Paul Jumped the Shark

No not this shark (why the hell is he called a shark anyway) but the proverbial one!

Paul Ryan (R-Wall St.) gave a rhetoric filled class warfare speech denouncing class warfare rhetoric at the Koch Brothers founded far right wing Heritage Foundation. The full text can be found here*. Be warned though it might make you pull your hair out! Instead of causing a migraine on yoru own, here is a collection of reviews for ryan’s speech that aren’t exactly “raves”.

1. is Greg Sargent of the Washington Post looked at a couple statements:

To my great disappointment, it appears that the politics of division are making a big comeback. Many Americans share my disappointment…

I don’t know what Ryan means by “many,” but majorities of Americans completely reject this interpretation of what Obama and Dems are doing. A recent Fox News poll asked, leadingly, whether people think Obama’s “political strategy for reelection is designed to bring people together with a hopeful message” or to “drive people apart with a partisan message.” Fifty six percent chose the former; only 32 percent — Ryan’s “many” — chose the latter.

2. Steve Benen from the Washington Monthly also weighed in:

If Paul Ryan were half as smart as he thinks he is, his arguments might be worth paying more attention to. Instead, his harangue this morning bordered on pathetic. If merit mattered more in American politics, this speech would mark the turning point at which Ryan transitioned from media darling to laughing stock.

The part that just about made my head explode was when Ryan, a charlatan whose numbers have never added up, accused President Obama of “intellectually lazy arguments.” After picking my jaw up off the floor, I learned that an example of an “intellectually lazy argument” is recommending popular tax increases on the wealthy to help reduce the Republican-created deficit and create jobs.

I also loved the notion that Ryan wants to see Obama be “hopeful” the way he was in 2008 — when Obama won easily running on a platform of higher taxes on everyone making over $250,000.

The New Republic recently explained that Ryan is “Washington’s idea of A Very Serious Person — an earnest individual with a systematic plan. It doesn’t have to be a good plan, but, if it has enough charts and numbers, and is accompanied by some patronizing finger-wagging, it’s golden. Ryan is in fact a slightly creepy Ayn Rand enthusiast seeking to impose a radical right-wing agenda on the country, but his doeish eyes and his Midwestern vintage convinced a rapt press corps that he is the ideas man in this age of budgetary woe. There is probably no public perception more deserving of a major revision.”

The man is one part crackpot, one part con man. The sooner the political world realizes this, the better.

3. Charles Piece of Esquire alos weighed in, and he pulled no punches:

Sentence No. 2: an entire K-Tel collection of Golden Oldies. “A Safety net, not a hammock.” “Dependency.” “Complacency.” “The Draining of The Will.” (That last one sounds like a film on penile abscesses directed by Leni Riefenstahl.) Holy god, this stuff was old when Newt Gingrich was peddling it in his previous life. Tell us, congressman, when you were skating for a couple of years on your Social Security survivor’s benefits, and when your family stayed on the government dole for longer that that, “taking” from, among other people, my parents and me, how did you manage not to be “lulled” into a life of “complacency” and “dependency”? How were you not “drained” of your “incentive”? How was your “will to make the most of your life” not drained, as well. What’s the magic number? Two years on the dole? Three? Five? Let us know so we can stop pestering you and find our bootstraps.

I suspect it was because, after you left the family earth-moving business, you eventually went to work on a government paycheck for Senator Bob Kasten, and then you went to work on a government paycheck for Senator Sam Brownback, and then you went briefly into the private sector — as a speechwriter for the late Jack Kemp — before going back on a government paycheck when you were elected to the House, 13 years ago. At which point, you became the pet Big Thinker and point man for a bunch of rich people, including many — Was the wine to your liking, by the way? — of the same folks that crashed the economy in 2008, thereby creating the conditions that, much to your obvious pain and chagrin, are turning so many of your fellow citizens into dependent, complacent, will-lacking slobs, because they’re taking unemployment benefits. That pretty much guaranteed you wouldn’t be paying for your own dinners much any more.

Ouch, Ouch and wow that is going to hurt…..

Ed note:

Found another article that fits in perfectly here. Jonathan Chait from the New York magazine weighed in:

Ryan’s decision to cite Europe as a place where people can’t move beyond their birth station is especially unfortunate. In fact, social mobility in Europe is higher than in the United States, a fact even Rick Santorum has acknowledged.

The way to understand Ryan is that he’s deeply influenced by the theories of Ayn Rand, who believed that the root of all evil lay in attempts to alter the wealth distribution created by the free marketplace. Rand may have been a deranged cult leader, but she did live at a time when the fear of the poor devouring the rich had an actual real-world basis. She escaped communist Russia for the United States, Franklin Roosevelt — while not a reprise of the communists, as she mistakenly believed — really did denounce the rich and impose confiscatory tax rates. The world of Rand’s imagination bore a slight resemblance to the world she inhabited, but it bears no resemblance to the contemporary United States.

Ryan cannot process the realities of this world because they are so at odds with the imagined world of his ideology. After his speech, he was asked about the CBO’s report on inequality, and he brushed it off, falling back on Rand-esque lingo the virtuous rich (“takers”) and parasitic poor (“makers”):

“Let’s not focus on redistribution, let’s focus on upward mobility,” he said. “If these studies are used as justification for erecting new and more barriers for making it harder for people to rise, all that will do is reduce our prosperity in this country.”

“We’re coming close to a tipping point in America where we might have a net majority of takers versus makers in society and that could become very dangerous if it sets in as a permanent condition.

Don’t confuse Paul Ryan with the facts. If studies run up against Ryan’s ideology, then the studies must give way.


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