How Ryan and Cruz fast-tracked Trump to the GOP nomination
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One year ago, Americans for Limited Government launched a $100,000 radio campaign — featuring Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE — opposing giving President Obama fast-track trade authority to negotiate the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The radio campaign was primarily focused on early GOP primary states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to counter-pressure Republican candidates on the issue.

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But the real story is that the ad idea was hatched in the wake of a joint Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance MORE (Texas)-Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanCruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director Bottom line Ex-Trump chief of staff Priebus mulling Wisconsin governor bid MORE (Wis.) opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal written in favor of providing Obama what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe bizarre back story of the filibuster The Bible's wisdom about addressing our political tribalism Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (Ky.) called "an enormous grant of power."

The Cruz-Ryan opinion piece, "Putting Congress in Charge on Trade," provided political cover for conservative members of Congress, and the seeming legions of big business lobbyists used it to great effect as they swarmed Capitol Hill trying to secure votes for fast-track.

While my penning a blistering response in The Hill, "Ted Cruz joins the establishment," had some value as a counterpoint, Cruz's spotless reputation as a fearless leader of conservative issues was being used by Ryan and others.

It was in this frame of mind that I was sitting at a McDonald's across the street from Fox News headquarters in New York City, waiting for a meeting, when the obvious struck me: We needed someone with a bigger name and footprint to counterbalance the Ryan-Cruz momentum. And from that McDonald's, I called two major Republicans to ask them to cut a radio ad; Trump immediately responded yes. Within days, the ads were on the air, only to be pulled down when Trump declared his candidacy for the presidency.

In fast succession, Republican presidential candidates, starting with then-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, announced their opposition to fast-track; they were followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and businesswoman Carly Fiorina, and the bleeding was stopped. Eventually, even Cruz decided that TPP was such a bad deal that he couldn't vote to fast-track it, demonstrating the admirable trait of keeping an open mind on issues of importance.

Somewhat ironically, because Congress listened to Ryan and passed trade promotion authority for Obama, it fast-tracked Trump to the GOP nomination. Now the presidential campaign is consumed by a discussion of Obama's Pacific trade deal and whether Congress should reject it in the lame-duck session after the election, with voters uneasy about outsourcing jobs and the lack of currency provisions.

Supporters of the treaty-they-dare-not-call-a-treaty, like Ryan, now face a presumptive nominee who has characterized it as a "bad, bad deal" since before his candidacy.

Now Ryan is couching his unwillingness to immediately support Trump on policy and agenda differences. On TPP, Trump is right, and it is Ryan who needs to follow Cruz's courageous example of listening to the people and his party's nominee and put an end to Obama's attempt to rewrite the rules for the world's economy with largest trade deal in history.

One year ago, the Donald Trump anti-fast track ads were launched by Americans for Limited Government, and in the immortal words of Paul Harvey, "that is the rest of the story."

Manning is the president of Americans for Limited Government.