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 BoehnerGOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (R-Ohio), in 2015.

Those same hardline members derailed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate After police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi Capitol Police asked to arrest the maskless MORE’s (R-Calif.) bid to replace BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerGOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE because they labeled him as weak and insufficiently conservative.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece 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 TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement 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 ScaliseRepublican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance House to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance What you need to know about the new COVID-19 surge 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 NunesSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection Tucker Carlson claims NSA leaked private emails to journalists 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 PelosiOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris 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.