Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Now That Randy Bryce Knocked Ryan Out Of The Race, Creepy Crawly Peter Barca Wants To Run


Paul Ryan knows why he retired from Congress-- audit's not about teaching his sons, Charlie and Sam, to shoot bows and arrows. Randy Bryce is why Ryan is retiring from Congress. I've been trying for a decade to find a credible candidate to run against Ryan. The local Democratic elected officials in the district were all afraid... every one of them. Political cowards who were afraid to give up their jobs to run against Paul Ryan. In 1993, when Bill Clinton appointed 22-year incumbent Les Aspin to be Secretary of Defense, Assemblyman Peter Barca ran for the open seat to serve out the rest of Aspin's term. He beat Mark Neumann by 675 votes and in 1994 Neumann was back and beat Barca-- part of the Newt Gingrich wave-- 83,937 to 82,817. Barca had been a disappointment for Democrats, particularly for unions who had to pull teeth to get him to oppose NAFTA. Neumann decided to run for the Senate in 1998-- giving up his House seat (and losing the Senate race to Russ Feingold. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan won the GOP nomination to replace Neumann and he ran against a weak Democrat, Lydia Sottswood and beat her 57-43%. Obama won the district in 2008 but the Republican legislature gerrymandered it-- removing union stronghold Beloit and adding on a piece of blood red Waukesha, one of Wisconsin's most backward right-wing counties [When Obama beat Romney 53-46% statewide, Waukesha went for Romney 161,567 (67%) to 77,617 (32%).]

Meanwhile, this cycle Randy Bryce a plainspoken union and veteran activist, has been steadily climbing in the polls and putting the fear of God into Ryan, who has come to realize he had virtually no path to victory in a district with a third independents... independents who had no interest in even hearing Ryan's messaging any longer. As soon as Ryan announced his retirement, Barca started putting out feelers that he would like to run and whispering-- like the reptile he's always been-- that a centrist like himself was a better fit for the district than a progressive like Bryce. He's been running around Kenosha saying Bryce isn't college educated and won't win. He's a really horrible person who was forced out of his job as Assembly minority leader after he worked with Scott Walker on the unpopular Foxconn deal.

Over the weekend, Ross Douthat, opined in the NY Times about Ryan's unsuitability for a national leadership position. And Douthat is not Paul Krugman; he's a Republican. "The mistake about Paul Ryan," he wrote, "the one that both friends and foes made over the years between his Obama-era ascent and his just-announced departure from the House speakership, was to imagine him as a potential protagonist for our politics, a lead actor in the drama of conservatism, a visionary or a villain poised to put his stamp upon the era."
This Ryan-of-the-imagination existed among conservatives who portrayed his budgetary blueprints as the G.O.P.’s answer to the New Deal, among centrist deficit hawks who looked to him to hash out their pined-for grand bargain, and among liberals for whom Ryan was the most sinister of far-right operators, part fanatic and part huckster-- a Lyle Lanley with Atlas Shrugged in his back pocket, playing everyone for suckers while he marched the country into a libertarian dystopia.

It existed among the donors who wanted him to run for president, the pundits who encouraged Mitt Romney to choose him as a running mate, the big names who pressured him into the speakership. And it existed among anti-Trump conservatives, finally, who looked to Ryan to be the Republican of principle standing athwart Trumpism yelling stop.

But the real Ryan was never suited for these roles. He was miscast as a visionary when he was fundamentally a party man-- a diligent and policy-oriented champion for whatever the institutional G.O.P. appeared to want, a pilot who ultimately let the party choose the vessel’s course. And because the institutional G.O.P. during his years was like a bayou airboat with a fire in its propeller and several alligators wrestling midship, an unhappy end for his career was all-but-foreordained.

This is not to say that he lacked principles. The frequent descriptions of Ryan as a Jack Kemp acolyte-- a supply-side tax cutter and entitlement reformer and free trader who imagined a more immigrant-welcoming and minority-friendly G.O.P.-- were accurate enough; there was no question that the more a policy reflected Ryan’s deepest preferences, the more Kempist it would be.

But even there, he came to those principles at a time when they were ascendant within the party-- in the period between the supply-side ’80s and the late-1990s window when centrist liberals seemed open to entitlement reform. And then as Republicans moved away from them, tacking now more compassionate-conservative, now more libertarian, now more Trumpist, his resistance to the drift was always gentle, eclipsed by his willingness to turn.

Thus the Ryan of the George W. Bush era cast votes for the pillars of compassionate conservatism, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D. Then the Ryan of the Tea Party era championed austerity, talking about “makers and takers” and tossing out the Ayn Rand references that persuaded many liberals that he was an ideological fanatic. But that Ryan gave way to Ryan the dutiful running mate, which gave way in turn to the more moderate Ryan of Obama’s second term, who negotiated a budget deal with Democrats and moved toward so-called “reform conservatism” in his policy proposals at a time when that seemed like that might be the party’s future.

