So Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, has joined the growing list of retiring Republican members of Congress. Let's be clear here. It has nothing to do with Paul Ryan accomplishing his goal of tax reform, as he claims. It also has nothing do with creating an America that's more united and poised to move forward (that would be a lie).
Paul Ryan's retirement has everything to do with his realization that the mess he's helped create cannot be fixed by our current Republican-led Congress, or by the man he helped support and elect, Donald Trump.
With 24 Republicans announcing their retirements - the most since 1973 - Ryan's retirement is akin to rats leaving a sinking ship. Call it the SS Trump.
But there's more to this story.
Paul Ryan also understands the economy and SS Trump are heading towards another market busting iceberg. This is no show stealing headline. It's going to happen.
Virtually every derivative and debt-driven puzzle piece that was in place before the market crashed in 2008 is either in place or falling into place as I type these words. Speaker Ryan's mindless deregulation policies, applied to a mythical free market system that only Republicans seem to see, only serve to speed up these developments (more on this in a later post).
As for the immediate future, who's going to be the next Speaker of the House?
One of the front runners is Bakersfield's own Kevin McCarthy. The positive spin on this is that he's become one of Donald Trump's trusted politicos in Washington. He even picks out and hand delivers Trump's favorite candies (or has his staff pick them out).
Unfortunately, the downside is Rep. McCarthy has become one of Donald Trump's trusted politicos in Washington. Trump is fast becoming a national liability, and Kevin enables the worst tendencies of an unbalanced and morally corrupt man who will be judged harshly by history. Rep. McCarthy will do nothing to slow Trump down.
The real problem, however, is that when it comes to focusing on big picture national priorities Rep. McCarthy is MIA. If we're being blunt - and that's what this is about - Rep. McCarthy has become something of a party hack. You wouldn't know that if you were to ask his supporters here in Bakersfield, or Kern County. They absolutely adore him. And why not? Kevin does retail politics very well. He's actually a pleasant person to speak with.
But even his supporters will tell you (or at least they tell me) that he's not a deep thinker, and that he's in over his head.
As an example, as I pointed out in our local paper, the Bakersfield Californian, Rep. McCarthy played a leading role in the congressional incompetence that led to the brief government shutdown. In the process he also helped set the groundwork for gridlock on DACA and immigration by giving Donald Trump the green light to use fear and national security as an excuse to stall immigration reform. This serves no purpose other than to harm the most vulnerable of our communities, while feeding a national paranoia about foreigners.
While this promotes the electoral goals of the GOP, it's toxic for our nation.
But Kevin's inability to focus on what's good for the nation isn't just tied to his shortcomings on issues like DACA and immigration. Kevin hasn't always had the best interests of our region at the top of his list while in Congress (I will be writing about these in the future).
I'll have more to say about all of this at a later date. For the moment, I'll be discussing these issues and more tonight, at 5 pm. I'll be on KGET's 17 News, with Cathy Abernathy.
If you're in the Kern County region I hope you tune in.