In the age of the internet news of a quotation by House Republican Leader #Paul Ryan on ABC Australia, together with another reported in the United States, sets the stage for some considerations of American politics since Inauguration Day on January 8th.

Opposition to government

This morning on Australian national radio House Leader Paul Ryan made a surprising frank admission; “Opposition is easy, governing is hard.”

This statement sums up the beginning of the Donald Trump Administration since Inauguration Day on January 8th last. The Republican party had been eight years in opposition and during that period it had been so distracted by internal divisions, beginning with the Tea Party, it has lost sight of what the Republican Party now represents.

Specifically on the Affordable Care Act which was the main subject of the interview, in the seven years since the ACA was first passed the Party’s leaders failed to draw up a valid alternative.

This was proved last week when Ryan’s own hastily drawn up proposal not only failed to gain support from any Democrats, it lost the support of enough Republicans that it was decided to withdraw the bill rather than face the prospect of a certain embarrassing defeat on the floor

Second statement

In addition, another recent statement by Ryan reported clearly shows that last week’s lesson has not been learnt and he is setting the stage for possible further political defeat in the House and the Senate, at least on possible future Health Care legislation.

In his interview with Norah O’Donnell on CBS News Ryan stated that he did not want to work with the Democrats on this legislation. Given the deep split revealed in the GOP and particularly with the ultra conservative Freedom Caucus, any future attempt to repeal or modify the ACA is doomed to failure.


In order on understand the differences in the approach between the current Oval Office and the Obama Administration it is enough to look at the difference in itineraries between the successfully passed ACA and the defeated Ryan Bill.

While the recent bill was announced and presented to the House within two weeks, the Obama Law so hated by the Republicans was the subject of over a year of debates, consultations, speeches and lobbying before being finally presented for approval on the Capitol


The two approaches show markedly different approaches to politics.

The Obama approach was to build bridges in order to allow the law to eventually be passed, whereas in effect the Republican approach was to attempt to bulldoze the new bill through both Houses.

The reports of embarrassing exchanges between members of the Administration and GOP Congressmen and particularly of one reported by Huffington Post that Ryan even knelt on his knee to persuade Republican politicians to vote for the bill all show a party that has no true direction, at least within the Legislative branch.

It is now up to all the leaders of the GOP, including in the Oval Office, to look at their behaviour in these nearly three months and decide if they want to continue risking political embarrassment or if they want to change their exclusive approach to legislating with an inclusive approach by working with the Democrats.

Yes, Ryan was right; being in opposition is easy because promises cost nothing. Governing is the art of making laws within the limits of the Constitution and the numbers within the Houses.

If the GOP continues with the attitude shown in the second quote the fiasco we saw last week will not be a single incident but a model that will be repeated regularly in the future, or at least until the midterms when the GOP risks losing its majorities.