Thursday, April 12, 2018

Farewell to the zombie-eyed granny starver. Now let's move on.

House Speaker Paul Ryan to exit stage right reports Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog).

… there’s no getting around the fact that Ryan appears to be fleeing a sinking ship. I’ll have plenty more to say about the Speaker’s record and legacy in the near future, but for now, consider the message the Wisconsin Republican is sending to the party and its supporters about the GOP’s chances in the midterm elections.

On the one hand, Ryan is telling his members they’ll be fine and tax breaks for the rich will save them. On the other hand, the Speaker is sharing this message while shoving his stuff in a suitcase with a plane ticket sticking out of his jacket pocket.

The real Ryan legacy

Paul Ryan’s congressional career is ending, but his legacy of lies will survive writes Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times (reprinted in this morning’s Daily Star).

Say this for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who announced his pending retirement from Congress on Wednesday. Of all his powers, the ability to cloud Washington journalists’ minds was the most remarkable.

Time after time, Ryan would be hailed as a sage: a budget wonk, a “reformer” of Social Security and Medicare, a defender of the poor.

Time after time, he would articulate the most transparent lies about social insurance programs and the Affordable Care Act, while interviewers as august as Charlie Rose sat at his feet, lapping it up.

It was a conspiracy of ignorance that placed the welfare of millions of Americans at risk.

Lest we join in the inevitable bestowal of historical accolades, we should be reminded of what Ryan had intended for our nation. Hiltzik continues:

The truth is that Ryan, a big fan of that avatar of plutocratic selfishness Ayn Rand, had only one detectable legislative principle. It was to promote the transfer of wealth upwards.

… Ryan said his goal of capping Medicaid was on the verge of success and simpered to his interlocutor, National Review Editor Rich Lowry, “We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg.”

Some young men dream of devoting their life to making life better for others; Ryan dreamed of cutting health-care benefits.

So farewell, Paul Ryan. We can’t agree with Pelosi’s picture of your “steadfast commitment to our country.”

From where we stand, your steadfast commitment was to your wealthy patrons, and no one else.

The Huffington Post identifies Paul Ryan’s Real Legacy: Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump tweeted that no one could question Ryan’s “legacy of achievement,” and Ryan himself said he was proud of all the things he had accomplished as speaker, namely the tax cuts he helped push through last year and the big increases to military spending he oversaw last month.

But aside from a failed policy agenda … Paul Ryan’s real legacy will always be this: A feckless leader who oversaw Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and of Congress.

For all the posturing Ryan did in May 2016 about how he wasn’t ready to endorse Trump, for all the light rebukes of racism or the vacillating support after the Access Hollywood tape, the speaker led reluctant Republicans right to Trump’s feet.

It is tempting to jump on a soap box and loudly celebrate the political passing of Paul Ryan. Resist!

Ryan does not deserve even that. Let the “zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin” pass quietly into the historical scrap heap of failed legislators and get on with the task of reclaiming the Congress in November.

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