Paul Ryan has had problems being a team player ever since Mr. Trump won the Republican nomination. Now that it’s President Trump, it’s as though Mr. Ryan is just going through the motions of appearing to support the president because, well, that’s what he’s expected to do since they are in the same party.
None of this is a help since the president needs a leadership base in Congress to get his agenda enacted. Republican leadership has been tepid at times, hence for a man of action like Donald Trump, this whole process must be incredibly frustrating. It’s as though Mr. Ryan and his counterpart in the Senate don’t realize what an accomplishment President Trump achieved in defeating Hillary Clinton.
This reluctance to work with the president has manifested itself recently in a stalled tax reform plan, as Speaker Ryan has his own plan that is not especially popular. He needs to be reminded that he is not the president, and that he needs to get on-board with the president’s agenda. He also needs to be reminded that it’s the job of the Democrats to obstruct the president, not his.
“Paul Ryan’s tenure as House speaker will be judged in part on whether he can deliver a Republican tax plan. But rather than spearhead the effort to reach consensus, Ryan is still clinging to his own widely rejected proposal.
“The resulting impasse could relegate the House to the sidelines as the Trump administration and Republican senators try to come up with an alternative plan. The worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they never find one.”
So what is Ryan’s problem?
“Blame Ryan’s wonky streak. Unlike most of his predecessors — who don’t usually hatch their own proposals but rather sift through the options to find the one that can pass — Ryan has been unusually invested in the details of major legislation.
“And on taxes, he still maintains that the rest of the party will come around to the merits of his idea, namely a border-adjustment concept Ryan has proposed to help pay for a steep cut to the corporate tax rate.”
The problem that Mr. Ryan is causing is that by insisting on his own tax goals he is delaying the passage of a bill. He should be building a consensus around a conservative approach that takes its lead from the president. If that means he has to sacrifice some of his personal ideas in favor of those of the president and the Republican members of the House, so be it.
His job is to lead to the successful passage of meaningful legislation that reflects the views of the president and the Republicans in the House, not obstruct the process over his selfish clinging to ideas that are going nowhere even with the members of his own party.