The Nuclear Option: Speaker Ryan Afraid to Lead


The thing people like about House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is that he is a serious guy who is capable of thinking big and has an ambitious agenda to salvage our ungovernable federal bureaucracy.

He was never the smoothest communicator or slickest politician. Serious, smart and honest has always been his currency.

So now the question is, Mr. Speaker, where is your big, bold agenda?

This country is at a political crossroads that only comes around once or twice in a century. Congressional Republicans are totally blowing it.

Right now the GOP comfortably controls both chambers of Congress. In the Senate, they are even poised to pick up seats in next year’s elections — a nearly impossible feat for the party in power during midterm races.

Down Pennsylvania Ave., there is a Republican president in the White House who is starving for major legislative accomplishments. The guy would literally sign anything he could be convinced is good for the country.

The only opposition Republicans face in dramatically overhauling the bloated federal bureaucracy would come from the squeamish and fickle Supreme Court. But history has shown that Republicans always win in political showdowns with the federal courts.

Perhaps best of all for Republicans right now is that the deranged media is completely obsessed with all sorts of ridiculous things that nobody — and I mean NOBODY — cares about. Republicans could start ramming through big, serious legislation gutting the federal bureaucracy, and the media would not even know it. Unless they could somehow pin it on Russia.

So, Mr. Speaker, where is your bill to abolish the federal Department of Education? That should be done on Monday.

By Tuesday, start the process of abolishing the federal Department of Labor. Defund the entire Internal Revenue Service while you are at it.

Long about Thursday, you can get to work abolishing the Department of Energy. As for the loose nuclear waste that department has forever failed to deal with, store every last ton of it on Harry Reid’s ranch in Searchlight, Nevada.

The next week, approve funding to implode each of the monstrous Soviet-style federal buildings along the Mall that previously housed the departments of Education, Labor, and Energy.

Gather the media, detonate explosives, remove rubble, return the footprints of these massive buildings to native, natural swampland. This should thrill environmentalists, perhaps easing the blow later that week when you pass another bill abolishing the EPA.

Then pass another law slashing budgets given to every member of Congress. There is no reason a congressman needs a staff of more than one person. And they can share an office like the rest of us.

If you really want to shrink the federal government, Mr. Speaker, you have to start at home.

Of course, none of this will truly tame the federal government without so-called “entitlement reform.” Something, Mr. Speaker, you have always championed in a convincing way.

So get after it. Pass legislation to get the federal government out of the business of welfare. Return all of that to the states.

Sure, maybe the president refuses to sign some of these things. But you owe it to him, your party and your country to give him that option. It might be another 100 years before we get another opportunity like this.

Charles Hurt can be reached at; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.


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