So much is happening so fast in this extraordinary political year that millions of Americans are having trouble keeping up. That apparently includes some news media people, who clearly do not understand what is really going on at this point with GOP leaders like Paul Ryan, who have not (so far) committed to support The Presumptive GOP Nominee (a/k/a The Donald).
On Thursday, when CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Mr. Ryan if he would support The PGN, Mr. Ryan said: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point,” and went on to suggest that he might, depending on how The PGN answers certain questions, such as “Does he share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution?’
Those who accept that as Mr. Ryan’s reason for not hopping aboard the Trump Train either suffer from early dementia or were not paying attention to his Shermanesque declination of the Speakership of the House last fall.
The reality is that The PGN needs The Speaker a lot more than The Speaker needs The PGN. In fact, aligning himself with The PGN could have a significant downside — because The Speaker has a primary opponent who doubtlessly scares him.
His name is Paul Nehlen and he’s a wealthy, tattooed, Harley-riding, Tea Party-endorsed entrepreneur and inventor who holds several patents, and is currently Senior VP of a leading water filtration and disinfection technologies company.
Since announcing his candidacy at the end of March, Nehlen has gone after The Speaker with a flurry of attacks, accusing him of elitism, “beltway cronyism” and selling his vote for trade deals. Nehlen has also bought a bright yellow dump truck, which he has emblazoned with the slogan “Get the Dirt on Ryan,” and is driving around Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District instead of a campaign bus. He also has challenged the famously fit Speaker to an arm-wrestling match.
The Speaker does not suffer from memory loss, so he no doubt clearly recalls that a Tea Party upstart named Dave Brat defeated then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary in 2014. And he surely does not wish to meet the same fate.
In addition, and perhaps more importantly, The Speaker is presently in power, while The PGN is not, and he is extremely popular with all kinds of people who could be of help to The PGN. The Speaker also is the chairman of the convention which presumably will turn The PGN into The Nominee in July. Under the classic rules of the game, in order to win The Speaker’s support, The PGN therefore must kiss The Speaker’s ring, so to speak.
It would be kind of like when Mitt Romney went to a certain billionaire to ask for his support back in 2012. As said billionaire, now The PGN, described the moment: “I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees,’ and he would have.”
When The PGN and The Speaker meet, which is likely to be very soon, it will be interesting to see if The PGN genuflects.