Then came the 2016 election, in which Ryan temporarily resisted Trump and then surrendered lest he break the party (which a party man could never do), and after that the Trump administration, in which Ryan has obviously steered Trump toward standard Republican policies-- but has just as obviously been steered as well. Most of Ryan’s past big-picture goals (entitlement reform, free trade, minority outreach) are compromised or gone, and while he attempted Obamacare repeal and achieved a butchered version of corporate tax reform, he’s accepted spending policies that make a mockery of any sort of libertarian or limited-government goal.

If you look at all this and see an obsessive ideologue working tirelessly for Randian ends, I think you’re being daft. But it’s equally daft to see this as the story of a great visionary brought low by Trump. The truth is that Ryan probably could have thrived as a legislator in a variety of dispensations: As a Reaganite if he’d been born early enough; as a Kempian or compassionate conservative if the late-1990s boom had continued; as a bipartisan dealmaker in a world where his base supported compromises (the blueprints he drew up with Democrats like Ron Wyden were usually interesting); as some sort of reform-conservative-inflected figure under a President Rubio or Kasich.

But in a dispensation where the G.O.P. was leaderless, rudderless, yawing between libertarian and populist extremes, he was never the kind of figure who could impose a vision on the party-- nor would he would break with the party when it seemed to go insane.

Instead, he only knew how to work within the system, which because the system had turned into a madhouse meant that his career could only end where it ended this past week: in a record of failure on policy and principle that he chose for himself, believing-- as party men always do-- that there wasn’t any choice.
Randy Bryce has shown himself smart enough to oppose Ryan's bullshit and drive him out of Congress... while Peter Barca championed Ryan's and Walker's Foxxconn con. Sure, Bryce didn't go to college and Barca did... but Barca's a moron and a traitor to working families.

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At 5:40 AM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Still overlooking Cathy Myers in the primary, are we?

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second Gadfly at 5:40.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from Myers...

Don't you dare soft-sell ryan's evil. Beside his 20-year crusade to make rich people much richer, let corporations underpay and overpollute and not pay taxes, he tried for 6 years to take health insurance away from 33 million people so they could get sick and die (50K per year died from lack of health care before obamneycare who gave those 33m over to corporate health insurance so THEY could deny care). He strove to cut sustenance programs so as to give that money to the rich (and to kill those with no sustenance).

Yes, that makes him a doctrinaire Nazi, even though he didn't wear his hate on his sleeve like the Nazis in C'ville. But, and I cannot stress this enough...

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As 6:08 points out, Ryan was actually much worse that that dope Doosh-Hat presented.But then, hack "journalists" like Doosh-Hat are why Trump occupies the White (Man's) House. The bury the worst of the Republican in any race they cover (and in a so-called "liberal" newspaper to boot!) while promoting every little slight they can find (or make up by "pretending to overhear") of the opposition.

Nazis like Ryan can't function well without GOP fifth-columnists in the Fourth Estate. As long as corporations own the media, there will only be increasing numbers of them. This is why Palin's "Lamestream Media" can't be trusted, for their purpose if to lead people to the cliff where Nazis like Ryan can push them over.

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Anon No. 1 — glad that word is spreading. Let's remember that Myers is left to solidly left of Bryce on most issues.

Howie, you're not going all DCCC in this race, are you?

At 9:07 AM, Blogger MSOFanMukwonago said...

I am also wondering why you guys still are ignoring Cathy Myers! She is the only one focusing like a laser beam on the issues!

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Gadfly said...

Anon 10:06, you an call it semi-rhetorical, at least. Not the first time Howie's done this; not the first time I've called him out for it, both here and on Twitter. And, yes, there will likely be sheepdogging in the fall.

Here in Tejas, I've already said I'll either vote a qualified write-in or else undervote the Senate race rather than ConservaDem Beto. http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2018/02/beto-orourke-conservadem-moderatodem-at.html

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gadfly, it appears my 10:06 struck a nerve and has been deleted. Yours at 12:11 should be next.

Striking a nerve means I'm on to something. dontcha think?

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Ryan was a man who would take food out of a poor child's mouth and give it to the wealthiest of the wealthy. He would do with a smile and a pat on the head, telling the child with a soothing voice that he was doing it for her own good.

At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard Myers' name before, but it seems she has poor campaign skills as polling suggests she hasn't made any noise in her district. Having great policies is the right first step, but if you can't energize people to knock on doors and get people to hear you then what's the point when you get crushed on election day?

I have heard too many Hillary apologists talk about Bernie supporters looking for 'purity ponies', but no one really seemed to ask Bernie supporters if he was the "perfect" candidate. Bernie was good enough for me, but he isn't perfect. (I am especially not sure his foreign policy positions are entirely laudable and I don't see why gun manufacturers should be protected from lawsuits.) But he was able to quickly mount a credible challenge when his opponent was pre-selected and everything was rigged in her favor. He is perhaps the right candidate at the right time, even if he isn't the perfect candidate for me.

Bryce isn't perfect either, but he has done the leg work to make himself viable. Myers is an afterthought. Howie and Blue America are trying to help get viable progressive candidates through the primaries and then into office, not helping weak candidates with perfect policy positions flail around to huge losses. Bryce showed himself to be viable early on, Myers didn't. DWT doesn't seem to want to get into the purity pony game, they want to try and get enough quality congress critters in place to run off the neo-liberals that control the party.


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