Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern

Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern
© Greg Nash

The odds favor the GOP keeping its Senate majority in November.

But what if Republicans beat the odds and also keep the House?

Can anyone unite the bitter, dysfunctional GOP House conference, which remains at the heart of the federal government dysfunction and has the lowest public approval rating of any branch of government?

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The troubles of the current House Republican leadership began when the House Freedom Caucus forced the resignation of a pragmatic conservative, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE (R-Ohio), in 2015.

Those same hardline members derailed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy says views on impeachment won't change even if Taylor's testimony is confirmed House Republicans call impeachment hearing 'boring,' dismiss Taylor testimony as hearsay The Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine MORE’s (R-Calif.) bid to replace BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFrom learning on his feet to policy director Is Congress retrievable? Boehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush MORE because they labeled him as weak and insufficiently conservative.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE (R-Wis.) originally did not want the Speaker's job but was drafted into it when his colleagues begged him, arguing he was the only Republican they were willing to support. 

Since Ryan became Speaker in 2015, one major thing has changed: the takeover of the GOP by Donald J. Trump.

Since then, the same House conservatives who rendered Ryan and Boehner incapable of governing or passing major legislation have kept their seats. Meanwhile, GOP moderates have fled in a season of record Republican retirements.

Most of the Freedom Caucus members hail from safe red districts, often gerrymandered, and they are likely to return in the 116th Congress with increased seniority. 

They will be representing the Rush Limbaugh-Sean Hannity-Drudge Report fans who say Republicans need to be even more combative and enthusiastic in their support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE.

To win favor with the far-right corner of the House GOP, McCarthy developed a close personal relationship with Trump. He has remained one of the few members of Congress to regularly talk, visit and golf with the president. 

McCarthy is a Trump apologist and makes no apologies about it. 

With that crass strategy in play, McCarthy has stiff-armed House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseLive updates on impeachment: Schiff fires warning at GOP over whistleblower Bottom Line Trump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon MORE (R-La.) and other hard-right members for the top spot. 

McCarthy will inherit a GOP majority that since the 2010 elections has proven itself incapable of delivering on its campaign promises. In the last two years, they have fallen flat on almost all of President Trump's campaign promises as well.

Here's their sad record:

They didn't pass "repeal and replacement" of ObamaCare as they said they would.

They did nothing to bring down the national debt or balance the federal budget. In fact, they blew another trillion dollar hole in it with recent tax cuts for the wealthy.

There is no plan or funding to build a border wall.

And they have no plan for comprehensive immigration reform or a permanent fix for young people who grew up here or even served in the military — the so-called Dreamers. 

Finally, they have no plan to get control of entitlement spending. That was Ryan's dream from his first day in Congress and it never happened.

The House GOP did, however, vote to raise the debt ceiling and voted to fully fund Planned Parenthood.

Are far-right voters screaming yet? 

After the GOP Congress sent Trump a $1.3 trillion spending bill in March, he signed it saying "I'll never sign another bill like this again.”

Last week, lo and behold, the president signed another bill just like the March omnibus. This one has more deficit spending and again, no border wall. 

The Congressional GOP did pass the Trump tax cuts but they have been a dud with voters who realize that 80 percent of the benefits go to the wealthiest one percent of Americans.

A voter who backed any of these so-called conservative Republicans in the last four elections deserves to get his or her vote back. Conservative voters were given a lot of red meat on the campaign trail and in their media diet but only now can see they bought the sizzle and never got the steak. 

A McCarthy-led House GOP would have one job and one job only: to defend Trump from Democratic attacks, investigations, and impeachment proceedings. They have already shown they are willing to do that.

Let’s not forget it was Ryan who allowed House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Defense: Trump hosts Erdoğan at White House | Says Turkish leader has 'great relationship with the Kurds' | Highlights from first public impeachment hearing GOP zeroes in on alleged Ukraine meddling during impeachment testimony The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings MORE (R-Calif.) to run wild. Nunes protected Trump from the Russia probe.

Ryan spent eight years carping about the need for more oversight of President Obama but when it when he came time to provide oversight of Trump, he did nothing.

And when Ryan's political obituary is written — or when he attempts a political comeback as, say, Governor of Wisconsin — he will have to explain his failure to stand up to Trump. 

Since Article One of the Constitution requires impeachment proceedings begin in the House of Representatives, the most consequential political battle of 2019 will not be between Donald Trump and Bob Mueller. 

It may well be between two Californians — House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump knocks testimony from 'Never Trumpers' at Louisiana rally Jordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery 'ridiculous' USMCA deal close, but not 'imminent,' Democrats say MORE (D) and McCarthy — as they try to control their members in the 116th Congress.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel. His latest book, "'What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?' — Trump's War on Civil Rights" is out now, published by Public Affairs Books.