Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Paul Ryan's Personal Brand Continues To Stink To High Heaven


Painting by Nancy Ohanian

Washington is a foreign place for iron worker Randy Bryce. But he was there this week-- just before his featured speech at today's big Iron Workers conference on apprentice training in the Detroit area. But the meetings in DC were important. Midwest progressive champions Mark Pocan and Jan Schakowsky introduced him to members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus-- which unanimously endorsed him yesterday. He sat with Wisconsin legend and former congressman Dave Obey getting advice and tips for the coming race against Paul Ryan. There were meetings with groups like the League of Conservation Voters, National Nurses United, the Latino Victory Fund and Planned Parenthood. And he ended his business meetings Tuesday night with... well, Bernie Sanders, of course.

And while he was in DC and then Detroit, actor and progressive activist Mark Ruffalo-- who, like Bryce, was born and grew up in southeast Wisconsin-- endorsed him on twitter... "because when you fall Speaker Ryan has made sure there will be no safety net to catch you." That was helpful. But what do you make out of Trump's far right hand man, Steve Bannon, referring to Ryan as "a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation." It's certainly accurate, at least metaphysically, which is how Bannon tends to speak. It comes right from Joshua Green, the Bannon expert and author of Devil's Bargain, the story of the Bannon-Trump alliance.
Green wrote that Bannon’s comment on Ryan came during the spring of 2016, when it became increasingly possible that Trump would become the GOP presidential nominee, to the surprise and concern of establishment Republicans. Some of them had floated Ryan as a possible alternative if the party’s convention were to become contested.

“One fleetingly popular scenario to stop Trump from becoming the nominee was for GOP delegates to coalesce around a white-knight alternative at the party convention in July,” Green wrote, noting that Ryan had “emerged as the chattering-class favorite.”

This development, according to Green, “sent Bannon into a panic of his own” and the Breitbart chairman who later that summer would lead Trump’s campaign, began “plotting an all-out war to stop Ryan, of whom he was both fearful and dismissive-- sometimes within the same sentence.”
Ryan has become increasingly unpopular-- both nationally and in his own district. The national PPP survey released yesterday show that the vast majority of Americans disapprove of how he's doing his job as Speaker. They also disapprove of the way Mitch McConnell handles his job as Senate Leader... but McConnell isn't up for reelection ion 2018. Ryan, of course is. The national polling:

But the local polling is even scarier. Ryan's about to get a rare electoral challenge courtesy of someone Wisconsin voters see as authentic and "one of us." Not many people in Janesville, Racine, Kenosha or in the burbs and small towns south of Milwaukee see Ryan as either authentic or "one of us." In fact, the last poll taken of the district's voters, showed them extremely reluctant to vote for Ryan again.

Molly Ball, reporting for The Atlantic yesterday, reported that Republicans aren't turning on Trump yet-- They're Turning On Each Other. "The House is mad at the Senate. The Senate is mad at the House," she wrote. "Various factions in the House and Senate are mad at each other or mad at their leaders. Republican lawmakers have yet to turn on President Trump in any meaningful way. But they’re starting to turn on each other." And Ryan is coming in for a lot of heat. "[A]fter half a year of consolidated GOP control, not a single major piece of legislation has been enacted."
“We’re in charge, right? We have the House, the Senate, and the White House,” one GOP member of Congress told me. “Everyone’s still committed to making progress on big issues, but the more time goes by, the more difficult that becomes. And then the blame game starts.”

The House blames the Senate: At a press conference last week, Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader, waved a chart of 226 House-passed bills that the Senate hasn’t taken up. “We will continue to do our work here, and we hope the Senate continues to do their work as we move forward,” McCarthy said pointedly.

Some new members blame their elders. A freshman congressman from Michigan, Paul Mitchell, got a dozen of his fellow newbies to co-sign an op-ed that urges the Senate to get moving, implicitly calling out their senior colleagues for forgetting what they were sent to Washington to do. “Failure to do so is a failure to follow the will of our voters,” the freshmen wrote in their article published Tuesday.

For its part, the Senate blames the House. A Russia sanctions bill passed the upper chamber with 98 votes a month ago, but it has yet to come to the floor in the House. That prompted Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to accuse the House of “dilly dallying” and “a ridiculous waste of time.”

House leaders say procedural issues and Democrats have tied up the legislation, which the White House opposes. Some members, however, suspect that House leadership is purposely slow-walking the bill to avoid embarrassing the president. A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan denied that was the case, telling me the White House’s position on the issue was “not a factor” in the bill’s fate.

Though little heralded, the sanctions bill could mark a moment of truth for White House-congressional relations. If sent to President Trump’s desk, the bill would amount to a rebuke of the president’s Russia policy, one he would surely be loath to sign. But given the Russia scandal swirling around Trump, a veto would be explosive. And if the GOP Congress overrode such a veto, the president’s clout would be severely diminished.

Meanwhile, many senators are annoyed with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the rushed, secretive process that produced the health-care bill, and for threatening to cancel their August vacation for a potentially fruitless legislative session. And everyone is annoyed with the House Freedom Caucus, which has also demanded that lawmakers spend next month in D.C.

But everyone is always mad at the Freedom Caucus. Divisions between Republican factions are nothing new; nor is friction between the House and Senate. In an oft-repeated fable, a new Republican member of Congress, eager to go after the “enemy” Democrats, is corrected by an old bull: “The Democrats are the opposition,” he says. “The Senate is the enemy.”

Still, some wonder whether the current sniping isn’t better directed to Pennsylvania Avenue, where the scandal-mired president creates new headaches with every passing day. “We’re a big-tent party, so of course there are divisions,” the member of Congress told me. “But the only thing that could unite the clans is consistent and engaged leadership from the president. And it’s fair to say we’ve gotten mixed signals.”

A House Republican staffer described the fractious mood on Capitol Hill as “Republican-on-Republican violence.” As for why lawmakers don’t train their ire on the real root of their problems, the staffer shrugged: “Maybe it’s just easier to attack people without 13 million Twitter followers.”

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At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, maybe we should dispense with elections and just let the motherfucker with the most twit followers be prez for 4 years.

jesus, this shithole sucks.

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These polls just continue to prove just how stupid and mean americans are.

Neither ryan nor the retarded orange-utang should get approval above 1%. That either can poll in double-digits continues to be our national humiliation.
And the "not sure"? I didn't know we had that many hermits (who don't consume news or any media at all) in this shithole.

But I suppose Hitler was legitimately in the 30s when Hindenburg named him Chancellor... and his numbers rose until someone finally shot back after Poland was invaded.

Academic question: Were Germans in '36 dumber and meaner than americans today? Or are Americans dumber and meaner than Germans in '36.

Nice yardstick to be using, eh?


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