There is no love lost between Paul Ryan and me, but not everything about this interview was bad. In fact, while disagreeing with Trump, he explained one aspect of his rise quite well.
“I think people are really nervous. I think people are really anxious. And that’s because they believe that the country as they know it, this American idea — the condition of your birth doesn’t determine the outcome of your life … so many people are worried that’s leaving us.
“People are going to say, I want someone who understands the pain I feel and the anxiety I have and the fear I have that the country is going to lose a piece of its greatness,” Ryan said. “I think that’s more than a Republican thing. I think Democrats feel it the same way.”
Pretty clear, but Ryan would be wise to ask why a more conventional Republican candidate doesn’t reassure those people. He might look at his own record as speaker, his role in Obamatrade, and his pushing through more than a trillion dollars in spending that the President readily signed. How are people supposed to believe the country can last with both parties spending us into destruction?
But Ryan also criticized Obama for attacking Trump:
“But I think it sort of degrades the presidency to then talk about primary politics in the other party, during primaries. That’s not what presidents ought to be talking about in State of the Union addresses,” Ryan added. “Speaking up for our values and speaking up for our beliefs is one thing. But kind of wading into the primary politics of the other party is just not really what presidents ought to do.”
That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that Ryan gave Nikki Haley a pass for the same behavior.
He also defended South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, castigated by some conservative commentators for remarks she made in the official Republican response to the State of the Union. Haley, the daughter of immigrants from India, had urged Americans to resist “the siren call of the angriest voices.” In an interview on NBC’s Today show Wednesday, she acknowledged that Trump was one of those she had in mind.
“I think she’s made her point pretty well, which is as conservatives we’ve got great principles, great ideas, and these are inspirational,” he said. “These are optimistic ideas. These are inclusive ideas. And that means that we have a conservative set of philosophies and principles that give us policies that actually should be inclusive and appealing to people, and I believe what Nikki Haley did was go out and win converts to conservatism.”
Nikki Haley used the platform she was supposedly given to respond to Obama and used it to reprimand Republican voters, including many voters who voted for her. I don’t mind her disagreeing with Trump, but she was supposed to speak on behalf of all Republicans. Instead, she tried to shame them. She degraded the Republican Establishment even more than Ryan has.