April 15, 2018

As Janis Joplin sang, freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

Many politicos, after announcing their retirement and freeing themselves from the burden of having to be re-elected, find a level of candor and principle that they didn't have while hoping to keep their office.

But that apparently doesn't apply to Paul Ryan.

Having announced his desire to "spend time with his family," Paul Ryan should be able to be much more frank about his frustrations about trying to be a dead-eyed zombie Granny starver in the age of Trump. It's hard to destroy the social safety net for Americans when every time he appears in public, someone asks him about another Trump rage-tweet.

But Paul Ryan's spine and gonads are still firmly in the grasp of one Donald J. Trump.

Chuck Todd asked him if he would be willing to bring onto the House floor a bill to protect Robert Mueller from being fired by Trump, since one is being worked on in the Senate. And true to form, Paul Ryan shied away from any suggestion that he actually do his Constitutionally-mandated duty of checks and balances against an unhinged and corrupt president with a marble-mouthed excuse that he didn't think Trump would fire Mueller.

There is no shortage of subject matter for future historians to write about this time. But the one thing I hope doesn't get short shrift is how democracy and political norms were destroyed, not by Donald Trump, but by the cowardice and enabling of Paul Ryan.

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