Rep. Thomas Massie rolled something of an ideological apple of discord into the GOP policy retreat when he asked who among the Republicans was most conservative.
There were plenty of options from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to Majority Whips Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. But after a brief exchange with the Washington Examiner, it’s clear that the libertarian Kentucky Republican meant President Trump.
“I’m excited about the tax cuts. I love the fact that our constituents are already seeing bigger paychecks. Everyone who worked on, and voted for, the bill should take credit,” Massie tells me. “But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Trump probably saved the GOP from itself.”
Now the chief achievement of Republicans, the tax bill once seemed like it was in tatters. More than once it seemed the overhaul of the tax code would go the same way as Obamacare repeal—down in flames. But it didn’t, and Massie praises the president.
“Without Trump’s insistence on a tax cut bill, the tax reform bill would have raised taxes on millions of people and businesses in this country,” Massie argues. And Republicans running for re-election have the White House to thank for their single most significant policy achievement of 2017.
Don’t misunderstand though. Massie is no soundbite repeating Trump toady. He likes his presidents libertarian and he has campaigned repeatedly alongside former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in the past. Those limited government voters would later back Trump, Massie explained last year, because “they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class.”
And that craziness has subsequently turned into more than pragmatic policy results. “It’s somewhat ironic that an outsider, vigorously opposed by the party establishment, might just have saved the party,” Massie concludes.