Posted March 30, 2016on:
Last week Speaker of the House Paul Ryan swaggered down from his stair master, as if Moses from Sinai, to deliver a sad eulogy of today’s politics.
It seems as though no one took the time to needlepoint Ryan a homey admonition of, “If you dine with cannibals, eventually you are on the menu.” Speaker Ryan has his jock in a wad about the unsavory character of today’s politics and actually said:
Our political discourse—both the kind we see on TV and the kind we experience among each other—did not use to be this bad and it does not have to be this way.
To paraphrase the British writer, Samuel Johnson, who said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged…it concentrates his mind wonderfully,” Ryan’s mind has been concentrated by being on the cannibals’ menu and the ravenous cannibals of today’s new Republican Trumpism are at the door.
I just wonder where Ryan, our zombie-eyed granny tosser, has been during the last thirty years of Republican sleaze masquerading as political consulting. There was Lee Atwater, the ruthless granddaddy of dirty politics, who, while explaining the heritage of the Reagan southern strategy, said:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “*igger, *igger, *igger.” By 1968 you can’t say “*igger”— that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
Or maybe it was Newt Gingrich and his Contract on with America whereby he mainstreamed the demonization of groups and individuals:
Attacking the welfare state while creating new middle-class entitlements is a nifty political move. Conservatives can take credit for the new benefits for their more prosperous constituents while cutting benefits for the stigmatized poor.
Or perhaps it is the tenesmus inducing, ham-headed, colon-dwelling Karl Rove who plumbed new depths of despicable behavior in order to lie us into a war while demonizing gay people and swift boating John Kerry and his three Purple Hearts.
Given that Paul Ryan has never held a real job outside Republican politics, if he doesn’t remember such luminaries, it would seem he is living in a bubble so impenetrable, it had to be beta-tested as David Vitters’ diaper.
That’s not all Ryan said. Here’s a good part:
“We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative.…”
“In a confident America, we … don’t question each other’s motives.”
“If someone has a bad idea, we don’t think they’re a bad person. We just think they have a bad idea. People with different ideas are not traitors.”
“We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold.”
He actually said that. With a straight face no less. There wasn’t even an acknowledgement of Joe Wilson defiling the State of the Union by screaming, “You lie!” at the Muslim Afro-Kenyan so endangering the country.
Ryan offered not even a passing reference of voting to kill Obamacare almost sixty times. No mention of scaring the elderly about Medicare and death panels. No mention of climate denial. No mention of scary brown immigrants. No mention of ISIS moving in down the street. No mention of marriage as an institution being obliterated. No mention of obstruction and government closures. Where in the hell has Paul Ryan been? To which party does he ostensibly belong?
To talk about escaping from an echo chamber that provides the news for 84% of Republicans is a fantasy. Just as it is a fantasy to believe the 11 million conservative activists are going to turn off their talk radio and go cold turkey from hearing their yowling leaders trumpet their hate for three hours each day.
To put the cherry on top of Ryan’s speech, he just rewrites history. He paints a fabricated economic story, but given that 84% of his people are educated by the fantasies of the echo chamber, there is no chance of being called on the lie. Here’s what Ryan said in talking about the tax cuts of saintly Ronaldus Maximus:
“All it took was someone willing to put policy on paper and promote it passionately. This is the basic concept behind the policy agenda that House Republicans are building right now.”
Paul Krugman has addressed this absurdity both here and here with, “Lopsided growth that delivers huge gains to a small elite while bypassing a majority of Americans didn’t start a few years ago. It started, in fact, during the Reagan years.”
Krugman continues, “The only way to parse this is to accept that Ryan is engaged in absurdist performance art. Either that or he thinks we’re all androids, and he’s trying to overload our logic circuits.”
For four decades now we have heard the justification of supply side economics being, “a rising tide raises all ships.” That’s not true; it just raises the yachts of the one-percenters while the rest of us scramble for an ever decreasing number of life jackets.
Yesterday, Trump brought the cannibals of the new Republicanism to Ryan’s backyard in Janesville, Wisconsin. Ryan’s speech demonstrates he understands the cannibals’ hunger and it has concentrated his mind. Too bad it is still filled with the same old dreck that put him on the menu in the first place.
Remarkably, there is a new study that bolsters something we have long known around these parts. It explains the whetting of the cannibals’ appetites. It is the natural evolution of the Tea Party mantra of, “I got mine, sorry about your luck.”
Resentful white people perceive themselves to be in a zero-sum clash for resources and opportunities with African-Americans and Latinos, and want candidates who will champion their interests rather than throw them overboard in pursuit of a broader electoral coalition.
Nothing Ryan said will come anywhere near satiating the appetites of the cannibals of the new Republican Trumpism. So for Ryan and the Republican establishment, I say, “Dinner’s ready when you are.”
Have a great Wednesday and take the conversation in any direction you have a hankering to discuss.
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