Mickey Edwards: a thoughtful conservative faults Ryan on Trump

No one has better conservative creds than former eight-term Congressman Mickey Edwards, who represented Oklahoma in the House from 1977-1993.  A member of the Republican leadership, he chaired the Republican Policy Committee, and was a founding member of the Heritage Foundation and president of the American Conservative Union. He has taught at Harvard, Princeton and Georgetown and is a vice president of the Aspen Institute think tank.

Edwards was a major supporter of Ronald Reagan and former New York Congressman Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s 1996 running mate. He worked with and knew both men well. Until recently, he has viewed Speaker Paul Ryan as carrying on the Reagan/Kemp tradition of conservatism, a philosophy based on core principles.

But in an article just appearing in The Wisconsin Journal, Edwards says  “I know Ronald Reagan would never have endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency. Not ever. No matter what.” Nor, says Edwards, would Kemp have ever endorsed Trump. “Not ever. No matter what.”

Edwards is dismayed that Ryan has endorsed Trump despite believing the presumptive nominee is unfit to be President. That endorsement, says Edwards,  makes Trump the embodiment of the Republican Party today.  It is surely not Edwards’ Republican Party.

Full disclosure: Mickey Edwards is a good friend of mine. If that seems odd to some of my readers, consider also that he is married to a wonderful woman who is probably well to my left. But that says a lot about how smart, thoughtful, caring people can disagree about politics and public policies, often vehemently, but with a willingness to actively listen, discuss without ad hominem attacks and negotiate differences that is rare in Washington and the country today.

Edwards has written extensively about the need to put country above partisanship, nation above club in effect.  His Atlantic article on the subject is “How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans.”  His book, The Parties versus the People, also talks about reforming internal Congressional rules and having independent commissions redraw legislative districts.  Both are worth reading. Sadly, Paul Ryan has made life a lot more difficult for principled Republicans and reformers.

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