House Speaker Paul Ryan (he) and yours truly (she) discuss Ryan's announcement today that he'll vote for Donald Trump. His words come from his actual statement in the Janesville Gazette; my words are the ones that he was thinking as he made the luke-warmest party leader endorsement I can remember.
He: When Donald Trump became the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for president one month ago, many Republicans like me faced a big question.
She: How the HELL did that just happen?
He: Six months earlier, in October, as I was taking the job as House speaker, my colleagues and I were discussing an equally important question: What could House Republicans do to give Americans a clear choice about the future of the country?
She: Remember last October, how I saved the party from a certain demise? Yeah, that was me! And way back then, I knew that if I was ever going to have any real power, I'd have to interject myself into the Presidential race. But I sure didn't want to run - heck, I wasn't even going to be Speaker unless they let me spend weekends at home, and I sure couldn't do that if I was running for POTUS.
He: Sure, count us among the majority of Americans upset with the direction our country is headed. But that's not enough. We agreed we must focus less on what we're against and more on what we're for. So, long before we knew who our nominee would be, we decided we would present the country a policy agenda that offers a better way forward. We know what we believe in, so let's bring it to the country.
She: What I mean is, once Scott Walker and the other hard-core candidates started to self -destruct, we knew it was going to be a slug fest between Trump and someone, we just weren't sure who. I never in a million years thought it would be We Hate Cruz and No One Cares Kasich - wow! But with the tough guys out of the way, we started cooking up a plan that, oops I mean a policy agenda that needed to be ready before the convention, just in case we got lucky. (And boy, I suck at the nickname thing. Trump's really good at that, I have to hand it to him there...)
He: That's how I've always looked at it. I've spent most of my adult life pursuing ways to help protect the "American Idea" - the notion that the condition of one's birth does not determine the outcome of one's life. The first step is always putting it on paper and having a real debate. And with the Obama presidency nearing an end, we have a real opportunity to get big things done in the next four years.
She: You know of course that we have no intention of having a real debate, right? I mean, if the malcontents in the Senate hold their majority, everything should be fine. That Mitch McConnell - "make Obama a one-term president" my ass. I will not allow the House to go over to the other side -- I'll be right back here in Janesville before that happens, I promise you that.
He: That's why next week my colleagues and I will start introducing a series of policy proposals that address the American people's top priorities. These plans are the result of months of work by House Republicans.
He: The concept from the start was simple: If we had a Republican president ready to sign bills, what would we do?
She: My wildest dreams from October have come true! We've got the candidate who knows nothing about being president, he's clueless! Putty in my hands!
He: This month, we'll show the country what a better tax code looks like. We'll outline a plan not just for repealing Obamacare but replacing it with a better system, more focused on patients, choices and lower costs. We'll offer a plan to restore the Constitution and the separation of powers that decades of executive overreach have eroded. We'll present the ideal national security and foreign policy to keep Americans safe. We'll show how we can reform rules and regulations so they're spurring the economy and creating jobs, not destroying them. And we'll offer a better way to help lift people out of poverty and into lives of self-determination.
She: Don't you love the part about 'separation of powers' I put in there? There's no chance of executive overreach with Trump - he doesn't even want to be president! He can win, and I'll run the show! He won't need a Trexit -- bahahahaha! The guy wants nukes in every garage -- anything short of that will be "the ideal national security and foreign policy" to make people happy. This is going to be easy!
He: It will be a positive, optimistic vision for a more confident America.
She: and it won't be even a little bit racist, I promise.
He: It's short of all that's required to save the country, but the goal was to focus on issues that unite Republicans. It's a bold agenda but one that can bring together all wings of the Republican Party as well as appeal to most Americans.
She: We didn't want to seem greedy, so we only put down enough for a single term of a Republican House, Senate and White House.
He: One person who we know won't support it is Hillary Clinton. A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves. Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix.
She: Besides, I'm hoping she'll be so underwater with investigations, she might not even notice we have a plan.
He: To enact these ideas, we need a Republican president willing to sign them into law. That's why, when he sealed the nomination, I could not offer my support for Donald Trump before discussing policies and basic principles.
She: Yeah, the key is having a willing, and as I mentioned, clueless GOP figurehead in the Oval. So when I talked to him, I made sure he knew what it would take to get my endorsement.
He: As I said from the start, my goal has been to unite the party so we can win in the fall. And if we're going to unite, it has to be over ideas.
She: We'll unite over my ideas, just like in the House! Unite with me, or die without me!
He: Donald Trump and I have talked at great length about things such as the proper role of the executive and fundamental principles such as the protection of life. The list of potential Supreme Court nominees he released after our first meeting was very encouraging.
She: There I go again, reminding the nominee what his 'proper role' is, and when I told him he had to show me a sign that he understood his role, he did a great job with that list of SCOTUS guys. He did almost as good as that Gary Busey guy, or that old rapper, what was his name? Flavor Stick? Flavor Favor? Can't remember... or was that a different show?
He: But the House policy agenda has been the main focus of our dialogue. We've talked about the common ground this agenda can represent. We've discussed how the House can be a driver of policy ideas. We've talked about how important these reforms are to saving our country. And we've talked about how, by focusing on ideas that unite Republicans, we can work together to heal the fissures developed through the primary.
She: We'll spoon feed him 'common ground' and we'll drive the policy ideas - no more of his loose cannon, say one thing this morning and contradict it this afternoon crap. We're done with that. And we're done with that stupid wall, too. That's never going to happen.
He: Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people's lives. That's why I'll be voting for him this fall.
She: What I mean is, he agreed to promote my agenda starting at the convention in Cleveland in return for my voting for him so he didn't have to bail out. I took his cojones right out of his fancy pants and he said thank you, I tell you! Oh, wow, it was awesome. Never felt better in my life. I held them right in my hand, and told him he could have them back after he was out of office.
He: It's no secret that he and I have our differences. I won't pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I'll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.
She: I'll make sure he says some stupid stuff every now and then, and then I'll pretend to be alarmed like everyone else is, so that it looks like everything is the same as it was in the primaries.
He: For me, it's a question of how to move forward on the ideas that I - and my House colleagues - have invested so much in through the years. It's not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape the Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead.
She: Holy crap, I almost forgot to mention "and my House colleagues" -- good save, man. Good save! I wonder if his voters will recognize that it's a different agenda? Wait -- no worries there. Trump wins the uneducated hands down, he said he loves the uneducated. They'll never notice.
Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.
She: Screw you, Mitt -- trying to draft me to run. You're on the sidelines, and me? You'd almost kill to be me right now, and we both know it.