The GOP Far Right Agrees With Krugman-- Paul Ryan Is The Wrong Guy To Be Speaker
Former Republican congressman/MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough was a guest on Al Sharpton's show this morning, talking about how the House needs a strong new Speaker and he pointed out that Boehner wasn't one and that McCarthy wouldn't have been one. He came up with the one person already proven: Nancy Pelosi. He didn't mention, at least not while I was watching, Paul Ryan. Paul Krugman got a bead on Ryan early on and has been warning American voters about his dangerous extremism for many years. Krugman figured out that Ryan is a con artist, something those on the extreme right have started to understand as well. Yesterday Krugman was warning Paul Ryan-- for his own sake-- to run as far as he can from the speakership being offered him this week. "The hard right," he wrote, "is already attacking him, essentially accusing him of not being sufficiently crazy, and they’re right. On policy substance he’s totally an Ayn Rand-loving, reward-the-rich and punish-the-poor guy, but so are lots of other Republicans; what they want is someone willing to go along with kamikaze tactics, and he isn’t. His fall from grace would be swift." Ryan, he continues "has put himself forward as the serious, honest conservative of centrists’ dreams, someone they can cite approvingly as a way of showing their centrism and open-mindedness."
And it has been a stunningly successful act. In his heyday, Ryan was the object of an immense, indeed embarrassing, media crush-- the word “love” came up a lot.Some Republican congressmembers on the fringes are bringing up some very valid points about Ryan's record that should give them-- and everyone else-- a reason to pause and reflect. He was a MAJOR backer of the Bush Wall Street bailout, popular with the corrupt Establishment of both parties, but hated by many on the far right (as well as by progressives). Louie Gohmert, for example, has already said he won't vote for Ryan to be Speaker. "Back in 2008 there were a number of us that committed that we simply could not ever support a speaker who fought so hard to pass the Wall Street bailout." Kentucky libertarian-leaning Congressman Tom Massie was on the same page: "Some of my conservative colleagues remember Paul Ryan's passionate please for the TARP, the Wall Street bailout-- he was asking them to vote for it several years ago. I don't have a problem with his ideology. I would want to talk to Paul Ryan about why he kicked conservatives off the budget committee, when he was chairman of the Budget Committee. So I am still supporting Daniel Webster." These tweets are from Chad Pergram who (expertly) covers Capitol Hill for Fox News:
But Ryan didn’t step into that role by actually being a serious, honest conservative; he just played one on TV. If you knew anything at all about budgeting, you soon realized that his supposedly responsible fiscal proposals were stuffed full of mystery meat. He knew how to game the system, creating the impression that CBO had vetted his plans when it had done no such thing (and in fact hinted broadly that the whole thing was a crock). But there’s never been any indication that he actually knows how to produce a budget-- and in any case, giant tax cuts for the rich and fiscal responsibility are fundamentally incompatible.
So Ryan’s current stature is really quite curious, and I’d argue quite fragile. He has been a highly successful con artist, pretending to be the reasonable conservative centrists desperately want to see; he has become a power within his party because of that external achievement. But he’s not a true hero of the crazy right; he’s valued mainly because of his successful con job on the center. So he doesn’t have a reserve of goodwill from the crazies that would let him be, well, not crazy. On the other hand, if he were to be the kind of speaker the crazies want, he would undermine that all-important centrist approbation. Being off to the side, pretending to be dealing thoughtfully with important policy issues, was where he needed to be; moving to the speaker’s chair would be a lose-lose proposition.
As for the fringe-right media, Conservative Review rates him an F.
This process is set to unfold in the Speaker’s election with multiple choices and the opportunity to force each candidate to address issues and processes important to conservatives. That is why the media and the establishment are working overtime to clear the field for Paul Ryan. That is why Mitt Romney, the very armpit of the system conservatives seek to dismantle, is begging him to run.Erick Erickson, who admits he wants to burn Washington to the ground-- "metaphorically speaking"-- is also concerned about Ryan's cult of personality. "His cult of personality will make it problematic for conservatives should he be Speaker because everyone calls Paul Ryan a conservative and you are a loon if you think otherwise. In other words, House conservatives who might take issue with Ryan in the future will immediately be labeled as fascist totalitarians more willing to set everything on fire than work hard."
Paul Ryan represents one of the absolute worst outcomes for conservatives. There is nobody in modern politics whose record and true priorities are more divorced from their rhetoric and public perception. Unlike McCarthy or some of the other choices, Ryan’s ascendancy to the speakership would be hailed as fresh change. In fact, it would serve nothing more than putting the prettiest face on the ugliest policies. Just take a look at his Liberty Score for a rundown of some of the worst policies Ryan has supported.
While conservatives understand they won’t get everything they want in a Speaker, the worst thing is to perpetuate the current failed leadership structure. In 2010, three House members authored a book titled “Young Guns,” promoting a new “nuanced” conservative agenda: Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan. Eric Cantor was defeated, McCarthy was blocked…now they are pulling out all the stops for Ryan. There are many choices from which to choose, but shouldn’t we rule out the TARP coalition?
Ryan has used his leverage and respect to sabotage conservatives on every last budget fight of our time. He forged the Ryan-Murray budget deal, which actually countermanded the few budget victories we’ve had over the past few years. He was a wet blanket over the effort to defund Planned Parenthood. There is nobody in the conference who feels stronger about the need to preemptively announce we will not “default” or “shut down the government” than Ryan.
Despite being widely acclaimed as a social conservative and a devout catholic, Ryan was one of only 35 House Republicans to vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This bill infringed upon religious liberties and promoted liberal values, including the sexual identity agenda.
But no issue is more foundational to our survival than the issue of borders and immigration. Yet, there is nobody around in the party who is more fanatically dedicated to the cause of open borders than Paul Ryan. Whereas most others could be talked off the ledge on this issue, Ryan is a true believer. When asked to comment on Obama’s executive amnesty-- the single biggest act of imperialism from a modern president-- Ryan said “call my office.”
At a time when we need the next GOP leader to fight another year of Obama’s lawlessness on criminal aliens and dangerous refugee policies, Ryan will give Obama tail winds and could possibly use his respect within the conference to promote these issues.
Nothing threatens the foundation of our Republic than the growing assault on our sovereignty. That is the number one issue of our time. Almost nobody has the ability and desire to score points for the Democrats on this grave issue than Paul Ryan.
It’s time to let the Young Guns go the way of the Whigs.
Ryan collaborated with Senate Democrat Patty Murray to raise taxes. Republicans then ran to every media outlet to declare it was not a tax increase. It is just a “user fee” because only productive citizens who have to travel for work and families on vacation will pay it.Imagine what even a vaguely competent DCCC could make out of this Republican Civil War. The House would be easily won back and a new era of progressive legislation would ensue-- exactly what corrupt corporate faux-Democrats like Steve Israel, Joe Crowley and Steny Hoyer do not want!
Likewise, Paul Ryan has been the brains behind most of the fiscal deals John Boehner has cut with Barack Obama. Then there are his votes.
While in Congress, he voted for No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug Benefit, TARP, caps on CEO pay, the AIG bill, the GM bailout, the debt ceiling, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, Paul Ryan is one of less than a dozen Republican congressmen to have voted for every bailout to come before Congress.
Paul Ryan is a creature of Washington. He worked on Capitol Hill, worked in a think tank, then went back as a congressman. He speaks Washingtonese with the best of them.