House Republicans have not done a good job in selecting dynamic leaders to the position of House Speaker. To the extent that Mr. Ryan and Mr. Boehner before him have turned in rather dismal performances is the measure of an opportunity lost. That Nancy Pelosi before them is a liberal kook and not at all inspiring is no excuse for failing to put the party’s best foot forward. And House Republicans have not.
Effective leaders articulate a vision that inspires and motivates followers to take action. They bring out the best in their subordinates. Other than the periodic and shameful obstruction of President Trump, it’s hard to put your finger on what Mr. Ryan’s agenda really is. That he was Mitt Romney’s running mate helps solidify his reputation for being a moderate – something that inspires no one.
What the Republicans in the House refuse to do might actually get accomplished in the 2018 elections. The likelihood that the Republicans will keep their majority in the House is in serious doubt. They could get clobbered by the Democrats. Obviously, that would remove Mr. Ryan as Speaker, and likely replace him with Nancy Pelosi. What a dreadful thought. So one thing that is helping Republicans is that the Democrats can’t come up with a decent leader either. Pitiful.
“The Senate is likely safe — the Republicans only have eight seats at stake, as opposed to Democrats’ twenty-five. But the House is now in real danger, especially with a repeat of 1992’s ‘Year of the Woman’ on the horizon.
“Some factors are completely beyond Republicans’ control. Historically, the sitting president’s party almost always loses seats in the midterm elections.”
In other words, there are some things that cannot be blamed on Mr. Ryan’s poor leadership. But that doesn’t get him off the hook. There’s plenty of trouble that can be placed at his doorstep.
“Other factors are entirely the GOP’s fault. It is almost cliché by now to observe that after more than six years of promises about what Republican control of Capitol Hill and the White House would mean, the GOP has failed to deliver on its legislative agenda, particularly on repealing Obamacare and controlling federal spending.”
This is inexcusable, and the Republican congressional leadership rightly looks like a bunch of dolts. Put bluntly, the House Republicans could pass bill after bill to repeal Obamacare when it didn’t count. This, because Mr. Obama was president and would veto any such bill should it make it through the Senate. Now that it “counts” since a Republican is in the White House, they cannot get the job done.
This parade of mediocre leaders in both the House and Senate is to the Republicans’ disgrace. They have a terrific opportunity to accomplish great things for the country with President Trump ready to sign bills. So they choke.
If we start off 2019 with a Speaker Pelosi, it will not be a result of the Democrats doing anything spectacular or because of the quality of their leadership. It will be because the Republicans have failed to put in place leaders who could capitalize on the terrific advantage the Trump victory delivered to them.
It’s a long way to November 2018, politically. Let’s hope the Republicans find their way to victory soon, even if that path does not include Paul Ryan.