A Conversation And A Night’s Sleep

It was Tuesday afternoon. I had just posted Wednesday’s article to the cloud or wherever it goes until it is actually published. (Contrary to common believe, I am far from a computer wizard!) I wanted to write Thursday’s article but felt I needed to wait for some things to play out. I received some sad news about one of my dearest friend’s family and decided to call him. As is typically when we chat one of the topics of our conversation was politics. We compared notes on Paul Ryan’s status and the implications of what we both felt was his pending announcement that he would not seek reelection.  Wednesday morning our suspicions were conformed. Today I’d like to explore that and make a few other observations.   

Wednesday morning Ryan announced that he would serve out his term and retire from Congress at the end of it. He used the all too common political excuse that he wanted to spend more time with family. That is about as believable as most of President Trump’s tweets.

Ryan’s announcement was really the white flag (how appropriate a color choice for today’s GOP) of surrender of the House of Representatives in the next Congress. Ryan obviously feels that the Republicans cannot retain the House. In that event it is very likely that in addition to losing the Speakership Ryan would also lose his leadership position in his caucus. In an instant he would go from what most view as the second most powerful position in Washington to a backbencher in the minority Party in a chamber where the majority definitely rules. All of a sudden life in Janesville, Wisconsin looks pretty good. Forecast: I wonder just how much time Ryan will spend at home with the wife and kids in Janesville. I think a gig as a lobbyist of some sort, trading on his connections and based in Washington is much more likely.

If you are a Ryan fan – first off why are you here? – I have a suggestion for a retirement gift: an Arithmetic book. If you ever did a deep dive into any of the various Ryan budgets you know that he is very arithmetically challenged.

Despite a lot of bluster, as of this (late Wednesday morning) writing Trump has yet to take any military action against the Assad regime in Syria. Hopefully this is because he is coordinating action with several key allies. I suspect it may be because he is allowing the Russians to move military assets out of the danger zones. Another suspicion is that Trump is waiting for a more favorable time in the news cycle. In any event I hope this strike (which I am confident will happen) does some real damage to Assad’s forces this time.

One of the many perplexing things in Russiagate is why Paul Manafort hasn’t flipped yet. My theory is that he has so much to hide which implicates Russians including Vladimir Putin that he fears for his life more than for his freedom. I guess he is one of the people who feel that it is better to be alive in prison than dead in the Potomac. He could also be hoping that he escapes prison on some technicality ala Oliver North.

Listening to Trump’s eight minute tirade on Monday about the raid on Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel room was challenging. He started out complaining that it was taking time away from dealing with important issues like Syria in front of what was effectively a War Cabinet with more stars than a clear Montana sky at night. It was what today is politely described as a word salad. Joe Biden taught me the more socially acceptable Irish term malarkey. I was brought up in a working class neighborhood comprised primarily of people of Polish heritage where we called it something most commonly found coming out of the hind end of a bull. My suggestion is in the interest of politeness and accuracy we call Trump’s utterances a word salad with Russian dressing.

The Stormy Daniels affair is certainly interesting and a dominant story in the news. Could one aspect of it simply be that Trump stiffed Michael Cohen on the $130,000? That would be keeping with Trump’s character.

A shout out to my buddy Jeff: It was great to talk to you again, I wish it had been under better circumstances and boy were we spot on!

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One thought on “A Conversation And A Night’s Sleep”

  1. Thank You Larry for your condolences. And yes, it was also a good politics chat. Reminded of that phone call, I couldn’t resist a hearty guffaw when the news of Paul Ryan’s “escape” was announced. One by one the dominoes are falling as this elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption comes crashing down. Forgive the mixed metaphors. I still think the Democrats will pick up close to 40 seats in the House this November…and a slim majority in the Senate. To borrow a phrase from NASCAR commentator Larry McReynolds: “Tighten up those seat belts one more time!”

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