Saturday, October 24, 2015

When All Is Said And Done, It's Still Paul Ryan, The Ayn Rand Fanatic Who Wants To Gut Social Security And Medicare


In this morning's first post, we promised to explain how the Republican Party Establishment expects their new Speaker to protect them from the con men their own conservatism has created. As luck would have it, Greg Sargent covered that base in his Washington Post column. He starts by acknowledging that Ryan's over-all political record is even further right than Boehner's and then speculates, though not wildly, that "it’s possible he’ll go further than Boehner did in taking on the right wing... Ryan knows he will have to stiff-arm conservatives and lift the debt limit and fund the government with the help of Dems." He's already trying for a rules change that would protect him from the right wing rage that will undoubtably unleash, a rules change that the so-called "Freedom Caucus" is dead set on preventing.

Leigh Valley mainstream conservative, Charlie Dent has offered himself as the anti-extremist in the battle for the last month with the "Freedom Caucus" nuts. Sargent points to him as someone speaking out for the continuation of non-nihilistic, practical government, something the Freedom Caucus rejects.
Ryan needs to focus on “changing the underlying dynamic of how we govern around here,” Dent added. “As soon as Paul steps into this job, we’ve got the debt limit, a budget agreement, omnibus [spending bill], transportation-- all of these things are going to require collaboration and cooperation with the other side of the aisle. Will the membership, in total, support him? Will Paul have to fight that rear-guard action?”
Sargent interprets that to mean that the mainstream conservatives, many of whom are not nearly as far right as Ryan policy-wised "will probably have to fight a 'rear guard action' against House conservatives [he means reactionaries but they don't use that term in polite Washington society] if and when he cooperates with Dems to avert governing crises. Remember, the basic problem here is that a sizable bloc of House conservatives [again, reactionaries] will almost certainly not support anything Obama won’t will sign, meaning lifting the debt limit without major concessions from Dems and funding the government at higher-than-sequester levels will have to be done with Democrats.
To understand why Ryan might move to cooperate with Democrats even though it will anger the right, read Philip Klein’s balanced piece explaining what really drives Ryan. As Klein explains, Ryan is an ardent ideological believer in limited government, but he also recognizes that compromising one’s principles is sometimes necessary to enable the system to function.  As Ryan put it in 2010: “You don’t get to take the vote you want in Congress. Sometimes you have to take votes that you don’t want to take, but they’re the best of the two choices.”

Thus, by this guiding idea, Ryan will very likely decide that compromising with Democrats on the debt limit and funding the government will be preferable to protracted confrontations that are destined to fail. The right will object, but not only for ideological reasons. There’s a heavy element of hucksterism at play here, too, in which members of the Freedom Fraud Caucus are pushing for these confrontations even though they, too, know they will fail, and know that GOP leaders will not opt for them as a result-- allowing them to blame the failure to “stop Obama” on feckless GOP leaders, for their own cynical purposes.

In previous versions of these confrontations, Boehner has repeatedly dragged us to the brink in hopes of placating those conservative forces, before caving. Given that Ryan seems to want a change in how business is done, and given that he is seeking to insulate himself from blowback from the right already, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Ryan might move to avert these confrontations earlier in the process than Boehner did, thus making government more functional. Stranger things have happened.
Yes, stranger things have happened. But Sargent attributes somewhat loftier motivations to Ryan than I would. Conventional wisdom is that Ryan combines right-wing ideology with "tactical pragmatism." But his battle to make the House less dysfunctional has to be viewed through through the prism one always neends in DC-- careerism. Ryan sees himself as president. If he can't tame the Freedom Caucus extremists-- or be seen to be taming them-- he'll never be president. Last night we looked at the ravings of Ann Coulter on Ryan's Jack Kemp connection. The Wall Street Journal, spokesmodel for the GOP Establishment, had a very different interpretation of that connection; they revel in it:
Ryan is part of the GOP’s modern growth wing, which was founded by Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan. He has impeccable conservative policy credentials, having pushed budget and tax reform in the Tom DeLay era before the tea party existed. In 2011 he promoted Medicare reform, the most perilous issue in politics, and he rallied both House and Senate Republicans to vote for it. The left targeted Mr. Ryan’s blueprints precisely because they threaten the entitlement state.

Yet in the last week some on the right have come out against Mr. Ryan because he supposedly isn’t “conservative” enough-- in particular because he favors free trade and opposes deporting 11 million illegal immigrants. If these are the new litmus tests of conservative leadership, then the GOP has bigger problems than Mr. Ryan can solve from Capitol Hill.

The other problem beyond Mr. Ryan’s control is that some on the right want the GOP Congress to fail because it serves their political or commercial interests. The clearest example is Ted Cruz, the Texas Senator whose campaign for the White House, and especially his strategy to win the Iowa caucuses, is premised on attacking the GOP Congress.

If Republicans unite behind Mr. Ryan, Mr. Cruz loses his main political foil. He also wouldn’t mind undermining Mr. Ryan’s political reputation in order to remove a potential future competitor for the White House.

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At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I calculate Ryan needs no more than 20 DINO votes for this "grand collaboration."

We've seen that list many times here at DWT.

Just as the Hon. Trey "Mr Zippy" Gowdy has insured the nomination of the Generalisssima, so too will the DINO's assist Mr Ryan in his apparent desire for a future GOP nomination. He'll point to his ability to unite both sides around crucial issues for the country. With this completely fraudulent moderate cover, he just may get elected.

And one more time: to these monsters, Ryan included, "limited government" means ONLY limiting the percentage of the populace that benefits from government spending. That reduces, of course, to benefits ONLY for the 1% and banishment of the 99%.

John Puma


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