Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Paul Ryan Runs Away


Because Blue America has spent years trying to defeat Paul Ryan, about a year ago we got two consecutive call, one from former Ryan opponent and one from state Senator Chis Larson, asking me to call a very politicized progressive union iron worker in Racine County and help persuade him to run against Ryan. The Wisconsin Working Families Party had already done the heavy lift and they just needed me to push Randy Bryce over the edge. It was a pleasure talking with him over the phone; he was a Bernie guy who had the right answer on every single question. In introduced him to two political operatives who could bring his vision to reality-- Bill Hyers, the guy who made that first video, and David Keith, the guy Randy hired as campaign manager. (Alan Grayson this morning: "David beats Goliath.")

Bryce made it clear he wasn't dependent on the DCCC, that he and his team were running an independent campaign without the establishment interference. And he caught on like wild fire while the DCCC sat around scratching its ass and wondering if they could bottle whatever Bryce was doing. They could ask Jared Golden, the whip of the Maine state legislature and a candidate for Congress very much like Bryce. "I think this confirms that when Democrats put forward strong working class candidates, like Randy Bryce and myself, who have served our country in the military and who have a record of fighting for workers and labor, GOP incumbents like Paul Ryan and Bruce Poliquin are in trouble and they know it."
Paul Ryan and Bruce Poliquin have been working together in the House since 2015, and in that time they've added trillions to our national debt, given mega tax cuts to the super rich donors who prop up their campaigns, and tried to take healthcare from millions of Americans. And they've had so much fun, doing it together...

Or take it from another veteran and working class candidate, DuWayne Gregory, executive of the Suffolk Count legislature, the progressive running for Peter King's seat. "Paul Ryan’s retirement is the biggest signal to date that the blue wave is coming. But it will take more to move more entrenched establishment type likes Peter King out of office. Rumors are he wants to 'pass on' the 2nd Congressional District seat to his daughter as some type heirloom. I’m working as hard as I can to make sure that plan doesn’t happen and this district has a representative interested in serving the people not his own personal interests."

Yeah, because-- as we've been predicting for 2 months-- Ryan pulled out of the race today. No one's going to get the pleasure of watching Bryce beat him on election night in November. Although everyone-- except maybe Beltway types-- knows Bryce already won-- scaring the 48 year old Ryan into a premature retirement. Moments after Ryan's announcement this morning that he's not seeking reelection Bryce's campaign released the following statement. 
Paul Ryan decided to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters. With nearly $5 million raised to date, a strong field program aided by organized labor, a broad coalition of support locally and nationally,  Randy Bryce is incredibly well positioned to be the next representative for the First District. Electorates far more conservative than Wisconsin's First have already elected Democrats in special elections in Wisconsin and across the country.

WI-01 is far less conservative than many districts that have already turned blue, in and outside of Wisconsin, this year. PA-18 went to Trump by nearly 20 points and it's rated by the Cook Political Report as an R+11 district. WI-01 is rated R+5 and Trump won the district by just 10 points. Senate District 10 in Wisconsin, which went to Trump by 17 points, also flipped blue in a special election in January of this year.

The Bryce campaign has organized a robust, grassroots campaign. Randy has raised $4.75 million to date, with 75 percent of those donations coming in small-dollar increments of $200 or less. That support allowed the campaign to begin airing TV ads in the district at the beginning of March, so voters are already becoming familiar with Randy's story.  The campaign is also building a strong grassroots field program. Over 140 county captains have already been trained to serve as volunteer leaders in their areas.

Even earlier this morning campaign manager David Keith sent out his own note:
After 20 years in Congress rewarding billionaires like Charles and David Koch, Paul Ryan took one look at Randy Bryce and this campaign and is throwing in the towel.

Think about that for a moment. The most powerful Republican in Congress is retiring because he's too scared of Randy Bryce and the hundreds of thousands of working people who have built this campaign.

When ordinary people work together, we can do the extraordinary.

Now it's on us to send a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker with one heck of a mustache to fight for working people in D.C.

...[O]ne of the Republicans running in Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District is an actual neo-Nazi.

I'd like to say he's unelectable, but look at who is in the White House. So, we can't take anything for granted. There's still time for Paul Ryan to get one of his rich buddies to run. And don't forget, this district has more registered Republicans than Democrats.

We still need to build this campaign and be ready for whatever comes next.
The little campaign that could! They chased Paul Ryan right out of Congress. Soon he'll be bumping into Steny Hoyer on K Street. Yesterday Axios was one of the first to ring the bell: "One of Washington’s best-wired Republicans said: 'This is a Titanic, tectonic shift. … This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can’t be held.' The announcement will help Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his fundraising because 'the Senate becomes the last bastion,' the Republican said." Yeah, it will also help Democratic candidates all over the country. Keith Ellison a few hours ago: "Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced today that he will not seek reelection this November. After leading the charge to pass the historically unpopular GOP Tax Scam, targeting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security for huge cuts to pay for it, and enabling Donald Trump’s divisive agenda, he sees the writing on the wall. Americans are fed up, and even the GOP Speaker of the House recognizes that our momentum is real. This is the clearest sign yet that we’re on the right track to win majorities in Congress this November, and now we just need to keep the pressure on."

