Trump Should Have Endorsed Paul Ryan

Our wet-finger-in-the-wind Angela Merkel-in-waiting, Speaker Paul Ryan, played into the hands of President Obama.  Obama announced at a joint press conference with Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday that Republicans who are always chiding Donald Trump should take the next step and pull their endorsements of him.

Obama's ploy was pure Politics 101: pointing to contradictions in the opposition's stance and then seeking to drive a wedge.  Just like in war, getting the enemy to turn on itself is a path to victory.  Not that Trump-disparaging establishment Republicans hindered Obama, giving him, instead, a big, fat opening. 

Obama, with cool relish, played "gotcha," with the likes of Lindsey Graham and John McCain...and the Stupid Party's U.S. House speaker. 

Ryan, with a surpassing cleverness, is supporting Trump, all right, while working to deliver death by a thousand cuts to him.  Outside the Beltway, Ryan's ploy is obvious even to the casual observer.  The president and Democrat sharpies didn't need to be clever; they needed only the right timing. 

Trump, never a man to refuse a tit-for-tat, has declined to endorse Paul Ryan's re-election bid.  Tactically, that's kinda dumb. 

But The Donald plays by a different set of rules.  Indeed.  Trump may have changed the landscape of American politics (or instinctively exploited the changes in society), so his approach is turning conventional wisdom on its head.  One suspects there's truth to that, but we'll see the extent come November.

What Trump should appreciate is that while playing the bull has its advantages, so does playing the fox.

About Ryan, Trump could have said something like this: "Yeah, I endorse Paul. I'm sticking to my pledge to support him and others.  Too much is at stake for the country for us to be divided.  Why Paul would make insinuations about me and my positions, I don't know.  You need to ask him.  Or, I guess, voters in his district need to ask him.  Hey, if Paul wants me in his district to campaign for him, I will.  We gotta win in November."

Trump pledged to support the eventual Republican nominee for president.  He never said a word about backing Ryan or other GOP incumbents.

What a bind for Ryan: to Trump or not to Trump?  Would the Republican speaker deny his party's presidential nominee the chance to stump for him?  What if The Donald and his renown for off-the-cuff, "colorful" remarks came to Racine or Kenosha?  What would be the consequences?

Well, Trump's not wired that way, you say.  And he isn't much for taking counsel, leastwise from folk other than Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.  Even then, groupthink may dominate more often than not.  Very smart, the Trump brood, but The Donald rules the roost.

Yet Trump didn't build his business empire by his lonesome, however prodigious his talents and instincts.  Sometimes, in some ways, he must be listening, learning, and then leading.

Paul Nehlen is standup guy, say you.  Nehlen is Ryan's very determined primary opponent.  Trump saying nice things about Nehlen might help him beat Ryan.

That a Nehlen upset would be special goes without saying.  That it will occur is more on the order of winning a lotto jackpot.  Ryan and other establishment Republicans learned the hard way from Eric Cantor's defeat.  Ryan's stayed connected with his constituency and brought home plenty of bacon.  Nehlen may dent Ryan's numbers, but a victory – not likely. 

Trump's calculation should have been this about the Ryan-Nehlen contest: winning the presidency is Priority #1.  Wisconsin in play is a yuge thing.  If Nehlen must be a casualty of war to make victory happen, so be it.  Play Paul Ryan like a fiddle – play him, and then wait your chance.    

We don't need President Hillary appointing federal judges, with go-along Senate Republicans offering only token opposition.  We don't need her and the compassionate Speaker Ryan opening the doors wide to Muslim immigrants and refugees.  We don't need the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Ryan has election-year reservations about.  But don't count on 2017.  Ryan changing his tune when safely back in D.C. next year?  Working across the aisle and with President Obama, because the people "want to see government work," has been the GOP establishment mantra.  Just substitute "President Hillary."  Watch Ryan flip on TPP if Hill's in the White House.  

The goal: Trump to the White House.  There he'll find a bully pulpit suitable to his needs.  There he can use his fabled deal-making skills to go over, around, and under Speaker Ryan.  Or, if Trump has a mind, he could deal-make to depose the speaker.  (Are Jim Jordan and the Freedom Caucus listening?)       

Getting Trump to Pennsylvania Avenue is the trick.  This week, Rudy Giuliani and Newt publicly counseled Trump to focus on Hillary and Obama and deep-six the battles with minor figures like Khizr Khan.  Marginalize Ryan by shrugging him off for the time being.  Get back, say those of us pulling for Trump, to the core issues: illegal immigration, trade, law and order, a strong national defense, and unabashedly putting America first.  Hammer those issues hard and relentlessly. 

Trump would say his way has served him admirably, besting a crowded field of candidates to secure the GOP nomination.  "Trump is Trump," say his die-hard supporters, "and – watch – he's going to win being him."      

Okay, but don't lightly dismiss Rudy's and Newt's counsel.  A bull having a little fox going for him might help more than you believe.  

