Friday, April 29, 2011

Is Ryan Worried-- Or Are The Millions Of Dollars He's Gotten From Wall Street Lobbyists Making Him Feel Secure?


Rachel was amazing the other night in her analysis of the creeping corporatist (AKA- fascist) takeover of our country. Watch it. And get your friends to watch it. I'm not suggesting you watch it because it's so scary; I'm asking you to watch it because this is our country and if we let them take it away from us, we'll deserve what follows.

Ryan looks cool, calm and collected, even when the voters in his southeast Wisconsin are booing and screaming at him. That's because he is Wall Street's golden boy, doing their dirty work-- and being generously compensated by them. He's taken more cash from the financial sector-- and in a shorter amount of time-- than any politician in the history of Wisconsin. He knows that those millions of dollars will be used to flood WI-1 with all kinds of lies and distortions to get him reelected. I've spoken with almost every plausible politician in that part of the state and they've all shied away from taking Ryan on because of the size of his warchest. He's never had a serious opponent in a reelection battle. Never! My favorite example was in 2006, when Jeffrey Thomas, the orthopedic surgeon-- a good man who was ahead of his time on healthcare-- was the Democratic Party challenger for the 4th consecutive time against Ryan. Notice the disparity in campaign spending-- Ryan spent $1,316,881 (most of it from PACs and corporate sources) and the champion of the Democratic Party... $1,687. If you watched the Maddow clip above, you're probably thinking you're seeing a pattern. You are.

Still, the intensity of the anger from senior citizens (read: "dependable voters") against Ryan's Randian plan to gut Medicare and Medicaid-- not to mention Social Security, which he's been more squirrely about-- even has him twisting in the wind a bit-- and trying to lie his way out of a well-documented record. He claimed at one of his overflowing town hall meetings this week that he favors ending subsidies to Big Oil. The audience applauded. But he was lying again-- not a half--truth... and out and out lie, at least based on his voting record. Just this year alone, Ryan voted to extend billions of dollars in taxes to the uber-profitable oil industry. Nor does his budget, which targets the poor and the elderly, go anywhere near targeting Big Oil.

As recently as March 1, Ryan voted against a Democratic motion that would have specifically repealed taxpayer subsidies for big oil. Of course all 236 Republicans voted against it! And so did the 13 Democrats who feed at the same oily trough as the GOP-- conservative swine like Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), Dennis Cardoza (Blue Dog-CA), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)... you know the cast of characters.

When I spoke with Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban a few weeks ago, he assured me that he has absolutely zero interest in going to Congress to behave like one of these Ryan-like Blue Dogs. When I asked him to name some Democrats he admires, after quoting a Bernie Sanders speech verbatim, he started talking about the working family kinds of legislation Tammy Baldwin and Gwen Moore-- both of whom represent districts abutting WI-1-- have been proposing. Last night he did his first national TV interview. Chris Hayes, sitting in for Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, invited him on. He explained how Ryan has let down residents of southeast Wisconsin long before his toxic budget made Ryan a household name. And he explained why he calls Ryan "Pink Slip Paul."

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