The Fallout Begins

Insiders expect a flood of mainstream congressional Republicans to run for the exits now. The first out after Ryan was Dennis Ross (FL-15), minutes after Ryan's announcement. His central Florida district runs from Brandon and the suburbs east of Tampa north through Lakeland up to Groveland and beyond past Florida's Turnpike. Obama lost the district both time, Trump won by 10 points and the PVI is R+6. There were half a dozen Democrats competing for the nomination, though none of them have raised the kind of money it would take to make the district competitive. Ross' excuse for backing out was "Eight years takes its toll on you. When you feel like a stranger in your hometown, it’s time to say, 'There’s got to be an exit strategy at some point.'" And here's Paul Ryan's worthless, embarrassing bullshit from this morning is in the video below.

One Republican congressman-- feeling the angst-- told right wing propagandist Erick Erickson at a Safeway-- on condition of anonymity-- that "it's like Forrest Gump won the presidency, but an evil, really fucking stupid Forrest Gump. He can't help himself. He's just a fucking idiot who thinks he's winning when people are bitching about him. He really does see the world as ratings and attention... But dammit he's taking us all down with him. We are well and truly fucked in November. Kevin [McCarthy] is already circling like a green fly circling shit trying to take Paul's [Ryan] job... [Lord's name in vain], at least I'll probably lose too and won't have to put up with that shit... Judiciary is stacked with a bunch of people who can win re-election so long as they don't piss off Trump voters in the primary. But if we get to summer and most of the primaries are over, they just might pull the trigger if the President fires Mueller. The shit will hit the fan if that happens and I'd vote to impeach him myself. Most of us would, I think. Hell, all the Democrats would and you only need a majority in the House. If we're going to lose because of him, we might as well impeach the motherfucker. Take him out with us and let Mike [Pence] take over. At least then we could sleep well at night."

Unfortunately, not all defective Republicans are retiring. McCarthy and Scalise are already battling over the speakership and, less blatantly, Mark Meadows is making a play for the neo-fascist vote in that battle. He most have been happy to hear that Virginia Foxx won't be retiring. We asked her progressive opponent, Jenny Marshall, if there's any chance Foxx would follow Ryan out the door. No good news on that front: "Virginia Foxx has stated recently that she has no intention of retiring from Congress even with vast majority of people in our district wishing she would. I have spoken with many Republicans who would like to see someone new take her seat. They, along with the Democrats and unaffiliated voters who do not subscribe to her narrow view of the world want a representative who actually represents them and their communities. Virginia Foxx is bought and paid for and we all know it. It's time for a change-- whether she thinks so or not."


UPDATE: Ryan's Legacy-- POS

This evening New Hampshire congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter tweeted the naked truth about Ryan and his cowardly decision to retire: "Good riddance to Paul Ryan, the most overrated fraud in American politics." Lawrence O'Donnell was as savage on his MSNBC show. Before either of them, though, Ronald Brownstein eviscerated what was left of Ryan's reputation, noting that The outgoing House speaker, more than any other lawmaker, paved the path for congressional Republicans’ subjugation to the president and that he personifies the Devil's Bargain the GOP struck with Trump.
Paul Ryan... will leave Washington carrying a more tarnished legacy-- as the most important enabler of Donald Trump.

No one in the GOP was better equipped, by position and disposition alike, to resist Trump’s racially infused, insular nationalism, or to define a more inclusive competing vision for the party. Instead, Ryan chose to tolerate both Trump’s personal excesses and his racially polarizing words and deeds as the price worth paying to advance Ryan’s own top priorities: cutting spending; regulations; and above all, taxes. The result was that Ryan, more than any other prominent Republican, personified the devil’s bargain the GOP has signed with Trump. And his departure crystallizes the difficult choices Republicans face as Trump redefines the party in his belligerent image.

...[A]fter Trump took office, Ryan blinked at confronting the president’s appeals to white racial resentments. Pressed for reaction to comments like Trump’s reported description of African nations as “shithole” countries, Ryan managed to mumble the bare minimum of plausible criticism: “The first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful.” For most people genuinely distressed by Trump’s remarks, “unfortunate” and “unhelpful” were probably not the first words that came to mind; “racist” and “xenophobic” were.

Even more consequential was Ryan’s refusal to challenge Trump on behalf of the young undocumented immigrants included in former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Though the speaker repeatedly promised the “Dreamers” that Congress would protect them, he has allowed the legislation that would have preserved their legal status to wither, after Trump and House Republican hardliners insisted on linking it to poison-pill provisions that would slash legal immigration.

...The result of all this inaction has been the transformation of the GOP majorities into the see-no-evil Congress, with rank-and-file Republicans and their leaders repeating the same mantra: Move along folks, there’s nothing to see here... Ryan more than any other Republican paved the path for this subjugation to Trump-- if only because he provided the most viable rallying point for an alternative, optimistic, inclusive vision and yet chose to submit. He leaves the party lashed to a volatile, impulsive leader who is systematically stamping it as a vehicle for white racial resentment, even as the nation grows kaleidoscopically more diverse.
The former head of the NRCC, Tom Davis of Virginia, pointed out that "Ryan's exit is a destabilizing blow to Republicans’ 2018 plans on nearly every front" and that "I don’t know what he was thinking. I think this was a huge miscalculation. I think this is the captain abandoning the sinking ship."

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At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch out for what ryan does on his way out. He's still speaker until January. Is he the vindictive type? Of course he is. He'll spit trump's pecker out only long enough to try to privatize all the rest of the sustenance programs... or some such.

"Now it's on us to send a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker with one heck of a mustache to fight for working people in D.C."
... and Pelosi will never even blink (she can't) as she utterly ignores Bryce and all his annoying progressive issues.

You don't rule tyrannically with the party you want. You gets ruled by the shit party that you have (and keep voting for). Bryce, though maybe above average, is still part of that same party.


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