Saturday, June 11, 2016

Move the goal posts? How about erasing them altogether!?

Decius at the Journal of American Greatness writes about Speaker Paul Ryan and his plans for a new GOP initiative on poverty...
But the Trump campaign is vastly superior to Ryan in its core understanding of the core issues most urgent right now. Every new President can focus on three, at most four, such issues. Trump seems to have three: secure borders, economic nationalism, and interests-based foreign policy. We can have a debate about whether those are the most urgent issues just now. Indeed, the whole campaign may be said to be such a debate. We’ll see who wins. 

Obviously, we at JAG think these are the most urgent issues just now. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. But does anyone—other than Paul Ryan—believe that developing a new poverty policy is the most urgent issue right now? Perhaps Jack Kemp’s ghost?
The "why" of Ryan's priority has little to do with compassion for the poor. It has everything to do with compassion for his own political career.

The three Trump policy priorities Decius lists above have one thing in common: They can be measured for success or failure. Ryan's cannot. There is no metric by which you can judge an anti-poverty campaign. You can, however, determine whether or not a border is truly secure. You can judge whether or not an economic policy is helping or hurting the economy. You can decide whether or not our foreign policy is advancing or hindering our national interests.

Trump, unlike Paul Ryan or the entire Democrat Party, is putting his political capital where his mouth is. He's advancing policy priorities that can be used to judge his performance. Judging Ryan's performance with regard to the efficacy of his poverty program would be like nailing Jell-O to a tree. Since you can't say that he succeeded, you can't say that he failed.

There's an old Klingon proverb: bItuHlaHbe'chugh bIquvlaHbe'. "If you cannot be shamed, you cannot be honored." Paul Ryan turns that on its ear to become "If you cannot be honored, you cannot be shamed."