The most inflated words in the media last Thursday were ‘unify the party’ and ‘encouraging,’ both repeated ad nauseam by Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, after his meeting with Donald Trump, presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. It was a meeting of two con men, moderated by an awkward gofer who is a circus act in his own right as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. During his seventeen years in Congress Ryan has been posing as a fiscal conservative policy wonk who, first as a member and then as the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, developed Ayn Rand inspired fantasy budgets that never added up, while at the same time voting for the tax cuts and military adventures that put the US in the fiscal hole where it is today. Across the table from him sat the self-financing non-politician who was going to build an awesome wall on the southern border and make Mexico pay for it, deport eleven million undocumented aliens, and ban all foreign Muslims from entering the country. Together they had to come to an agreement about the platform with which the GOP will enter the general election.
According to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell the bulk of the meeting must have been spent on Ryan explaining to Trump that most of the things he has been campaigning on can only be done with the consent of Congress, and that nothing will come to the floor of the House without the approval of the Speaker. It must have been a hard pill to swallow for Trump, who for the first time in his life was instructed on basic constitutional issues like the separation of powers, and it had an emasculating effect on the Donald, who stopped talking about ‘the wall’ and deportations and said that his demand that foreign Muslims be disallowed to enter the US had merely been ‘a suggestion.’ Trump’s etch a sketch moment confirmed earlier sounds out of his campaign that he only said outrageous things to satisfy his racist and xenophobic base, but it creates a problem for him in the general. If he cannot run on what he promised his voters so far, what can he still run on? He and Ryan don’t see eye to eye with regards to entitlement programs, which Ryan wants to cut and Trump wants to preserve, and his tax plan doesn’t jive with Ryan’s fiscal policies.
There appear to be two options for Trump: either he disregards his differences with Ryan and continues to run on his main issues, risking that Ryan doesn’t endorse him and that the GOP goes into the general as a split party, or he yields to Ryan and runs on a platform he doesn’t believe in, risking that he loses his main asset, a motivated base of disgruntled loonies. In either case, but particularly in the latter, it is hard to see how he survives upcoming debates with Hillary Clinton.
Even Trump’s ability to attack Hillary as the ‘enabler’ of her husband’s infidelities has hit a snag, now that his own history of abusive behavior towards women is getting scrutinized, as well as his antics moonlighting as his own spokesperson to brag about it. When it comes to personal issues, Trump has more to fear from the file on him in Hillary’s war room than vice versa.
Last night Bill Maher observed that the Donald’s acting as a fictitious Mr. Miller or Mr. Barron would be equivalent to Hillary Clinton calling journalists in the early 1990s to tell them that Lenny Kravitz wanted to fuck her. The difference is that he did and she didn’t.