What’s New Mr. Ryan?

And so we come to it at last.  The end of all things, if you are a Democrat.  If you are a Republication, it may be the beginning of all things, or a continuation of the vaunted Reagan years, the sort of paradise promised by the Hugh Hewitts and Mark Levins of this world.  In case you don’t know, both of those people are stars on conservative talk radio. Mostly they promote themselves; please buy their books so they’ll stop talking about them.

As for being a continuation of the Reagan years, I’ll believe that when Margaret Thatcher returns to deliver more castor oil to the British public, Princess Diana returns to wear truly awful Catherine Walker outfits on her walkabouts and we can watch Back to the Future without knowing the plot.

Didn’t work.  I still know the plot to Back to the Future.

Today, when Congress goes back into session and President Obama finds out what the definition of lame duck is, we will be treated to lots of bluster about environmental deregulation and getting rid of Obamacare.  Paul Ryan, who played his cards close to the vest all last year with a sort of prescient patience, will undoubtedly be elected Speaker of the House.  And thus will he continue to corral the conservative leaning House into a cohesive and perhaps functioning body.

The House, which has been dominated by now too comfortable conservative Republicans for years, may be in for a surprise under Mr. Ryan’s tutelage.  I think the first agenda item will not be deregulation and Obamacare repeal; it will be the final destruction of the Freedom Coalition.  This is a group of representatives who are somewhat aligned with the Tea Party, that anti Neo Con organization.  The Neo Cons vanquished, the Tea Party in disarray, the Freedom Coalition mostly serves as an insurmountable speed bump to any sort of compromise, or even legislation at all.  They have become the true elephant in the room, an increasingly unwelcome one.

The Freedom Coalition is not Republican in the sense that Mr. Trump is not Republican.  It is unto itself, holding to some Libertarian tendencies couched in radical right rhetoric, except that its members believe heartily in their continuing presence in government and taxpayers’ money  for pet projects in their respective constituencies.  These people have been implacable opponents of not only Mr. Obama’s Administration but also of any sort of conservative compromise with it.  In the end, they are one of the reasons that Obamacare does not work; they were able to tie up the House so much so that any mention or move to improve on Obamacare would have drawn the Freedom Coalition dragon out from its lair, spewing fatal fire. Thus, Obamacare’s initial flaws, which many thought would be ironed out with time, have been ignored, and have festered.

Mr. Ryan has a great deal of sense and is undoubtedly a great chess player; the Freedom Coalition, on the other hand, is good at checkers.  Ryan survived the Trump election, when many traditional  Republican centers of power were vanquished:  the Bushes, Rubio, Cruz.  Not only that, Mr. Ryan survived intact, no groveling or kowtowing.  Next up will be that sitting duck Freedom Coalition, comfortably celebrating victory only to have it become the Red Wedding.  Obamacare, with its clinging vines of regulations, will be a long term dragon. The dragon now, the weakened dragon, is the Freedom Coalition and its radical, obstructionist, not to mention minority, constituencies.

Goodbye Freedom Coalition.  We’re glad to see you go.


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