Thursday, May 07, 2009

Is Paul Ryan The Hope For The GOP-- Or Just A Great Electoral Target For The DCCC?


Ryan could be a GOP leader because... he doesn't drool on himself and tell KKK jokes?

Time Magazine's new analysis of the state of the Republican Party is absolutely devastating. It stops just short of pronouncing the still twitching corpse dead. And it isn't just mainstream conservatives like Arlen Specter fleeing in droves; even the target demo-- Know Nothing nitwits like Joe the Plumber are leaving too! And the North Carolina pip-squeak congressman who once bragged he would be the model of ultimate right-wing obstructionism, Patrick McHenry, is now declaring Reaganism over.
"Marginal tax rates are the lowest they've been in generations, and all we can talk about is tax cuts," he said. "The people's desires have changed, but we're still stuck in our old issue set." Snowe recalls that when she proposed fiscally conservative "triggers" to limit Bush's tax cuts in case of deficits, she was attacked by fellow Republicans. "I don't know when willy-nilly tax cuts became the essence of who we are," she says. "To the average American who's struggling, we're in some other stratosphere. We're the party of Big Business and Big Oil and the rich." In the Bush era, the party routinely sided with corporate lobbyists — promoting tax breaks, subsidies and earmarks for well-wired industries — against ordinary taxpayers as well as basic principles of fiscal restraint. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint's Republican alternative to the stimulus included tax cuts skewed toward the wealthy; at this point, the GOP's reflexes are almost involuntary.

The hope they hold out? A blow-dried Wisconsin hack who isn't as old and ugly as most Republican members of Congress, former Bill Bennett speech writer, Paul Ryan, currently representing a district in southeast Wisconsin which has flipped from red to blue. Bush's 2004 victory (54%) turned into a 48% defeat for McCain last year. And Ryan has never had an electoral opponent who's raised any money or was known outside of their own (small) circle of friends. Time puts Ryan at the center of the party's search for an alternative to the current well earned image as the party of mindless obstructionism.
House Republicans, eager to shed the Party of No label, recently unveiled an alternative to Obama's 2010 budget. It was the kind of fiasco that shows why Washington thinks Republicans are in trouble-- and why they really are in trouble.

The disaster began when GOP leaders, after calling a news conference to blast Obama's numbers, released a budget outline with no numbers-- just magic assumptions about "reform." The mockery was instantaneous. Then Republicans began blaming one another for the stunt, which generated only more mockery about circular firing squads. And when they finally released the missing details on April 1, the notion of an April Fools' budget produced even more mockery; the substance was ignored. "The President's dog got more attention," recalls Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee.

But if you pay attention, the GOP alternative is not just a p.r. disaster. It's a radical document, making Bush's tax cuts permanent while adding about $3 trillion in new tax cuts skewed toward the rich. It would replace almost all the stimulus-- including tax cuts for workers as well as spending on schools, infrastructure and clean energy-- with a capital gains–tax holiday for investors. Oh, and it would shrink the budget by replacing Medicare with vouchers, turning Medicaid into block grants, means-testing Social Security and freezing everything else except defense and veterans' spending for five years, putting programs for food safety, financial regulation, flu vaccines and every other sacred government cow on the potential chopping block.

Ryan... knows its potential cuts could sound nasty in a 30-second ad, but he wants Republicans to stop running away from limited-government principles. "We've got to stop being afraid of the politics," he says. "At this point, what have we got to lose?"

Hopefully another dozen or two House seats starting with WI-01. While you watch the "new face" of crumbling and failed right-wing ideology, please consider making a donation at Stop Paul Ryan.

The best that can be said about him: "He's not from the South" and "he walks around the Capitol with his iPod chord around his neck and he works out very strenuously. He stands out in a Congress that's full of people with gray hair and paunches."

UPDATE: DCCC Reacts To Ryan's Sell-Out To Predatory Lenders

Despite years of predatory lending that’s now led to 4,468 homes in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District expected to be in foreclosure during 2009, today Representative Paul Ryan voted to help mortgage companies continue their irresponsible loan practices rather than helping middle class families keep their homes.
“Leave it to Representative Paul Ryan to side with predatory lenders instead of the responsible families who play by the rules but are still losing their homes in this recession,” said Gabby Adler, Midwestern Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The last thing Representative Ryan should be just saying no to in the middle of a foreclosure crisis is cracking down on the abusive lending practices that got us into this mess to begin with.”

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