Our wet-finger-in-the-wind Angela Merkel-in-waiting, Speaker Paul Ryan, played into the hands of President Obama.  Obama announced at a joint press conference with Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday that Republicans who are always chiding Donald Trump should take the next step and pull their endorsements of him.

Obama's ploy was pure Politics 101: pointing to contradictions in the opposition's stance and then seeking to drive a wedge.  Just like in war, getting the enemy to turn on itself is a path to victory.  Not that Trump-disparaging establishment Republicans hindered Obama, giving him, instead, a big, fat opening. 

Obama, with cool relish, played "gotcha," with the likes of Lindsey Graham and John McCain...and the Stupid Party's U.S. House speaker. 

Ryan, with a surpassing cleverness, is supporting Trump, all right, while working to deliver death by a thousand cuts to him.  Outside the Beltway, Ryan's ploy is obvious even to the casual observer.  The president and Democrat sharpies didn't need to be clever; they needed only the right timing. 

Trump, never a man to refuse a tit-for-tat, has declined to endorse Paul Ryan's re-election bid.  Tactically, that's kinda dumb. 

But The Donald plays by a different set of rules.  Indeed.  Trump may have changed the landscape of American politics (or instinctively exploited the changes in society), so his approach is turning conventional wisdom on its head.  One suspects there's truth to that, but we'll see the extent come November.

What Trump should appreciate is that while playing the bull has its advantages, so does playing the fox.

About Ryan, Trump could have said something like this: "Yeah, I endorse Paul. I'm sticking to my pledge to support him and others.  Too much is at stake for the country for us to be divided.  Why Paul would make insinuations about me and my positions, I don't know.  You need to ask him.  Or, I guess, voters in his district need to ask him.  Hey, if Paul wants me in his district to campaign for him, I will.  We gotta win in November."

Trump pledged to support the eventual Republican nominee for president.  He never said a word about backing Ryan or other GOP incumbents.

What a bind for Ryan: to Trump or not to Trump?  Would the Republican speaker deny his party's presidential nominee the chance to stump for him?  What if The Donald and his renown for off-the-cuff, "colorful" remarks came to Racine or Kenosha?  What would be the consequences?

Well, Trump's not wired that way, you say.  And he isn't much for taking counsel, leastwise from folk other than Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka.  Even then, groupthink may dominate more often than not.  Very smart, the Trump brood, but The Donald rules the roost.

Yet Trump didn't build his business empire by his lonesome, however prodigious his talents and instincts.  Sometimes, in some ways, he must be listening, learning, and then leading.

Paul Nehlen is standup guy, say you.  Nehlen is Ryan's very determined primary opponent.  Trump saying nice things about Nehlen might help him beat Ryan.

That a Nehlen upset would be special goes without saying.  That it will occur is more on the order of winning a lotto jackpot.  Ryan and other establishment Republicans learned the hard way from Eric Cantor's defeat.  Ryan's stayed connected with his constituency and brought home plenty of bacon.  Nehlen may dent Ryan's numbers, but a victory – not likely. 

Trump's calculation should have been this about the Ryan-Nehlen contest: winning the presidency is Priority #1.  Wisconsin in play is a yuge thing.  If Nehlen must be a casualty of war to make victory happen, so be it.  Play Paul Ryan like a fiddle – play him, and then wait your chance.    

We don't need President Hillary appointing federal judges, with go-along Senate Republicans offering only token opposition.  We don't need her and the compassionate Speaker Ryan opening the doors wide to Muslim immigrants and refugees.  We don't need the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Ryan has election-year reservations about.  But don't count on 2017.  Ryan changing his tune when safely back in D.C. next year?  Working across the aisle and with President Obama, because the people "want to see government work," has been the GOP establishment mantra.  Just substitute "President Hillary."  Watch Ryan flip on TPP if Hill's in the White House.  

The goal: Trump to the White House.  There he'll find a bully pulpit suitable to his needs.  There he can use his fabled deal-making skills to go over, around, and under Speaker Ryan.  Or, if Trump has a mind, he could deal-make to depose the speaker.  (Are Jim Jordan and the Freedom Caucus listening?)       

Getting Trump to Pennsylvania Avenue is the trick.  This week, Rudy Giuliani and Newt publicly counseled Trump to focus on Hillary and Obama and deep-six the battles with minor figures like Khizr Khan.  Marginalize Ryan by shrugging him off for the time being.  Get back, say those of us pulling for Trump, to the core issues: illegal immigration, trade, law and order, a strong national defense, and unabashedly putting America first.  Hammer those issues hard and relentlessly. 

Trump would say his way has served him admirably, besting a crowded field of candidates to secure the GOP nomination.  "Trump is Trump," say his die-hard supporters, "and – watch – he's going to win being him."      

Okay, but don't lightly dismiss Rudy's and Newt's counsel.  A bull having a little fox going for him might help more than you believe.