Hey, President Trump, lay off the House Freedom Caucus.
The conservative Republicans who killed the RINO-care bill last week did you a very big favor. If that dog’s breakfast had become the law of the land, you and the Republicans would have owned the catastrophe that is the so-called Affordable Care Act.
You know the old saying, from the sign that you sometimes see in antique shops that warn shoppers about picking stuff up:
“You break it, you bought it!”
So yesterday Trump tweets out: “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the train, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018.”
Huh?! The “train”? I’d rather rely on the MBTA’s commuter rail than this new Von Ryan’s Express. To put it bluntly, Mr. President, do you really think House Speaker Paul Ryan is your friend? Do you even think he’s trustworthy?
Last October, three Saturdays or so before the election, Ryan was supposed to campaign with Trump in Wisconsin. That Friday, the “Access Hollywood” audio was released, and Ryan pulled a Kelly Ayotte.
He bailed on Trump instantaneously. He told his members he would henceforward have nothing to do with Trump. That audiotape was released a couple of weeks ago.
Paul Ryan is a career hack, a lifelong creature of the Swamp. Before Ryan was a congressman, he was a congressional aide. He’s married to a graduate of Wellesley College. (I know, there are a few conservatives who went to Wellesley. I even know one or two, OK one. But …)
You would not want Paul Ryan beside you in a foxhole. He makes Gov. Charlie Baker, aka Tall Deval, look like a standup guy.
On the other hand, you have the House Freedom Caucus. OK, some of them, like Louie Gohmert of Texas, were with Ted Cruz originally. But Gohmert came around. And as for the Caucus’ two leaders — North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows campaigned with Trump. Ditto, Jim Jordan of Ohio. Jordan was out on the trail with Trump, his two sons, as well as Mike Pence. He went to the mat for Trump.
North Carolina and Ohio were two swing states Trump had to win, and he did. Did Paul Ryan help Trump? Hell, Paul Ryan didn’t even assist him in his home state of Wisconsin.
Another thing about RINOs: They’re not very bright. Look at Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who, granted, was one of the first members of Congress to endorse you.
But he’s in the “leadership,” and last week before Obamacare Lite was pulled from the floor, Collins went on MSNBC and told the very ethical Lyin’ Brian Williams:
“Once we get it done, then we have the chance to really explain what’s in it.”
He sounded like Nancy Pelosi in 2009 talking about the original Obamacare: “We have to pass the bill … (to) find out what is in it.”
The thought of running primary challengers against members of the Freedom Caucus is the emptiest of threats. Granted, most of them are in solid Trump districts, but in most cases, they ran ahead of even the president.
You could maybe find some RINOs to ruin their summers and force the incumbents to campaign, but at what cost, if you can’t take them out? Then you’ve made an enemy forever. You’d really have to watch them if you tried that silly stunt.
Mr. President, you dance with the one that brung ya. And that ain’t Paul Ryan. One last question: Have you ever seen Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush in the same room?
I rest my case.
Buy Howie’s new book, “Kennedy Babylon,” at howiecarrshow.com.
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