An Open Letter to Speaker Ryan: Hold the Line or Stop Pretending There is One

Speaker Ryan, I wanted to talk directly to you about a thing that has happened in our party.  A party that has in many ways been hijacked over several years leading up to the moment we find ourselves in.

I won’t rehash all the twists and turns that brought us to the point of a presidential candidate who is struggling to earn the endorsement of some of the strongest supporters of the Republican party, other than to say I believe you, and I, and many others have played a role in it and so it is up to us to get control of it.

This isn’t normal internal bickering after the end of a tough primary. This is about the soul of Republican party. A soul that is small government, low taxes, pro-life, pro-national defense and believes in the dignity of the individual.  A soul that is being redefined by Donald Trump and his followers.

Please hear me on this: they don’t even deny that what they are doing is a hostile takeover. They are in many cases new voters that haven’t previously been involved in Republican primaries and candidate selection. Or they were quiet voters with very different ideas about how things should operate.

A great many of them believe in white identity politics. This is the reason the border wall is so important to them. The shifting demographics that may take place over the decades are, they believe, an existential threat to the inherent “whiteness” of America.

I know it sounds crazy. That’s because it is crazy. And we as a party can not be on board that crazy train.

There are people in the party right now that are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what you will do.  Until you endorse him, for many Republicans and conservatives, you are the leader of the party.

Please remember that your responsibility to the party does not extend only to its most shallow and surface level needs. There’s more to the existence of the party than whether or not we win an election.  Without a soul, we are meaningless.  We can accomplish nothing.

I recall that when TARP was introduced in 2008, you said that you were fundamentally against it but felt that given the awful situation we were already in, that band-aid made sense as long as there was a real plan to fix the underlying wound that caused the financial collapse in the first place.  Please ask yourself: have we moved closer to that? Have we moved farther from that? What has the TARP bailouts happening under a Republican President done to conservative’s ability to win elections? To convince people conservatism is the answer?  Has it made it harder or easier?

Some (myself included) would say that TARP was the beginning of the long journey to where we are today. Have we benefited from sacrificing principles in the short term for long term gains that we never seem to see? Were we better off “abandoning the free market to save the free market?”

Mr. Speaker, look at this quote from Eric Bolling:

Is this the kind of counsel you hope will represent the future of the party? Because make no mistake, an endorsement of Donald Trump is precisely that.

You would be abandoning your principles to save them. You would be abandoning conservatism to save it. Have you found this to be a smart way of approaching the difficult choices of governing? I have not seen that to be true so far.

The Republican party, at its core, is a club. A club whose tapestry is woven together with the fabric of ideas.  I don’t need to spell out for you why Donald Trump doesn’t represent those ideas, I’m quite sure you know.  But please, don’t let the club become more important than what the club is supposed to represent.

Stand firmly against the hostile takeover, not just of the Republican Party, but of the very essence of conservatism. There is an existential crisis taking place. Don’t hasten the end of what Reagan began by believing you must act against your conscience. That’s what John Roberts did with the Obamacare ruling. That’s what George Bush did with TARP. That’s what ordinary people do every day. Be extraordinary.  History will be kind to you if are.