Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday brushed off talk of a possible Democratic wave sweeping Republicans out of Congress in 2018."Blah blah blah blah blah is what I think about that stuff," the usually measured and articulate Speaker told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
With Donald Trump flailing, the Republican agenda struggling, and polls showing a considerable public appetite for a change in direction, it seems likely GOP leaders are wondering what the near future has in store for them.The line for public consumption, however, is a little more lackadaisical.
I don't think that's true. Paul Ryan spends quite a bit of time raising money for his party's 2018 efforts, and he's traveled recently in support of Republican candidates in congressional special elections. If this wasn't an important area of concern for the Wisconsin congressman, he probably wouldn't invest quite so much energy in next year's midterm cycle.What strikes me as funnier, however, is the rich recent history in Republican politics of the specific phrase Ryan used this morning.May 2016: Donald Trump, confronted with questions about his obvious dishonesty surrounding his position on the war in Iraq in 2003, said, "Blah, blah, blah."October 2015: Jeb Bush, asked about his campaign's difficulties at the time, told reporters, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, That's my answer. Blah, blah, blah."February 2014: John Boehner, facing questions about the substantive details in his party's tax reform package, said at a press conference, "Blah, blah, blah."October 2008: John McCain, asked about nuclear safety and waste issues, said, "Well it has to be safe, environment, blah, blah, blah."Congratulations, Mr. Speaker, for adding to the rich and beautiful legacy of a deeply unsatisfying phrase.