Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ryan Won't Be The First Hypocrite Elected Speaker-- Just The Most Right-Wing One


Paul Ryan-- of Ryan budget infamy-- is going to be Speaker. Don't listen to any of the Beltway-generated silly talk about him being "moderate" or "mainstream." The Freedom Caucus gentlemen don't like him because he's a grotesquely corrupt Establishment hack, not because he isn't right-wing enough. As chairman of the Budget Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan has been raising bucketfuls of cash from Wall Street banksters and their K Street lobbyists. Since coming to Congress in 1999 Ryan has taken $5,420,978 in legalized bribes from the Financial Sector. Last cycle alone he scooped up $1,644,606 from these criminals, outdone only by Boehner, Cantor and 3 congressmen who were running for the Senate. And so far this cycle Ryan is at #5 with $490,875, just behind Speaker Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader McCarthy (R-CA), Wall Street darling Patrick Murphy (D-FL), who they are desperate to get into the Senate, and the crooked chairman of the Financial Service Committee, Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).

But back to policy. The so-called Freedom Caucus vigorously opposes anything that makes life better for working families. One of their policy bêtes noires right now is the very popular paid family leave plan that Bernie Sanders is pushing in his presidential campaign. That isn't the kind of family values rightists support. And Ryan, of course, has been in the forefront of the fight against it. In light of that opposition, many found Ryan's insistence that if he were to take the speakership, he get plenty of time off for family time kind of hypocritical and elitist.

On June 4, 2009, the House passed the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, 258-154. A couple of dozen Republicans voted for it, but Ryan wasn't one of them. He voted no. Since then, he has consistently worked against Obama's attempts to mandate paid parental leave and one of the little horrors in his ugly budget proposal was a series of cuts to child care subsidies for poor working parents. Amanda Marcotte made the point last week that what's "wrong with Ryan’s libertarian-inflected conservatism goes far deeper than mere hypocrisy" and that his demand "to preserve his family time is a perfect distillation of the Ayn Rand-constructed worldview he has, where all the goodies are reserved for the elite and the rest of us can go hang."
And by “goodies,” I don’t just mean NFL tickets and first class plane tickets every weekend. Increasingly, the Republican worldview is one where even basic things like love, connection, and other basic human needs are being reclassified as privileges that should only be available to the wealthy.

Take, for instance, the great paradox of the so-called family values set, where they claim to be “pro-life” but also refuse to do a damn thing to take care of the lives they insist women bring into the world whether they like it or not. Republicans across the country are shuttering abortion clinics with pointless red tape. Now that they’ve come so far on eliminating access to legal abortion, they’ve turned their attention to cutting off access to affordable contraception and other non-abortion sexual health care, repeatedly calling for the elimination of funding that goes to pay for non-abortion services at Planned Parenthood. They have also waged war on the HHS for requiring that insurance plans cover contraception like they do other preventive health care services. If you take a look at the big picture, it’s clear that the end goal here is to make non-procreative sex a privilege available only to those who can pay cash for it.

But it’s also clear that Republicans really don’t want the people who are cut off from reproductive health services to have children, either. It’s not just that Republicans continually resist any efforts to make family and maternity leave available, even though getting leave is absolutely necessary for women who are giving birth and need to retain their jobs so they can feed their children. Paul Ryan is a big advocate for cutting food stamps, arguing that people need to work more if they want to eat. The only solution Ryan ever has for anything afflicting ordinary people is a demand that they work more hours, full stop, no debate about it.

In Paul Ryan’s America, you aren’t allowed to take care of your babies, but you aren’t supposed to have birth control or abortion to prevent babies, either. So what, exactly, are you supposed to do?

...You can’t have sex without making babies and you can’t have babies until you’re privileged enough to take care of them without any help or family leave. That’s the vision Republicans have of life for the rest of us: Sad, sexless, and lonely, with no children or even romantic partner to share our lives. Which is just as well, because the only purpose to our lives is to work overtime for very little pay to make our bosses-- and their beautiful, pampered families—even richer. (But hey, if you work hard enough, maybe you’ll one day make enough money to earn that sex and family life! Probably not, but keep plugging!) Paul Ryan isn’t a hypocrite for rubbing our nose in the fact that he has a lovely home life that he would deny to so many people. Reminding us that he’s a have and you are have-nots is what a self-appointed Galtian Übermensch is supposed to do.
This morning it was reported that Ryan picked slimy Establishment lobbyist David Hoppe, another Jack Kemp guy, as his new chief of staff. A longtime K Street creep, he's currently selling access at Squire Patton Boggs and as a senior adviser to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a nonprofit think tank that counts former Establishment Democratic and Republican leaders as its founders.

Ryan is far more right-wing than Boehner, who was plenty right-wing. And don't let any foolish media types tell you otherwise. This is going to be a bad few years with him running the House. And with Pelosi still keeping Israel and his incompetent, venal clique in charge of the DCCC, there is no way out. Even more reason to do whatever you can to make sure Bernie and progressives like him are elected next year.

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At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that Paul Ryan received Social Security payments after the death of his father. These payments helped Ryan and his family assure that Paul was able to attend college and grace us all with his presence in the Congress. My how soon we forget. And, of course, as you said, it was all right for him, but not for anyone else.

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