Ryan Rides a Two-Headed Horse

Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Leader, has what might be classified one of the three toughest jobs in Washington, D.C.,  There are days when it likely seems to be THE toughest job.  Ryan, Speaker of the House, has the less-than-enviable job of riding herd on Democrats, The Freedom Caucus and the regular Republicans, if there are any regular Republicans to be found.

Those of us on the conservative side of the fence have been quite frustrated with what has yet to be accomplished in this time when we ought to be cheering every week over this bill that passed and that bill that passed.  Instead, we seem to find roadblocks popping up at the least desirable moment, that moment when it appears we’re gonna’ bring home a prize…only to find that something went South and we didn’t get what we thought we’d get.

We expect that we are going to have issues with Democrats.  Theoretically, we and Democrats have a wide range of issues on which we simply do not often agree.  That is the way of our nation’s capitol.  There is give and take on both sides in order to reach a consensus that is passable.  That means there might be a vote or two gathered at the last minute that pushes a piece of legislation to victory.

That having been said, the “way things usually work” in Washington relies on the Republicans and Conservatives being able to get along well with each other and band together to push agenda items across the finish line.  The preceding sentence seems to have me saying that Republicans and Conservatives are not the same things.  That is exactly what I’m saying.  We’ve known that for a long time.

What is happening to us on the ‘right’ side of issues is the tug-of-war between the Freedom Caucus and the rest of the Republicans.  This division is almost worse than that void separating Democrats from Republicans; it feels worse since we see the goal line just a couple of feet away, we know we could push the ball across and yet we can’t agree in the huddle on what play ought to be used.

Meantime, The Dems are united even though there are differences in that caucus between staunch Dems and the Dems who wish their party was a bit more center-of-the-road.  That side of the aisle is much more likely to come together for critical votes than is the Republican side of the aisle.  Consequently, we conservatives sometimes get half-a-loaf and sometimes we just get the crumbs if the Freedom Caucus took all its votes and sulked in the corner…or vice versa.

As if this weren’t enough to burden Speaker Ryan when wrangling votes, there is that somewhat unpredictable, somewhat mercurial Trump person in the White House with whom he has to deal…and that might be seen as a tougher job than finding agreement with the Freedom Caucus.  Interestingly enough, each of these three capital R elements is basically aimed at the same target, but each has the idea that if it just comes on a bit stronger it can win the internecine battle of the day.

So, the image of Rep. Paul Ryan sitting atop a horse with a head at each end seemed an appropriate title.  He has to have those days when he doesn’t know which direction to face when he feels he is close to ‘a deal’ but can’t quite find that last little bit necessary to make it happen.

Pundits tend to fault him without any attention being paid to what it is he works daily to bring some coherence to, without them fully grasping the role he has been accorded.  Lesser people would have found themselves in the psych ward some time ago, but Ryan keeps on keepin’ on.

If not the toughest job in D.C., certainly this is the second toughest.  Strolling daily through a nest of political pit vipers isn’t my idea of a walk in the park but Ryan continues to keep it going with not much of a pat on the back from either group with which he must work.  The respective groups have their own goals which are not necessarily those that are best for the country on any given day…and they do not worry themselves about Rep. Ryan if they view him as an impediment that day.

Political fights sometimes are fought solely for the sake of the fight, even though that makes little, if any, sense in the normal world.  They see that as a daily reality.  We see it as maddening.


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