From Smirking Chimp
Campaign Ad: Paul Ryan for President 2020.
Speaker Ryan speaks into the camera.
"Impeaching a president from my own party wasn't an easy decision," Ryan says, looking sober as footage of disgraced former president Donald Trump departing the White House for the last time appears.
"Sometimes principle" -- he pauses for a half-beat -- "comes before party."
A full beat.
"Country always comes first."
Narrator: "He stood tall when America needs him most. Ready to make the tough decisions when they matter most. Paul Ryan for President."
Trump-haters want Democrats to push for impeachment. Setting aside the Dems' congenital cowardice and the arithmetic -- a minority party can't impeach anyone -- the real danger to Trump is his nominal Republican allies.
On the surface, Congressional Republicans appear to have been shocked and awed by the president's surprise victory and ideologically aligned with a Trump Administration whose hard-right cabinet is prepared to grant every item on the GOP's wish list. But you don't have to look hard to see that the pre-November split between the party's old guard (Ryan, John McCain, Mitch McConnell) and the Trump insurgency remains.
The Donald struts the marbled corridors of the capital, his head held high like Caesar. Beneath their togas, the senators' sharp knives await.
This is speculation, but I bet Republicans with presidential ambitions -- Ryan, Rubio, Cruz, Paul -- have already grokked that Trump's days are numbered. Odds-makers agree. Whoever takes credit for bringing down a feared and reviled leader will rid themselves of a rival and reap rewards up to and including the highest office in the land.
Barely one month after taking office, Trump's approval ratings are tumbling into territory historically belonging to presidents mired in scandals and unpopular wars. Voters tell the latest Quinnipiac poll Trump is dishonest and doesn't care about people like them. Trump's numbers are within a rounding error of Richard Nixon's during Watergate.
Right now, Donald Trump is constitutionally impeachable over his temperament and his brazen violations of the emoluments clause. But nothing will happen until he's politically impeachable. Trump would have to commit a crime or mistake so colossal and irredeemable that mainstream voters of both parties would find him repugnant.
If I'm Ryan or Cruz or some other crafty GOPer, I'm thinking to myself: every president screws up eventually. But this guy Trump will definitely screw up big. Given his manic pace, his Waterloo will occur sooner rather than later.
Whatever form it takes -- provoking a war, crashing the economy, corruption, one authoritarian move too far, conspiracy and obstruction of justice -- the inevitable Trumpian disaster leaves House and Senate Republicans with a stark choice. Defend him or stand back silently, and Trump drags the Republican Party along with him as he flames out. Or they can throw him under the bus.
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