The president is a weak leader, especially when it comes to questions of substance, but McConnell is not, and neither is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. But — and I write this as an earnest admirer of both men — they may be the wrong men for the job. The wily McConnell and the steadfast Ryan were fine and effective opposition leaders. But they are not in the opposition any more. McConnell has been the Senate majority leader since January 3, 2015. Paul Ryan has passed through a series of senior leadership posts since 2011: chairman of the Budget Committee, chairman of Ways and Means, speaker of the House. They have had a long time to get their legislative acts together. Of course, it would be easier to forge consensus if they had a president who knew or cared about the substance of the policy questions before them, but in the absence of such a president, it falls to the legislative leaders to do what needs doing. The British dumped Winston Churchill after the war, considering him a wartime leader unsuited to the needs of peacetime. If McConnell and Ryan do not want to be considered opposition leaders — and if the Republican party does not want to be considered an opposition party incapable of government — then now is the time to give us all reason to think otherwise.

Give the damned fool something to sign.