Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Big Fat Nothing


I've been thinking about what to write about Paul Ryan and I keep coming up with nothing. Then it hit me. That about sums up his entire speakership: A big fat nothing.

Since he arrived in Washington as a brash, young congressman in 1999, Ryan has had this reputation as a numbers guy. Forget all the Ayn Rand fixations, it was his penchant for budgets that made him the darling of the Right. Never mind that his numbers never added up, or that part of his calculus was privatizing Social Security and block granting Medicare. Behind that innocent smile lurked someone capable of stealing the kids candy and popping their balloons.

Since taking over as Speaker of the House from John Boehner, Ryan has done virtually nothing to advance any meaningful legislation, and by meaningful I mean legislation that actually had a chance of becoming law. Like his predecessor, he was unable to corral the various factions within his conference, including the Freedom Caucus. Bills that did manage to pass in the House did so strictly along party lines and almost always died a gruesome death once they got to the upper chamber.

Say what you want about Mitch McConnell, but he runs the Senate. It's the other way around for Ryan in the House. Even the one legislative accomplishment that the GOP managed to squeak through - the tax bill this past December - was nothing but a giant giveaway to the very special interests that allowed Ryan to hold onto his speakership. Far from the reform it was touted as being, this monstrosity of a law will swell the deficit in the years to come and screw millions of hard-working middle class families.

This is Paul Ryan's legacy to his party and to the country. A man bereft of any real ideas, beholden to a bankrupt ideology and unable to stand up to the extremist elements that have now completely taken over the GOP. Not only is he abandoning the ship he helped wreck; his decision not to run for reelection means that a white supremacist will most likely win the Republican primary for his seat. And that almost guarantees that Democrats will flip that district in November. I say almost because with the Democrats anything is possible; even losing to someone more racist than Trump.

So, bon voyage, Boy Wonder, and good luck in your new career as a lobbyist. Who knows, maybe John Boehner could use some help in his quest to make marijuana legal. Based on the budgets you submitted, I'd say you were probably already smoking it.

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