The lack of principle and decency that has come to define the Republican Party is disgusting as are those in the GOP who pretend to be "thoughtful" and "guided by religious belief" even as they press for a drastic reverse Robin Hood policy agenda that mocks the Gospel message. Few are more despicable in my mind than House Speaker Paul Ryan. Thankfully, Ryan faces a primary challenge by precisely the type of far right nutcase that the GOP has carefully cultivated. Even if Ryan wins, I find it delicious that he is now the target of an effort that is reminiscent of what took down Virginia congressman Eric Cantor. This embrace of ignorance and normalization of the insane is what set the stage for Donald Trump's candidacy. Now, belatedly, some think Ryan realized a much deserved disaster awaits in November. Here are excerpts from a piece in the Washington Post:
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) sent an urgent fundraising appeal Thursday evening that warned: “If we fail to protect our majority in Congress, we could be handing President Hillary Clinton a blank check.”
Whether or not it was intentional, the phrase “blank check” has a political echo — one that suggests a deep fear by congressional Republicans that a sinking presidential candidate could take their majorities in the House and Senate with him, and that they are getting ready to desert him.
It goes back 20 years, to an infamous chapter in internecine Republican politics. In the weeks before the 1996 presidential election, as it became clearer and clearer that GOP nominee Bob Dole would not defeat incumbent president Bill Clinton, Republican operatives began urging their struggling congressional candidates to begin making the argument: “Let’s not give Clinton a blank check.”
In late October of that year, the National Republican Congressional Committee spent $4 million on television ads in 50 congressional districts where races were close. The final shot was of a blank check hovering over the Capitol dome. It was signed: “American taxpayer.”
For Dole, the implication that even his own party had given up on him was a devastating blow.
Ryan used the words “blank check” at least three times Thursday, as Trump sat below Clinton in the polls and continued to deal with the aftermath of controversies of his own making. This week, Trump refused to endorse Ryan in the Wisconsin Republican primary and praised Ryan’s underdog opponent, Paul Nehlen. It was a snub that angered many Republican leaders.
Katie Martin, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the historical comparison is unfair. “There is no news here, nothing to read into, no secret message about the upcoming elections,” Martin said in an email. “The possibility of giving Hillary Clinton a Congress led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be an unmitigated disaster for the American people — as it was 8 years ago with President Obama.”
However, they also have a standard-bearer who is far more toxic. In 1996, Dole was viewed positively by most voters, even as he lost. Trump, on the other hand, has the most unfavorable ratings of any candidate ever to lead a major party ticket since the advent of polling.
When asked whether there would ever be a point at which he would abandon Trump, Ryan said of his endorsement: “None of these things are ever blank checks.”
The email is signed “Speaker Paul Ryan” and includes this P.S.: “We cannot afford to give Hillary Clinton a blank check if she’s elected president. We need a strong, conservative majority in Congress as our last line of defense.”
Trump is a Frankenstein monster of the GOP's own creation. I for one hope he kills the GOP instead of vice versa. The GOP deserves to die at this point.