of The Greatest Generation thought their kids were hopeless, same as we feel about this generation.

        It was the challenges that made the Greatest Generation the greatest generation. Had the 30s and 40s been peace and prosperity I bet our heroes from that day would still be living at home playing X-Box. Yes, I picture Patton and MacArthur on Patton’s mom’s sofa playing X-Box. Circa 1955.

        Frankly, I hope their is no dire crisis that turns this generation of crybabies into Pattons, but I am confident they would do just that, were an existential crisis hit the U.S. The are Americans, after all. (annoying Americans, but still Americans)

  2. Marc Lee October 10, 2015 / 9:09 am

    My Gosh, that IS a depressing article. I knew much had changed but didn’t dream it was as bad as that. These kids are coddled and protected to the point where they will find it traumatic to deal with anything life throws at them. When I was 7,8, and 9 years old I stayed summers with my grandma, who thankfully was of the belief that a person could do whatever they put their mind to and worked at. She grew up the hard way as a migrant farm worker but at that time was a cook in a small cafe in Government Camp, Oregon. So while I was staying with her, just the two of us ran the graveyard shift at the cafe and I did everything but cook and run the register. She used to take me out by the river camping on weekends and we’d set up cans on a log and target practice with her .38. No one thought a thing about it. My daughters were taught how to budget, cook, preserve, grow a garden, use firearms, maintain their automobiles and whatever else I could think of to prepare them for life. And they are great, self-sufficient, capable ladies. I understand the control and indoctrination that our education system now is but I cannot believe that parents also seem to have completely relinquished their responsibility to guide and prepare their kids morally, emotionally and educationally for the challenges and failures of life. They wonder why kids are overweight too…..it ain’t just the food. We were all moving from dawn to dusk every day, out climbing trestles and trees, riding our bikes all over hell (without helmets), playing dodgeball, baseball, basketball, red rover, learning a new dance, etc. No wonder the kids are all being medicated now for the slightest disorder. It’s sickening to watch.

  3. Retired Spook October 10, 2015 / 12:37 pm

    First off, let me say I’m not one of the scorched-earth variety of conservative. I do believe that compromise is necessary to get anything done in DC, unless by some miracle you wind up with the White House and a massive majority in Congress – and everyone is pretty much on the same page. That happens very rarely. Running through the history I can really only think of three times it happened – early in the Civil War when the secession of the South left the GOP is absolute control in DC, and when the Democrats blew out the GOP in the 30’s and 60’s.

    I would submit that it also happened briefly from 2009 to 2010 when the Dems had the White House and a nearly veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress. They rammed through the Stimulus, Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare. They paid a steep price, however, losing 6 senate seats, 62 house seats, several governorships and nearly 700 state legislative seats in Nov., 2010. The American people simply don’t like it when one side says “we don’t want your input, and we don’t need your votes, as the Dems did with ObamaCare.

    • M. Noonan October 11, 2015 / 12:27 am

      Not quite – after the 1936 elections the Democrats had a House majority 334/88…that is so large that you really can do whatever you want, and even if you infuriate people, it won’t matter. If the other side has a smashing success the next time around, you still win. As was the case – the GOP scored a massive victory in 1938 winning 81 seats…but still were behind the 8 ball 262/169. The Democrats didn’t have that impervious a majority in the wake of the 2008 election. And if they had any sense at all, they would have offered the GOP a bit of eyewash “compromise” and that would have prevented the massive anti-Democrat reaction in 2010. For instance, had they asked McCain to be Chairman of the Health Care Reform Commission – to be sure, a couple bits of GOP ideas might have made it into the ObamaCare mix, but Democrats would still have gotten 90% of what they wanted (and probably a more workable law, in the end)…and GOP buy-in on the monstrosity.

      The one thing which does give me firm hope is that the Democrats – mean, nasty, willing to fight – are monumentally stupid.

  4. Retired Spook October 11, 2015 / 10:51 pm

    OT, but someone, at the FED of all places, appears to be a realist.

    A goal of a 4% economy? That objective, mentioned frequently in the 2016 presidential race, is getting farther away, according to the latest projections from the staff of the Federal Reserve.

    Minutes of the Fed’s Sept. 16-17 policy meeting disclose the Fed staff further trimmed its assumptions for the rates of productivity and potential growth over the medium term. The minutes did not specifically quantify the new forecast of the Fed’s in-house economists.

    The Fed staff’s view was already gloomy. A mistaken leak this summer by the U.S. central bank revealed, going into the Fed’s June policy committee meeting, the U.S. central bank’s staff penciled in potential growth averaging just 1.74% over 2015-2020, according to the document now on the Fed’s website. That’s down from an average growth rate of 3.1% over the past 50 years. Ordinarily those forecasts would have been kept secret for five years.

    Fed officials — in other words, the people who get to vote on interest rates — think the economy can growth a little faster than the staff. They pencil in 2.0% for the economy’s long-run growth rate.

    Potential growth in the long run is a function of two things: population growth and productivity.

    Productivity is the secret sauce of the economy but it has dropped off sharply since the Great Recession.

    Over the last year, productivity has increased by just 0.7%, far below the long-run average of 2.2%.

    And who says you can’t go below ZERO.

    • M. Noonan October 12, 2015 / 12:32 am

      They are clearly at their wit’s end – Keynesians to a man and woman, all they’ve got is debt and fake money as tools…of course, their fundamental flaw isn’t even that: their real problem is that even with the best will in the world, they can’t make growth happen. No one can – it either happens, or it doesn’t…and 90% of the time when it isn’t happening, the problem is either government interference of sheer demographics.

      We here in the United States can, in the short-to-medium term get back to solid growth – a bit of hard money, a bit of deregulation, and we’re off to the races. But long-term, the world has a problem – it isn’t having kids. Even the places of high birth rates (central Africa, mostly), have declining birth rates.

      Our problem is entirely moral, when you get down to it – until we start acting like human beings again, we won’t really get anywhere.

      • Retired Spook October 12, 2015 / 7:49 am

        I would suggest that another part of the problem is that economic growth across the board is anathema to Progressives because some get richer than others. With solid economic growth there are fewer people dependent on government.

      • M. Noonan October 12, 2015 / 10:45 am

        That is true – the most extreme example of it was the Cambodian Communists who were so determined on equality that they destroyed their own people.

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