Friday, February 26, 2016

Is Paul Ryan Writing His Own Presidential Campaign Platform?


We've been warning for months that if the Republican Establishment manages to force Herr Trumpf to walk into the Cleveland convention with less than 50% of the delegates and is able to actually pull off a deadlocked/brokered convention, there's a good chance the GOP nominee will be Paul Ryan. We've been urging the unimaginative polling companies to start including Ryan in their surveys. I was happy to see that Frank Luntz took our advise and included Ryan in his survey of young Americans (finding only 1% of people between the age of 18 and 25 like and trust him. Like Rubio, Ryan is a wealthy old white man's idea of what young voters admire). But on yesterday's Chris Hayes show, commentator Charles Pierce actually came out and said it-- that if there's a deadlocked convention, Ryan would come out as "the last man standing." I cheered at the TV set. Not because I want to see Ryan get the nominee... it's just that I want the Democrats to recognize the direction from which their big challenge may be coming.

Jennifer Steinhauer, writing for the NY Times this week, pointed out that something is stirring that is putting Paul Ryan on a collision course with Herr Trumpf. She and the rest of the corporate media sense that something is happening in the presidential race that has to do with Ryan, and she's inching towards it, although she doesn't quite have it down yet. She thinks Ryan is putting together a "conservative policy agenda" for the next Republican presidential candidate. Isn't that the party platform that is routinely ignored by all candidates the day after the convention? The agenda Ryan is writing is for the candidate he sincerely hopes will be the nominee: himself.

I don't think Steinhauer was cracking a joke when she wrote that "if that nominee is Donald J. Trump, that may be a waste of time." But she may have been. "Panicked Republicans question whether Mr. Trump will be able to unite a Republican-controlled Congress that would normally be expected to promote and promulgate his agenda, an internal crisis nearly unheard-of in a generation of American politics." Waterboarding?
On nearly every significant issue, Mr. Trump stands in opposition to Republican orthodoxy and his party’s policy prescriptions-- the very ideas that Mr. Ryan has done more than anyone else to form, refine or promote over the last decade.

...Mr. Ryan’s positions embody the modern institutional Republican Party. He has been a crucial promoter of free trade on Capitol Hill, which Mr. Trump opposes. Mr. Ryan supports taking away money from Planned Parenthood-- a central target of Republicans for years-- while Mr. Trump has said the group provides needed care to women. Eminent domain, the right of the government to seize private property for public use? The concept is despised by Republicans. Mr. Trump, who has used eminent domain to try to demolish an older woman’s home in Atlantic City to build a parking lot, calls it “wonderful.”

There is more: Mr. Ryan is the architect of his party’s plan to rein in spending on entitlement programs, which Mr. Trump has said is the reason the party lost the White House in 2012, name-checking Mr. Ryan in his swipe. Mr. Ryan supports all forms of domestic energy development, but Mr. Trump has called for colonizing Iraq’s oil reserves through military intervention.

Mr. Trump’s signature issue-- deporting millions of undocumented workers-- also stands in contrast to Mr. Ryan’s belief that his party needs to change the current system to help some immigrants, and in the process attract them to the party. Not least, Mr. Trump said last week that he would be “a neutral guy” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Mr. Ryan holds the traditional Republican position of strong support for Israel.

...Though most in the Republican establishment are hoping for the dust to settle and for Senator Marco Rubio to emerge as their nominee-- his Capitol Hill endorsements stack up daily-- some still murmur privately that in the event of Mr. Trump’s nomination, they would like to see Mr. Ryan emerge as a brokered nominee at the Republican National Convention in July.

The more establishment endorsements Rubio gets the lower he sinks. Voters-- even Republican voters-- hate these crooked political elites. As for stealing the election from Trumpf and handing it to Ryan... the Republicans have banned guns-- aren't they supposed to keep people safe???-- from their convention even though Ohio Republicans rammed through the NRA's open-carry legislation.
Congressional Republicans-- especially senators up for re-election in swing states-- have been terrified to criticize Mr. Trump by name because they need his voters, too, in primary and possible general election battles. White-hot fear is beginning to set in.
Trumpf is starting to catch on that he may have to contend with Ryan in July. Last week he blamed Romney's loss on his selection of Ryan as his running mate. It's all about Ryan's plans to destroy Social Security-- standard GOP claptrap. Last week, the Washington Post reminded us that right after Romney picked Ryan as his running mate, the progressive policy group, Agenda Project Action Fund, ran an ad attacking Ryan's stance on Medicare that showed an elderly woman in a wheelchair being thrown off a cliff by a man in a dark suit. The message on the screen: "Mitt Romney made his choice... Now you have to make yours." Trumpf, speaking at a South Carolina retirement home, moved in for the kill: "Every single other candidate is going to cut the hell out of your Social Security-- remember the wheelchair being pushed over the cliff when you had Ryan chosen as your vice president? That was the end of that campaign, by the way, when they chose Ryan. And I like him, he's a nice person, but that was the end of the campaign. I said, 'You've got to be kidding-- because he represented cutting entitlements, et cetera, et cetera.' The only one that's not going to cut is me."

Neither Ryan, Herr Trumpf, nor any other of the conservative candidates, are seriously addressing the systemic flaws, many of them having festered under the protection of grotesque political corruption, that nearly crashed the world economy and did drive millions of Americans into destitution. Cruz, Rubio and Hillary have had their political careers financed by Wall Street. Instead, Republicans and the media are talking about whether or not Herr Trumpf is being audited annually, as he claimed last night in a post debate spin room, because he is a "strong Christian." Only Bernie is addressing Wall Street's predatory behavior and dysfunction. Below is his new ad. At this link is a page where you can contribute to Bernie's campaign and to the campaigns of the congressional candidates who are running on Bernie's issues.

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