Republicans reaping what they sow was the theme of two New York Times stories on Thursday. Reporter Jennifer Steinhauer’s “Congressional Memo” suggested turnabout was fair play: “Ryan Now Faces Tea Party Forces He Helped Unleash.” It’s what Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP get for setting off “flare-ups over racially charged issues” and trying “to roll back voting rights.” And reporter Michael Barbaro had far too much fun mocking NJ Gov. Chris Christie's endorsement of Donald Trump.
Paul D. Ryan and his self-proclaimed “young guns” in the House Republican leadership traversed the country in 2010 harnessing the energy of the Tea Party movement that would sweep them to power that November. But in failing to confront the most divisive forces of the movement, they may have set their party up for its current crisis.
Some of those insurgent winners from that year would eventually turn on the leaders one by one, setting in motion the downfall of Representative Eric Cantor -- just as Republicans were attempting to cobble together a modest immigration measure -- then blocking the ascent of Representative Kevin McCarthy after they had deposed John A. Boehner as speaker.
Now the Tea Party’s ultimate creation, Donald J. Trump, may be coming for the last young gun unscathed, Mr. Ryan, the speaker of the House.
Facing forces he inadvertently helped unleash, Mr. Ryan finds himself confronting a potentially agonizing choice -- both moral and intellectual -- between the values he has spent his career promoting and the man who stands ready to repudiate them.
Steinhauer, surprise surprise, turns out to agree with the Democratic critique.
To Democrats, and some Republicans, Mr. Ryan and the Republican leadership have a quandary of their own making. Republican lawmakers and candidates often averted their gaze when questions were raised about President Obama’s birth certificate and religion. They tolerated breaches of decorum, such as Representative Joe Wilson’s cry of “You lie” during a presidential address, and even made light of the man who brought many of those alleged conspiracies to the fore: Mr. Trump.
The Times still can’t forget that “breach of decorum” on the part of a single Republican, but shrugged when President George W. Bush was treated the same way at his own 2005 State of the Union address. Democrats hollered “No! No! for insisting that Social Security would go bankrupt in 40 years. (Turns out Bush was wrong -- he was overly optimistic: The current prediction is now 2033).
Democrats are now seizing on this trajectory, and trying to tie all Republican incumbents to the legacy. “Donald Trump is appealing to some of the darkest forces in America,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said on Wednesday. “It’s time for Republicans to stop the Frankenstein they created.”
Many Republicans reject that analysis, especially when it comes to Mr. Ryan. His aides answer questions of Mr. Obama’s birth with a letter that includes a copy of the president’s birth certificate. “I certainly understand the importance of this issue,” the letter says, “and I hope you find the information useful.”
While Mr. Ryan politely rejected the birth inquiries, others did not. Asked in 2011 on the NBC program “Meet the Press” about the birth certificate conspiracy, and House members still promoting it, Mr. Boehner responded, “It really is not our job to tell the American people what to believe and what to think.” Asked on the same program about such “crazy talk,” Mr. Cantor replied, “I don’t think it’s, it’s nice to call anyone crazy, O.K.?”
The Times will never stop trying to make the Republican opposition to its pet cause amnesty a winning political issue.
The Tea Party movement initially was focused on government spending, health care and bailout programs, but in 2014, with the deficit falling and the economy improving, the movement turned to immigration -- and a fierce opposition to an immigration law overhaul embraced by some Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Mr. Ryan.
That June, Mr. Ryan and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, were trying to drum up votes for an immigration bill that included a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Then Mr. Cantor, the majority leader, lost to a Tea Party primary challenger who accused him of being weak on illegal immigrants. Supporters abandoned the effort, and the immigration overhaul died
This was an especially loaded paragraph:
In the Republican-controlled House now, there are frequent flare-ups over racially charged issues, from a movement among some conservatives to roll back voting rights, to a fight over confederate flags at federal cemeteries that shut down the appropriations process last summer.
On Tuesday, nine House Republicans voted against renaming a post office in Winston-Salem, N.C., after the poet Maya Angelou. Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, a leader of anti-immigration forces, called her a “communist sympathizer.”
Also on Thursday, Michael Barbaro was over the top gleeful mocking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his supposed news report, “Standing With Trump, Christie Is Ridiculed.” The text box: “An endorsement adds to a politician’s woes in his state.”
What, you might ask, could be worse than a thoroughly failed presidential candidate returning home as a lame-duck governor to a $10 billion budget deficit and a recalcitrant legislature?
Chris Christie is finding out.
In a remarkably swift descent, Mr. Christie’s endorsement of Donald J. Trump for president, his repeated side-by-side appearances with the real estate mogul and his adoring, 31-minute televised gaze at him on Tuesday night have turned the Republican governor into the subject of unusually biting and intense ridicule.
Six New Jersey newspapers issued a joint editorial calling for Mr. Christie’s resignation on Tuesday, an extraordinary show of disgust on the same day that the publisher of a major newspaper in New Hampshire took the unusual (and seemingly unnecessary) step of rescinding its previous pledge of support for him as a presidential candidate.
Barbaro even let the Democrats raise impeachment without raising an journalistic eyebrow himself.
And a leading state senator on Wednesday raised the possibility of impeaching Mr. Christie for “dereliction of duty.”
Digitally altered images rendered Mr. Christie as a docile doorman at Trump Tower and compared him, uncharitably, to a panting dog standing beside its master.
Mr. Christie appeared onstage at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, as his warm-up act and head-nodding affirmer. Seemingly minutes later, carefully cut videos started zinging around the Internet, analyzing every movement of Mr. Christie’s eyes, head and fingers for signs of duress, as if he were a prisoner of war.
The image of Mr. Christie as a supplicant proved irresistible. Longtime enemies and disapproving predecessors could not pass up the chance to weigh in.
It was certianly irresisible to Barbaro.
The workaday drudgery that awaits Mr. Christie in New Jersey, however, may not lead him [to come home].
He could travel the country aboard Mr. Trump’s private plane, or he could contend with Democratic lawmakers who are rejecting his appointment of a justice to the State Supreme Court. He could give rousing speeches about making America great again, or he could absorb a new poll that shows his approval rating is at 30 percent in New Jersey, the lowest since he took office. He could advise Mr. Trump on strategy, or he could watch as a Democrat who may seek to replace him as governor circulates a petition demanding that Mr. Christie make a choice.
“Either Governor Christie comes home and performs the job for which we continue to pay him, or he needs to get out of the way,” the petition reads.
Its author, Philip D. Murphy, a former ambassador to Germany, said the response had been overwhelming. Within hours of its creation, more than 5,000 people had signed it.