Rebranding Stupid Party

Speaker Ryan Apologizes for Terrible Rhetoric, Keeps His Terrible Policies

RyanWeights
JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered a speech this afternoon wherein he apologized for referring to Americans as “makers and takers” and called for civility in the presidential race, but he deserves no credit for doing so.

The Both Sides Punditry were quick to credit Ryan and editorial pages across the web will undoubtedly sing his praises, but Ryan said nothing that was actually substantive.

Speaker Ryan called on Republicans to inspire voters and do what is necessary to “get this country back on the right track.”

“All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. …” Ryan said. “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.

“And when we do that, we don’t just win the argument. We don’t just win your support. We win your enthusiasm. We win hearts and minds,” he added. “We win a mandate to do what needs to be done to protect the American Idea.” […]

“I’m not concerned about the House flipping, because we are in control of our own actions,” Ryan said at a news conference. “And that means we’re putting together an agenda to take to the country to show what we need to do to get this country back on the right track.

I would say this country is already on the right track. There is still much work to be done and there are many challenges facing us in this century, but the idea that things have become worse under President Obama is a fantasy.

What Ryan presents as an agenda to take their country back is a deeply regressive agenda that would wipe out all the progress that has been made for generations. As we’ve been over recently, the current iteration of Ryan’s budget blueprint calls for repealing Obamacare and cutting Medicaid and other social programs by trillions of dollars.

There is nothing compelling about his alternative and, make no mistake, it is his alternative. It’s the same set of policies Ryan has been running on for six years. Furthermore, much of his agenda is not supported by their own presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

When Ryan says “we’re” putting together an agenda, the list of people you can include in “we” is fairly short. It doesn’t include their frontrunner and it doesn’t include a significant number of congressional Republicans. Speaker Ryan himself has made it fairly clear that he does not plan to alter his agenda even if their presidential nominee doesn’t support it.

Paul Ryan may have apologized for some of the specific words he has used in the past, but nothing else has changed. His past rhetoric and currently ideology are reflected in the policies he seems determined to hang the Republican party with.

Ryan may have called for civility and “decency,” but he gave no indication that he would not support the Republican nominee for president even if that means supporting Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

Paul Ryan’s discovery of compassionate conservative Jesus is just as believable as the idea that he’s a secret anti-poverty warrior.

  • muselet

    We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative.

    What’s the clear and compelling legislative alternative your guys are proposing to the ACA? Please be specific, Mr Speaker.

    Paul Ryan can’t write a budget proposal without a generous sprinkling of magic asterisks because he doesn’t actually know anything about economics or budgets. Paul Ryan can’t act as leader of the House of Representatives—which is his job title, whether he likes it or not—because he doesn’t have any influence over committee chairs (or much anyone else).

    What Paul Ryan can do very well is convince the ever-credulous political press that he’s not a walking, talking demonstration of the Peter Principle.

    As Charlie Pierce says, “Biggest. Fake. Ever.”

    –alopecia

  • GrafZeppelin127

    From The Hill:

    Ryan, however, admitted in one of the most powerful lines of his speech Wednesday that he was wrong in previously describing America as a country of “makers” and “takers.”

    “As I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong,” Ryan said. “‘Takers’ wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong.”

    Well, that’s big of him. But, and I hate to be a dick, but I can’t accept his apology. “Makers” and “takers,” viz., self-congratulation and resentment, have been the core of Republican politics for years, if not decades. Ryan did nothing to dissuade that during the 2012 campaign, and will have to do a great deal more than just pay lip service to how wrong he was before I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Those who have different ideas, Ryan warned, should not be labeled “traitors” or “enemies.” They are neighbors, co-workers, even family members, he said.

    Again, that ship sailed a long time ago, when Newt Gingrich and Frank Luntz decided that it would be more advantageous to refer to Democrats not merely as “bleeding-heart liberals” and “pinko hippies” but also as traitors and heretics, godless and un-American. Again, Mr. Ryan, this is a start, but that’s all it is. You must DO more. A lot more.

    • Not to mention the absolute childishness of calling us the “Democrat” party.

  • Username1016

    I never know what to say to that question “Do you think the country is on the right track?” With an obstructionist Congress, the Republican candidates proposing deeply regressive policies, everyone hacking away at reproductive choice, inequallity increasing (plus a war on the poor), all this anti-immigrant sabre-rattling — hell no, I don’t think the country’s on the right track! But I always wonder whether I’m SUPPOSED to interpret it as “Do you think President Obama is doing a good job?” In which case the answer would be yes.

    • JMAshby

      When Republicans say it, that’s clearly the implication.

      If the economy was doing as well as it is right now and a Republican was president, they wouldn’t be talking about getting things back on the right track. They’d be talking about carving a new face on Rushmore.

  • ninjaf

    …but the idea that things have become worse under President Obama is a fantasy.

    The only thing that has worsened during his tenure is the Republican party and the continued upward wealth distribution.

    • michael_carr

      It’s certainly not “worse,” but real wages are stagnant across the board, millions of Americans still work for minimum wage (or less), most new jobs created are still poverty level, and millions of homeowners are still under water (with a mere 50,000 eligible for loan modifications under a federal program reported in today’s Wall Street Journal–too little, too late while banks have gone unpunished and report record profits). So, yes, this administration bears some responsibility for wealth redistribution. And while Mr. Cesca keeps pressing Bernie Sanders for “a plan,” I don’t see anything realistic from Hillary Clinton in addressing these very real problems.

      • It’s certainly not “worse,” but real wages are stagnant across the
        board, millions of Americans still work for minimum wage (or less), most
        new jobs created are still poverty level, … So, yes, this administration bears some responsibility for wealth redistribution.

        Pretty sure this isn’t the administration’s fault. Pretty sure the WH would raise the minimum wage tomorrow if Congress would let them. (And in fact, the President has done so with federal contractors, I believe.)

      • ninjaf

        Wages are starting to rise, finally, because unemployment levels are low enough that the job market is getting more competitive. And the recovery would have happened sooner, were it not for the Republican Congress (and liberals sitting on their hands during the last two mid-term elections allowing them to gain power) failing to act in the manner they have for all previous recessions–investment in infrastructure. The President is only one branch of government that requires cooperation from at least one other co-equal branch to get an agenda accomplished.

        Has he been perfect? No, but he has certainly done more than McCain or Romney would have. And has been there to act as a counter when the Flying Monkey Caucus does manage to come together to vote into law their flavor of the week legislation.